Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The History of Nail Art
"People went grocery shopping in 1968?!?" I will exclaim, flummoxed. "But I wasn't even born yet!"
I'm trying to fix this perspective.
Well, when I was painting my nails the other night, I wondered if people had been painting their nails before I was born. Did nail polish exist in 1982? Or was it merely invented for my existence??
I was shocked to discover that nail art has been around...well, forever, it seems.
In 600 B.C. China, nail art became a symbol of wealth as well. Men and women grew their nails to five inches long to show that they didn't have to perform manual labor for a living. Chinese royals often wore elaborate gold, silver or bamboo splints to prevent their nails from breaking.
During the Renaissance Period, nail art became fashionable again. Upper class European women rushed to get manicures, void of color.
On the other side of the world, the Incas invented nail art as we know it today, by decorating their nails with pictures of eagles!
In the 1800s, purity was all the rage. French manicures became popular (although the term "french manicure" actually wasn't coined until the 1970s). These original forms of french manicures consisted of a little lemon juice mixed with water, to whiten the tips of the nails. Also available were buffers, crystal stones, emery boards, cuticle creams, and bleaching powders.
The 1920s is when the fun began.
Automobile paint inspired nail polish enamel as we know it today. Nail salons started popping up all over the United States and Europe. Flappers invented the moon manicure, which involved painting the fingernail everywhere but the bottom.
In the 1930s, nail polish hit stores for the very first time, thanks to the newly created company, Revlon. Colors women had never seen before hit the stands. It was a phenomenon. In this decade, fake nails were invented as well.