Nail Polish History: REVEALED!

After all, if it ain’t for nail polish, the nails themselves would go bald!(Photo collage illustration by Jenn Webster)

This post is especially for all you ladies out there: You know how you gals just love to put on nail polish almost every day of your lives; So, what I am thinking of at this very moment is that I am betting that most of you ladies would very much like to know how the nail polish came to be…Well, all of your history wishes have finally come true, because yours truly is about to tell the tale of the history of the nail polish…

This fanciful cosmetic surprisingly originated in a certain place called China, dating back to 3000 BC (though not sure if it stood for Before Cosmetics); The colors of silver and gold was what the royal house had once preferred, however they were soon replaced by red and black as the better royal favorites, and during the Ming dynasty, the royals may have had to have their nail polish made from a mixture with ingredients that range from beeswax, egg whites, vegetable dyes, and even gelatin (and no, NOT the Jell-O kind!).

Now, moving on to Egypt, those who were a part of a certain something called the lower classes wore pale colors, while those who are in high society (I think) painted their nails a reddish-brown, with henna; Meanwhile, the pharaohs who were mummified also had their nails painted with henna, because after all, sweet lil’ mummies must look pur-ty, right?!

Now, it was not until the 1920s that the nail polish would make an appearance; the early kind of formulas were created from using such basic ingredients as lavender oil, Carmine, oxide tin, and bergamot oil. Then it became more common to use tinted powders and creams just to polish their nails, thus finishing by buffing the nail, or nails, until it is all shiny-winy.

Now, I can’t explain in full detail of the certain ingredients of the nail polish, many of which I think happen to be science-related, but what I can tell you is that there are types of nail polish out there, such as the base coat, a clear, or rather milky-colored pink polish which applies on the nail before adding the nail polish itself to the nail; Its purpose is to strengthen the nails, while restoring moisture to it. Next is the top coat, which is used after applying nail polish to the nail, and there are many top coats that have been and are still marketed as “quick-drying”; they help the underlying colored polish dry quickly.

And then there is a different kind of nail polish, and that happens to be the gel-It is a long-lasting variety of nail polish that is made up of a type of something called methacrylate polymer. It does go on the nails like traditional nail polish, however it does not dry, but it is instead cured under an ultraviolet lamp or an ultraviolet LED; Unlike regular nail polish formulas that usually last two to seven days without chipping, gel polish can last as long as two weeks with the right application as well as home care. But ladies, there happens to be a certain downside to gel polish: They can be very difficult to remove than regular nail polish-First, those gel-painted nails must be soaked in pure acetone, which happens to be a solvent that is used in most nail polish removers, and then after eight to fifteen minutes of soaking, then the gel is gently pushed off with a wooden stick.

There happens to be another type of nail polish, and it is the matte: It’s just like regular polish, but rather than a shine, it has a dull finish. Matte polish can be purchased as a regular base coat in a variety of different colors, and they can also be found in a top coat.

According to tradition, the colors of the nail polish were red, pink, purple and black, but they can be found in a diverse variety of colors and shades, as well as other designs such as glitter, flake, crackled, holographic, and iridescent. And yes, decorative art such as rhinestones (yes, rhinestones, can you believe it?!) are often applied to nail polish.

And now, before I close, may I suggest that you might want to learn more about the science behind the ingredients of the nail polish by going to and just look up “nail polish”.

You ladies may now return to your regularly scheduled manicures…

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