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Origins of Nail Art and Polish
Origins of Nail Art and Polish
Published by Snugglepuss
28-08-07
Cheesy Origins of Nail Art and Polish

Where did it all start?

Nail colouring - nail art - the love of nails

It is reported that it was the Japanese and funnily enough the Italians (not sure if it was the Romans but will try and confirm later) who first started to add colour to their nails around 3000 BC.

The Chinese applied a type of "lacquer" made out of various flower petals such as roses, impatiens (bizzy lizzies) orchids and beeswax and gelatin. The nails would have this mix applied to the nails overnight and the result would be "stained nails shiny nails" the next day.

During the Chou Dynasty of 600 B.C., Chinese royalty often choose gold and silver to enhance their nails. A fifteenth-century Ming manuscript cites red and black as the colors chosen by royalty for centuries previous

Egyptians, did a similar process as above, but using the reddish brown colour of Henna. In this day and age, people use henna to draw intricate designs on nails, hands and fingers and is known as "Mehndi".

The Egyptians also used nail color to signify social order, with shades of red at the top. Queen Nefertiti, wife of the king Akhenaten, colored her fingers and toes nails ruby red and Cleopatra favored a deep rust red. Women of lower rank who colored their nails were permitted only pale hues, and no woman dared to flaunt the color worn by the queen - or king, as Egyptian men, too, sported painted nails!

The color and condition of a personís nails has long been an indication of social status. In ancient times women were identified and separated from men by the color of their nails. Different tribes had different nail art; for example the Incas were well known for the eagles decorated on their fingernails

Nail condition also identified common labourers, as they worked with their hands, having a finely manicured set of nails was not only impractical for them; it was an extravagance they couldnít afford. Thus, only wealthy aristocrats from ancient times were seen with finely trimmed and decorated nails.

There isn't much more recorded about early nail art and care until the 19th century. It is then recorded that nails were polished with red oils and then buffed to a high shine with a chamois cloth.

See the original link for the following description (I'm too tired to type all the info so will copy and paste instead - all credit due to the people who deserve it)

History of Nail Care

Article originally published in NAILS Magazine, copyright 2004. Used with permission

1800 Almond shaped nails, short and slightly pointed are the ideal. Nails are sometimes tinted with scented red oil and buffed with a chamois cloth.

1830 In Europe, a foot doctor named Sitts develops the orange wood stick (adapted from a dental tool) for nails. Before this invention, metal tools, acid and scissors were used to manicure nails.

1892 Dr Sitts' niece brings nail care to women, and the Sitts method reaches the United States. Salons spread and cater to women of different incomes.

1900 Women clip their nails with metal scissors and file their nails with metal files. Tinted creams or powders are massaged into the nails to create shine. A glossy nail varnish is available and is applied with a camel-hair brush, but it wears off in a day.

1904 The Barber Supply Association of America, which becomes the Barber and Beauty Supply Institute in 1921, holds its first convention at the World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri, at which, manufacturers and distributors meet and develop business relationships.

1910 'Flowery Manicure Products' is established in New York City. The company manufactures metal nail files and invents and introduces the 'emery board' - garnet abrasive on a wood centre.

1914 Anna Kindred of North Dakota files a patent for a fingernails shield, a covering to protect nails from discolouring while the wearer works with chemicals or other discolouring agents.

1917 "Don't cut the cuticle!" warns a November 'Vogue' advertisement. "Instead", suggests Dr W G Korony of Louisville, Kentucky, "employ the Simplex Method of Home Manicuring - requires no tools." The Simplex Sample Manicuring Outfit includes "Cuticle Remover, Nail Polish, Nail Enamel, Nail Whitener, Orange Stick, Emery Board and a Booklet of Home Manicuring Lessons."
Women buff their nails with cake, paste or powder. One formulation is Hyglo Nail Polish, claiming to be brilliant, lasting and waterproof.

1920 Screen stars are known for a total look that is almost childlike, with short hair and slender figures. Nails are still unpolished, but soon the development of automobile paint provides the basis for fingernail paint.
1921 The National Hairdressers Association - later to become the National Hairdressers and Cosmetologists Association, and then the National Cosmetology Association - is formed.

1924 The Association of Accredited Cosmetology Schools [AACS] is founded. It's a non-profit organisation created to bring together all facets of the cosmetology industry, and to further education in cosmetology arts and sciences.

1925 Nail polish enters the market in a sheer rosy red shade and is applied only to the centre of the nail. The moon and the free edge are left colourless. The mid-'20s and '30s are the age of what Beatrice Kaye, manicurist at MGM, calls the "moon manicure." The cuticles are cut, the free edges filed into points, and polish applied to the nail but not to the moon. Sometimes the tip is left uncovered as well. However, etiquette books of the time warn women against painting their nails with "garish colours."

1927 Max Factor introduces Society Nail Tint. A small porcelain pot containing rose-coloured cream. Applied to the nail and buffed, it gives a natural rose colour. Society Nail White also hits the market. It's a tube of chalky white liquid that's applied under the nail tips and left to dry. The end result resembles the modern day French Manicure. Max Factor also offers cuticle cream and cuticle remover.

1929 Polish with perfume is introduced, but its popularity is short-lived.

So geeky friends what happens after 1929?? not sure but I will research and let you know asap

Hope you enjoyed - I did
zenie hearts this.
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  #1  
By littlegrohl on 28-08-07, 01:48 AM
That was a great and interesting read! Thanks..
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  #2  
By Snugglepuss on 28-08-07, 04:50 PM
Thank you littlegrohl xx

If anyone knows what happened prior to 1800 that would be fab

I was really interested in the Eygptians when I was younger and had heard that their nails were painted a red colour, but didn't realise that Japenese and Italians were amongst the first to use colour on their nails
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  #3  
By *JOANNE* on 28-08-07, 08:22 PM
thats really interesting, i had read up a while back about the egyptians....helping joe with homework and had to find out about their beauty regime too....pmsl
its interesting to see nail shapes past aswell...like the almonds which are popular today
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  #4  
By lotus blossom on 28-08-07, 08:32 PM
wow!! debs,
how interesting,
this would be good for a portfoilo no?
thanks for taking the time debs
nik xxxx
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  #5  
By Lellipop on 28-08-07, 08:34 PM
Fab article well done
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  #6  
By Cathie! on 28-08-07, 08:35 PM
I believe the Egyptian Dynasty's were well formed before the Chinese Dynasty's, although this is debatable.....they do have pyramids in China.....same extra terrestrials maybe.... and Peru also! How could they all have been built around the same time when we can't even reproduce them today?

I believe it was the Egyptains who invented nail art along with make-up but it obviously isn't documented!
Last edited by Cathie!; 28-08-07 at 08:46 PM..
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  #7  
By 1999judy on 28-08-07, 09:57 PM
Interesting stuff mate!
I looked into nail art in India once over... not sure of the date it originated but I thought it was pretty cool (but as you know... I'm a dork lol) x
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