The Chinese invented Nail polish and French Manicures really do come from France



Nail polish is one of the world’s favourite beauty staples and the nail world is a serious business. I would like to think  I know a thing or two when it comes down to nail polish. I have an every growing collection in splendour of colours and effects and am no stranger to a nail salon. However, when it come to what is in  the stuff and how  it works I’m afraid I know nothing. So with a some research I’ve complied you a short guide into the history of nail polish and how it’s evolved from the mummies of Egypt to the nail art instagramers.



According to historians it was the Chinese who were first to start of the soon to be popular trend of painting ones nails dating back to 3000 BC. It is said that ruling dynasty would paint their different colours of distinguish themselves from the ordinary people using  a strange amount of ingredients including beeswax, egg whites, gelatine, vegetable dyes, and gum Arabic. Today we also have a whole host of ingredients the main ingredient in all formulas is nitrocellulose a film like polymer that gets dissolved in an a organic solvent.

This was then followed by the Egyptians who used henna to paint the pharaohs nails for preparation to the after life. Like china it was also used to distinguish between classes the lower class you were, the paler the colour who wore.

It was the turn of the 9th century that brought us scented red oil and that tinted the nails when buffed and polished

The 19th and 20th century saw a turn of  new colours and chemical patents added to the mix, now women desired a more of a polished looked rather than painted look and soon new darker colours became acceptable to wear.

Today we have nail art, which is said to actually originate into England 1930s when women would paint scenic pictures on their nail but the phase never really kicked of until the 21st century.


3 things your probably didn’t know?


  1. French manicure really did come from France – the 20s and 300s saw a rise the fashion of resembling naturals nail only the tips were painted and the rest of the nail covered in a rose tint
  2. It was actually men that wore nail polish first it was only in later centuries where it became fashion for women to wear polish
  3. In ancient times it was risky business to where nail polish, each class had it own representative colour which one was not allowed to branch out of  unless they were prepared for some serious consequences.





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