I have never been one to use nail polish but I remember many of the female teachers I had who wore it regularly. I remember one teacher who told me, she had to wear nail polish because her nails were now yellowed and looked weird. I think it might be making a comeback because I see more people wearing it.
Nail polish dates back to around 3000 B.C. in Ancient China. They used a mixture of beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, and vegetable dyes. Furthermore, they made artificial nails out of silver and gold covered with jewels or cloisonné for the royal classes only.
The Babylonian male warriors colored their nails with kohl but those of the upper class used black kohl while those in the lower classes used green. Ancient Egyptians used nail polish as a way to distinguish among classes. The lower classes wore a nude or light colors while the upper classes loved to wear red and the redder the nails, the higher in society the person placed.
The colored nails and jeweled nails continued into the French courts and the wilder the better. In the 1830's a manicurist created a nail file from a dental tool. By the Victorian age, women were using tinted creams and varnishes. Further more, Victorian women used tinted polishes that had to be buffed on each and every nail so it was rather time consuming. The first nail salon opened in Paris where the workers polished, creamed, and tinted nails. This is where the term "nail polish" came from.
It wasn't that long before an American opened the first nail salon in New York City. Mary Cobb started her own line of products and was the only source of emery boards in the states. During World War I, the United States obtained nitrocellulose from Germany which was used in car paint, film, and Cutex's clear nail lacquer in 1916.
During the 1920's the automotive industry created a paint that a French manicurist adapted to be used on nails and in 1932 Revlon released the first colored nail polish in a cream color and soon a red followed. They used pigments rather than dyes which allowed them to create a lot of new colors and made it easier to apply polish to the nails. Nail polish is the first product Revlon marketed before branching out into other cosmetics. Curtex had three shades of red by 1934 on the market and a bottle was only 35 cents making it affordable for everyone. In fact, having a French manicure became all the rage since most people could do it at home.
In addition, the first black nail polish made its appearance during the 1930's. As the 1930's gave way to the 1940's and World War II and women began to replace men in the workplace, newspapers ran articles on ways to combat mechanics hands. Women gave up the long nails and went back to coating their nails with colorless polish so their nails looked good but were protected.
It wasn't until the late 1950's that the artificial nail hit the market. It'd been developed by a dentist who broke a nail at work and made a new one from dental acrylic. The dentist and his brother patented the formula and marketed this new product.
The nail polish market has continued to grow and has sold over 2 million gallons of nail polish worth over $768 million. Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear. Have a great day.