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A History of Girl Stuff: Nail Polish

Girls love painting their nails. Who wouldn't want to take a boring, blank body part and make it infinitely more awesome with some color in a bottle? Nail polish is an A+ girl thing because not only is it a decorative statement for your hands but just the act of painting nails is an age-old slumber party staple. But when did the ladies of the universe start painting their nails? Here, we examine the history of nail polish. - Hazel


3000 B.C.: Nail polish originates in China where people mixed flower petals, egg whites, bees wax and more to turn nails light red and pink. At the same time, ancient Egyptians use nail colors to distinguish social class. Historians are still trying to determine whether or not they used glitter.

1900: Women begin rubbing colored creams and powders onto their nails and applying a glossy varnish on top. Unfortunately it comes off in a day. What a total bummer. Early 20th century nail artists, get your shit together!


1925: Nail polish officially comes into existence but in only one shade: sheer red. Oooh, classy. Women painted the center of their nails with the red but left the moon and the edge of the nail blank. LOL, sounds like someone didn't know how to paint their nails! Film stars of the 1930's will later don fully-painted nails and make the manicure officially trendy.

1932: Charles Revlon and his chemist bro Joseph invent an opaque nail polish that comes in a variety of colors. Ta-da, Revlon becomes the first nail polish company. Why were these dudes were so into nail polish? We dunno, but we thank them for it.


1970s-1980s: Vibrant neon colors are popular for nails in the 80's, which compliment the rainbow make-up trends of the time. Black nail polish is also a hit with goths of this era, both girls and boys. This dark trend will carry though to future decades, making black nails forever a universally-recognized signifier of just how emo a person is.

Today: Nail art is hellah trendy and nail polish is elevated to crazy levels. Today, we have velvet nail polish, rubber nail polish, magnetic nail polish, marble nail polish designs, decals, stickers, glitter and more. The list can go on forever. Though, we wonder what 2013 has in store for the world of nail polish...

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