I'll Try Anything Once: Retro Talons

I ditched my stubby nails for some uncomfortable claws. Was it worth it?
Publish date:
November 14, 2011
nails, manicures, i'll try anything once, retro, Dita Von Teese

I like to keep my nails short. Years of painting and sculpting and being a general art-nerd in high school left me with a penchant for stubby, messed up nails and gross, paint-splattered hands. Later on, I didn't shy away from nail art and giving myself manicures, I just wasn't going to become one of those girls with tippy-tappy, clicky-clacky long-ass nails.

Up until recently, the thought of having long nails made me shudder. As soon as my fingernails grew past my tips (and they did so very quickly, my hair and nails grow like weeds), I'd head for the clippers or bite them to keep them short. Evidence of my short nails can be seen in various nail-related posts on this here site.

But I decided to give the long nail thing a shot for this article, and favouring the retro look donned by old Hollywood starlets and modern-day ladies like Dita von Teese, I let 'em grow and I filed them into scary little points.

When I showed them to my mom she was surprised. "But you hate long nails!" I know, mom. But it's for the site, and you lovely readers, so let's get started. I took care to take notes on the pros and cons of having such a manicure. Herewith ...


  • Hard to text with. Both of my thumbnails chipped and caused the nails to break, giving me a wonky uneven manicure. Sure, I could have gone with fakes but they terrify me. That glue!
  • Stuff gets stuck under them. They make it impossible to apply certain beauty products with your fingers. The majority of it gets stuck under your nails instead of going where it's supposed to be. Examining my nails throughout the last two weeks I've found: 1) leftover moisturizer 2) leftover concealer 3) an eyelash 4) two grains of quinoa 5) lip balm. It's gross!
  • I was constantly worried they'd break. Washing my hair, specifically was a pain. The hot water seemed to be softening my nails and I was afraid they'd get caught in a tangle and break off in the shower. Almost everything I did caused worry for my nails.


  • They look fancy. This is pretty much the only pro. I feel glamorous and ladylike and whatever, but otherwise, they're a pain!

So, will I keep them? I'm not sure. Sometimes being fancy outweighs comfort, but in this case I think I'll stick with a nice middle ground. Long(er) nails than my usual, but I'll leave the talons to the pros.

If you want to try this look with your natural nails, use a growth formula like Sally Hansen's NailGrowth Miracle Serum ($9.99, drugstores) and a regular ol' file to get the pointed oval shape.

For the half-moon manicure, paint entire nails with an iridescent shade (I went with gold), let dry, and use a nail guide (from a French manicure kit, or even a circular ring-support sticker from an office supply store) to cover the moon and paint a red or burgundy shade above it. (Or you can be like me and just freehand it). Allow to dry before removing nail guide and cover with a clear topcoat.

A healthy diet and use of supplements like natural fish oil pills or Biotin will also keep your nails long and strong.

If you dig the look, but don't have the natural nails for it, you can try the Dita von Teese Half-Moon Nail Set by Kiss, ($9.99, dita.net).

So how do you feel about long nails? Are you a fan of the short and neat or do you love the return of the talon look? Let me know how you really feel.