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The History of Nail Art

By July 20, 2018 Beauty

Nail polish has been around for a very long time and so has nail art. Many people don’t know the history behind nail polish nevermind the history of nail art. Nail art has been around for thousands of years as a form of expression. Do you want to learn about the history of nail art? Do you want to learn how nail art has evolved over the years? Keep reading below to learn about the history of nail art.

Where did nail polish/nail art come from?

Nail polish originated in China. They used ingredients like beeswax, gelatin, egg whites, gum and vegetable dyes to make the polish. The polish was applied and then left on the nail for a few hours, this would cause a pinkish color to appear on the nails. Indians and Egyptians also practiced nail art with dye from the henna plant.

7,000 years ago

7,000 years ago Indians took dye from the henna plant and dipped not just their fingernails in the orangey dye but also their fingertips. People still celebrate their culture by doing this today!

5,000 years ago

This is where nail polish was created. As I said in the section where did nail polish/nail art come from, this was around the time nail polish was formed in China. 5,000 years ago beeswax, vegetable dyes, egg whites, gum, and gelatin were the ingredients for nail polish. Things like flower petals and plant extracts were used to produce certain colors. The polish had to be worn for many hours so the proper color would appear.

3,000 years ago

Around this time in China gold and silver colors were favored. Nails were also very long. They also had nail guards that protected their nails, the nail guards were usually covered in jewels. The nail guards symbolized wealth.

The 1800s to the 1900s

For a long time, people stopped doing their nails. Manicures started to become popular again around the time of the Renaissance. For the most part, women in Europe did their nails, but they avoided colors that were bright. They also avoided jewels. However, pictured nail art began at this time because the Incas started painting different animals on their nails. Doing your nails became popular again in the Victorian age. People tinted their nails with the color red. They also made their nails shine with either lemon juice or vinegar.

The 1920s

It was mostly dancers in the 1920s who did their nails. The most popular types of nail art/manicures were either red nails or the moon manicure. The moon manicure is a manicure that looks like a french-tip manicure. Instead of the tip being painted, the cuticle area is and the shape looks like a crescent moon.

The 1930s to the 1950s

In the 1930s the first bottles of nail polish were sold in stores. The bottles being sold in stores allowed a variety of colors to be accessible. This allowed people to express themselves easier, this added fashion to the great depression. The 1930s is where nail polish changed,  instead of staining your nails you coat your nails with paint. In the late 1940s, the first set of fake nails came out. The fake nails were made by a dentist named Maxwell Lappe. Then in the late 1950s acrylic nails were accidentally made by another dentist named Frederick Slack. The discovery happened because Frederick was trying to repair a broken nail with acrylic.

The 1960s

In the 1960s pastel nail colors became popular. This would involve color like light pinks, light purples, beiges, etc. Most people had oval nails and the most popular colors were light pinks and peachy colors.

The 1970s

In the 1970s the application of fake nails became popular. Since fake nails became so popular nail salons started opening more. In the late 1970s, Jeff Pink created one of the most popular manicures to this day, The french manicure. Oval nails were popular until the french manicure came to be, then square nails became extremely popular.

The 1980s

Square nails were still all the rage, this was because of celebrities like Olympians and R&B artists. Acrylics went unused, people kept their nails natural and simply just painted them. The most popular colors were very bright colors. Some of the most popular colors were bright yellows, bright purples, and bright blues.

The 1990s

In the 1990s square and squoval nails stayed popular, and the nails had a natural length. The 1990s also brought traditional colors back like beiges, pinks, and reds. Other colors that were popular were blacks and greys.

The 2000s

The 2000s is where many different nail products came out and peoples creativity shined. Nail art became extremely popular. Things like nail embellishments, metallic nails, and textures became popular. People painted things like animal patterns and shapes on their nails. In 2007 stick on nails became extremely popular and the first gel polish came out in 2008. A huge variety of colors were popular like pinks, reds, blues, purples, yellows, etc.

Present day

Today there are many different shapes and colors. You’ll see shapes like square, squoval, oval, round, coffin, stiletto, and many more! You can paint your nails with any color imaginable. You will see nail art that consists of shapes, flowers, animals, animal prints, jewels, etc.

Wrapping up

As you can see nail polish and nail art have come a very long way! It used to be something as simple as a dye from plants and now there is a variety of colors and types. The one thing that has stayed the same throughout the years is it was always used as a fashion statement. Did you find anything interesting in this post? Did you learn anything new? If you want to update your nail polish collection or pick up a soy-based nail polish remover head on over to our store. You can do that by just clicking here. 786 products are Halal, vegan and cruelty-free. Our products contain less toxic ingredients, are healthier for you, and made with beauty lovers in mind.

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