History Of Nail Polish

Nail polish is one of our favorite accessories, but have you ever thought about where it came from?

The History

Let’s go back to 3000 BC china where aristocratic Chinese women had a habit of decorating their nails. With the help of a mixture of beeswax, egg whites, gelatin and gum Arabic, they would soak their nails overnight inside the mixture, roses and colored dyes from their gardens were also added.
The trends started to get revised when Zhou dynasty (around 600 BC) came to power. From their time period onward, noblemen and noblewomen, both started growing large nails. These nails were protected by their nail guards, which were bejeweled in terms of precious metals and jewelry. These nails were known as a status symbol, which indicated that the bearer of the nails did not perform hard work.


In Babylon, it was a tradition to have decorated nails for tough people. This deduction is formed by archaeologists because they discovered manicure kits inside the graves and tombs of soldiers of Babylon.
Black and green kohl was used as war paint, in hopes of striking fear into the heart of their opponents. With the passage of time, this became a pre-war ritual.

Cleopatra’s Egypt

Cleopatra is known to be a trendsetter for many things. She used to color her nails (blood red) with plant extracts.
Rather than the entire hand, she only used to paint the nails.

Why Nail ‘Polish’ And Not Something Else?

In 1870, one of the first commercial nail salons were opened in Paris. These salons were open to men and women alike and the salon was known to use creams, oils and powders for nail beautification.
That is why the compound got the name of ‘polish’ i.e. we polish the surface of nail.

Liquid Nail Polish

In 1917, Cutex got the credit for manufacturing the world’s first known liquid nail polish. Their product had one main ingredient – nitrocellulose, which is also used in car paints and celluloid films.

Cutex started selling nail police at 35 cents and portrayed its advertisement as a luxury, comparing it to going to movies.\

Acrylic Nail Extensions

In 1957, a dentist by name of Frederick Slack, broke his nail. With the help of aluminum foil and dental acrylics, he was able to make a faux nail and he applied the mixture to his finger.
Later, he collaborated with his brother and both of them, invented and patented world’s first acrylic nail extensions.
In 2012, nail polish sales were reported to reach $768 million and in England, nail polish market has beaten the lipstick market, in terms of sales.
One thing’s for sure, the love for nail polish will only grow in the hearts of billions around the world.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *