The History of Nail Polish and my Favourite Nail Polishes

June 26, 2019
A lot of the information for this post came from [here] and [here]. Thank you to Deven Hopp and Kristen Hall-Geisler.
Links marked with a '*' are affiliate. This makes no difference to the product or service you'll recieve, but it means I get a small commission to help me pay my rent!

I really enjoyed researching and writing my History of Lipsticks post a while ago, and I thought I would do the same for nail polishes! At the end of this post are links to three of my favourite nail polishes as well.

In 3000 B.C., nail polish was a sign of class in both Chinese and Egyptian civilisations. Highly pigmented colours, such as reds, were reserved for the upper classes, while the lower classes wore nude shades. If the lower classes dared to wear the colours of upper classes, they could and would be put to death. The shades for their nail polish came from flower petals or gold and silver dust.

Babylonian warriors also wore nail colours, using kohl on their nails before battles. Again, nail colour was representative of class, and higher ranking warriors used black kohl while lower ranking warriors stuck to green kohl.

Cleopatra was a huge fan of red nails in 60 B.C, and her favourite shade was most likely derived from henna, which had been used for body and nail art in India for centuries.

Through history, nail colour continued to be used, and hit a high point during the Renaissance and another in 18th Century France. Colouring and bejewelling nails became the height of fashion. You can see from dresses and hair from the time that ornately and outlandishly decorated nails were popular.

In the Victorian era, women used tinted creams to colour their nails and gentle abrasives to buff their nails until they were shiny. However, in 1916, Cutex invented the world's first clear nail lacquer, and the time taken to achieve a stylish nail look was immediately shortened.

During the 1920s, car paint was invented, and from there, coloured nail lacquer was adapted from it by French manicurist Michelle Manard. Revlon was launched by Charles and Joseph Revson in 1932 with the first coloured nail enamel.

Black nail varnish was invented in the 1930s as well, and it was a far cry from the Babylonian warriors' kohl coated nails.

In 1976, the French manicure became popular after Jeff Pink created a nail look that wouldn't clash with or distract from the clothing on Parisian runways.

Today, nail polish is a billion pound industry. Bottles of Clarins' 'Unicorn Pee' (more officially known as '230', but that's less fun) sell for over $150, Essie's 'Starry Starry Nights' sells for over $250, and Model's Own Gold Rush polish costs a whopping $130,000. There are only two bottles of it in the world. Nail enthusiasts can even have diamonds drilled into their nails if they can pay.

My Favourite Nail Polishes

 The colour of this polish is a cross between a teal blue and a jade green, and it has pieces of gold and silver glitter that give a gorgeous sparkle and colour shift effect.

This silver holographic glitter polish is the perfect holo topcoat, and can be used with a makeup sponge for an opaque, full-glitter look. I love the way the holographic glitters shift in rainbow colours in the light! 

 This polish came as a set of four, with colours inspired by the film 'The Nutcracker and the Four Realms'. The other shades are a gold glitter, a baby blue, and a navy blue, and they're all lovely, but this is my favourite. It takes a few coats for full opacity, but it dries quickly and when you're done you've got a gorgeous linear holographic nail! As it's quite thin I think you could also use it as a topcoat over a colour, although I haven't tried that myself.

And there you have it - the history of nail polishes, and three of my personal favourite polishes! I hope you've enjoyed this post, be sure to follow my blog via Bloglovin' or Facebook so you don't miss future posts like this one!

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