Most women say they use nail polish, are willing to spend up to twenty dollars for a bottle of the stuff and have more than ten nail polish colors in their beauty repertoire. The interesting thing is, that while most women use polish, few know where it originated from or how it became so popular.
The earliest reference of people using paint to decorate the fingernail is when the ancient Incas would decorate their fingernails with pictures of eagles. They used nail decor as a way to communicate status. It also was not uncommon for men of the Inca tribe to paint images of their many gods on the fingernail, to include the sun. The Incas may have been practicing this as a part of their culture as long ago as 4,000 years!
The history of nail lacquer or coloring as a fashion statement begins in 3000 B.C. The Chinese used a special type of nail enamel on their fingertips that would turn the actual fingernail a red or pink color and people in India would dye their fingernails with the same Henna dye used for today’s Henna tattoos. The coloring came from the Henna plant and was painted onto the fingernails, leaving a reddish or brown-colored stain. In some ancient societies, including the Egyptians, color on the fingernail had a social significance. Higher classes were donned deep shades of red, and lower classes could only wear white shades.
Bright hues being splashed across nails with synthetic or lacquer nail polish first made its appearance in the field of cosmetics during the 1920s. Seen on the runways of Paris, nail polish created quite a fashion frenzy, but not in the way you might think! During the Roaring Twenties, and for several decades afterward, nail polish encountered a significant resistance, specifically from advocates for African-American rights. The use of color on fingernails was offensive to many colored women, who boycotted the product on the grounds of dignity. Would you believe psychiatrists of that era even portrayed it as a form of self-mutilation!? Today, nail polish is a global fad, worn by women of all shapes, sizes and colors and its fabulous, darling!!
During the 1990s, at the height of the grunge movement, the international cosmetics business announced that it was worth approximately $20 billion worldwide. In 2011, it was worth an astonishing $250 billion! The cumulative sale of nail polish made up for a substantial portion of those proceeds. Just think, not only is the average glam girl buying nail polishes of all shades to use at home, there are hundreds of thousands of women who go to salons and get professional manicures. Plus, there are a ton of nail lacquer related products in addition to colored polish. These include top coats, base coats, ground coats, quick dry polishes and sprays…not to mention decorations, glitter and even false fingernails. See our full selection of Nail Polishes.
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