Nail Art – History, Origin, and More

Nail Art – History, Origin, and More

The history of nail polish or nail art dates as far back as 7,000 years. The idea behind applying a fresh coat of nail polish didn’t happen overnight; it is a long and creative journey that’s full of ups and downs. It is a combination of Victorian chaste and endless moments of non-inspiration. Let’s dive deeper into the colorful and artistic history of nail art.

Nail art started in China

Nail polish first appeared in China. The Chinese made it from beeswax, gelatin, egg white, gum, and vegetable dyes. They applied the mixture and allowed it to sit for a few hours, which resulted in a pink finish on their nails; this was the earliest recorded data about nail art.  Moreover, the Indians and Egyptians also loved putting some colors on their nails. They made nail polish out of an orange dye from the Henna plant. Way back in 1300 BC, social classes were determined through the color of nail polish. Royalties wore silver and gold, which later on transitioned to red and black.

Nail art in Europe and the USA

When the 19th century rolled in, nails were buffed with chamois cloth and nails were colored with scented red oils. This is also the era where nail designs were modernized. Contemporary manicures started when Orange sticks were invented in Europe in 1830. By the late 19th century, salons have begun to open all over the US. After the invention of the automobile and automobile paint, Cutex released the first-ever modern nail polishes in 1917. This gave life to colored nail glosses and took nail art to a whole new level. One of the pioneer designs in nail art history was the “moon manicure”. It involved painting the entire nail except for the moon of the nail.


The next innovation was made by Charles Lachman and the Revson brothers with their invention of a unique type of nail enamel and their establishment of the company Revlon. They defied the nail industry by using pigments rather than dyes. This gave way to new designs and colors utilized in nail art. With stylish and unique nail embellishments, textures, and sheens designs crafted by artists ranging from minimal to futuristic.

Nail art today

Since then, the nail art industry continued to evolve. Nails have become a massive part of an entire outfit, with adhesives giving a one of a kind level of complexity to manicure designs. The innovation didn’t stop there. In 2007, the nail technology welcomed Minx stick-ones. In 2008, Creative Nail Design’s Shellac launched the first-ever gel polish, a resilient nail polish that can last for two weeks! In previous years, DIY nail art dominated the nail industry. With so many tutorials and blog content online, people are skipping the salons and are now doing their nails at home.

Today, nail art continues to evolve into an even artistic and creative form. But this time, people have the freedom to customize their nail designs using various blings such as crystals, nail wraps, acrylic, magnetic polish, crackle polish, gel polish, nail brushing, and more. Nail art genuinely became an essential statement in the fashion world.

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