Fashion Fact #17 -Nail Polish

Curators’ Corner

Fashion Fact #17 -Nail Polish

Nail polish has been around since 3000 BC when the ancient Egyptians used a stain derived from henna as well as blood to color their nails. The color of the stain signified social status and red symbolized high status while pale colors symbolized lower status. During the same period of time, the Chinese used a mixture of bees’ wax, gelatin, gum Arabic, and egg whites.

By the 19th century, women would color their nails with red oils. Cookbooks in the US and the UK had recipes for making nail polish. It wasn’t until the 1920s that colored nail enamel was introduced, inspired by the color lacquer used on cars.

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