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Article: The History of Nail Polish

The History of Nail Polish

The History of Nail Polish

Nail polish is now an item found in every household, it’s crazy to think of how it was invented and the variations that have been created along the way. Let’s delve into its beginnings.

5000 BC – Henna, ink body art was created in India. Women would wear it all over their bodies including their nails as a way of making themselves look and feel beautiful.

3200 BC - Babylonian warriors would paint their nails either black or green as an indicator of status. If you wore black nails, you were in the upper class, and
green for the lower class. They would also paint their nails before battle to make the opposite side fear them.

3000BC - Chinese Royalty tinted their nails red. If you weren't
royalty, you could only wear nude colours. If a commoner wore red they would be sentenced to death. The polish was made from Arabic gum, beeswax, egg
whites, gelatin, and flower petals.


50BC-  Queens Nefertiti and Cleopatra favoured red nails because it
signified how powerful they were. The red shade was from the henna pigment. Nefertiti preferred ruby red and to dip her whole hand & Cleopatra liked blood red and to only dip her fingernails.

1500- Aztecs and Incas were more creative and started doing nail art. A white base and red eagles on top. They did this through the use of sticks and natural dyes. The white symbolises purity and red is strength.

1878 – Mary E Cobbs opened up the very first nail salon in New York City in West 23rd Street called ‘Mrs. Cobb’s Manicure Parlours’

1911 - Northam Warren created a cuticle remover as a side hustle. It
was called 'Cutex'.

1916 - Cutex introduces clear nail polish.

1932 - Michelle Menard worked for The Charles Revson Company. She was a French makeup artist who wanted to make nail polish as shiny as cars. The owners partnered with a chemist named Charles Lachman to create the perfect formula. A nail lacquer that was shiny, non-streaking and based on pigments. Thus modern day nail polish was created. The company soon after changed their name to Revlon.

1957 - Acrylic nails were invented by a dentist. Fred Slack cut his
thumb nail and used dental acrylic to repair it, eventually leading to
the patent of the first Nail Form.

1975 - The Original French Manicure. Jeff Pink invented the classic
white tip and nude nail look as a timesaving tool to help screen
actresses make quick wardrobe changes. He then founded his own nail
care brand called Orly International. He then trademarked the term
"The Original French Manicure" in 1978.

1980s – Gel and dip nails became available, but didn't gain wide popularity
until the late 90s. OPI (originally a Dental Supply Company) created
the acrylic nail system. Later, they closed dental sales and focused
entirely on nail products, creating the OPI that we know today.

1990s - "Grunge culture" takes off. Chanel's Rouge Noir debuted in
Paris Fashion Week and became the fifth best selling nail polish in
the world.

2009 - Matte nail polish becomes popular. As well as DIY nail art.

2020 - Esmio launched the first 12-FREE One Step Gel System, along
with at Home Gel Manicure Kits. As well as the easiest removal system.

2022 - Esmio launched the easiest gel nail extensions that are pre buffed, pre colours and with pre french tips that can all easily be removed with their one step gel remover!

2024 - Esmio launched Gojelle, High End Press On Nails closely followed by launching a Gojelle Mini collection for every ladies little one.

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