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The History of... Nail Varnish: Talon-spotting

NAIL VARNISH is instant fashion in a bottle that won't break the bank. There is evidence that as far back as 4,000 years ago manicures took place in southern Babylonia, and manicure instruments have been found Egypt's royal tombs. Body decoration, including henna as a stain for fingernails and toenails, has been practised across the world for centuries.

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Men are becoming more feminine. Maybe it's the kind of thing only a woman would spot, because the men succumbing to the lure of sarongs, trendy flip-flops, moisturisers, colourless mascara, eyeliner, and nail varnish don't see their activities as anything other than normal.

If it's good enough for Quentin Tarantino ...

... then maybe nail varnish for men is not as naff as it sounds, says Dominic Lutyens

Autumn fashion: About face

We asked three women who use cosmetics every day to try out some of the new make-up products for us. Each tester was given a selection of nail colours, lipsticks, and eye shadows. Their brief was to examine not just the performance of the make-up, but also the packaging, with comments from friends or colleagues. Melanie Rickey reports

Theatre: The Homecoming / Juno and the Paycock; Leicester Haymarket

Pinter's The Homecoming takes place in the large, knocked-through sitting room of an old house in north London. Thanks to the width of the main stage and an odd design by Frank Flood, the revival at the Leicester Haymarket seems, by contrast, to be unfolding in a converted Thirties cinema foyer. That said, there is a fair amount to recommend in Ben Barnes's darkly comic, tautly paced, yet unhurried production.
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