The History Behind Nail Art

The History Behind Nail ArtHoliday season parties can be a lot of fun. You get to meet new and old friends, catch up with family and strike some new friendships too. This year with the party invitations just starting to heat up, I’ve a long list of parties to attend to.

A few days back I had attended a party given by one of my friends. Though it was a cozy dinner party with just a handful of people, I’d a great time. The hostess managed to make the party interesting and fun filled. While I complimented her on the party I was drawn by her beautifully painted nails and asked her about it. She mentioned that it was nail art and that she was a nail art professional. I was impressed and seeing my interest in the art, she began explaining about how nail art evolved.

I was surprised to know that the art form dated some 3000 years back. The Chinese were the first to use enamel on nails. They applied enamel on nails and let it dry on the nails for a few hours. The result was beautiful pink finish. Indians also used a form of nail art in the same period of time. They used an herbal dye extract from Henna plant.

The Egyptians too had used the art form a long time back. The color used on the nails had social significance and denoted the social class the ladies belonged to. While the upper class had deep red shades, the lower classes were permitted only pale shades. Nail art was also part of Inca civilization and there are records that show eagle images painted on the fingertips.

Back to the present, the advancements in nail design started during the early part of 19th century, when orange wood sticks were used in Europe. The modern day manicures started during this phase around 1830. Manicure became a popular business and many saloons flourished in the US because of this.

The new and advanced automobile paints were instrumental in developing the now popular nail art. The first ever nail art that highlighted the beauty of the art form was called as moon manicure. The middle part of the nail was painted, while the moon shape of the nail was left as such without any paint.

Revlon Company started the next revolution in nail art, when they found a new form of nail enamel. The coloring in the enamel was done by pigments and not dyes as was the custom. This brought about dramatic changes and allowed innumerable number of shades and combinations to evolve. This made nail art an established form.

Nail art is now used by communities as a symbol of communication. You can see punks and rock stars sporting black hued nail polish.

Later on the art evolved into a more refined and artistic form. Now you get symbols, air brushing, crystals, acrylic and even gel nail enhancements that add beauty and elegance to nails. Now nail art has become part of fashion world and is part of the accessories that compliment your overall look.