Nail Polish A History
Did you know that when youre painting your nails, youre strolling in the footsteps of batik keris from the Chinese and Egyptian dynasties? And youre stepping in to the shoes of the later Hollywood royalty. This quick guidebook to the annals of nail varnish explains why it was always a high society beauty product, when it had been launched in modern times and the fashions that emerged before the nail polishes we use today came to fill stores and salons worldwide.
The initial of nail polish appear to originate in China, where around 3000 BC it had been made from bees wax, egg white and gum Arabic and tinted with brightly coloured flower petals. It had taken several hours to stain the fingernails, so its not surprising that just as it was for the ancient Egyptians, nail varnish was the special preserve of the Chinese higher classes. Cleopatra is believed to have worn dark red, and interestingly, in later Chinese dynasties, interestingly metallics seem to have been in vogue for a while.
Closer to house, by the 18th century, manicure techniques spearheaded by podiatrist Dr Sitts experienced crossed to the USA. But it wasnt until the 1920s that contemporary nail polishes gained widespread recognition. The new nail varnish replaced pastes or powders utilized to buff fingernails, which tended to have just a temporary effect. The invention of contemporary nail polish is normally attributed in about 1920 to a French make up artist named Michelle Menard, working for the company which afterwards evolved into Revlon in the first 1930s. It began as a flapper development and by the 1940s was adorning the fingernails of Hollywood royalty such as the actress Rita Hayworth.
The 1950s noticed scarlet nail polishes matching scarlet lipsticks (think that Lucille Ball); or pale shimmering frosted pinks. The 1960s saw lots of pale lipsticks (think Brigitte Bardot), large eyeliner (think Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra); nail varnish tended to use paler, pastel tones. By the 1970s, a more natural look was in, alongside the departure into punk and goth styles in the very late 1970s with dark nail polishes. The 1970s also saw two very essential milestones in the history of nail varnish.
The introduction of acrylic nails was accompanied around once by the official launch for French manicure packages featuring a nude base colour and white nail polish for nail ideas. Into the 1980s, hit TV shows Dallas and Dynasty helped to spearhead powerdressing, with plenty of bold colours for make up including nails, and the same focus on big, super-styled hair. Equally, Madonna launched a funky, bold appearance, including neon nail polishes. The most important factor in the 1980s was certainly the growth of salon quality nail colors. Fast forward to the 1990s though, Cleopatras favourite shade re-emerged as arguably the hottest fashion trend of the 10 years.
Tarantinos cult hit film Pulp Fiction featured celebrity Uma Thurman wearing short square fingernails and a Chanel shade Rouge Noir/Vamp. Deep red quickly became defining fashion of the decade. In the noughties, most likely the safest statement is merely that the upsurge in nail polish shades by the better brands experienced launched an enormous variety of different trends. Acrylic nails were firmly in fashion, with nail art featuring patterns, gems and foils.