Painting Your Nails

Everyone remembers when they first had fingernail polish on their nails. Some parents may have forbidden it, and others allowed it at an early age. What is your experience?

The practice of adding color to one’s nails could go back thousands of years. The Chinese used bold colors on their nails made out of beeswax, egg whites, gelatin and vegetable dyes. The Chinese used different nail colors to distinguish a person’s social rank and those of royalty. In the Ming Dynasty, lower classes wore light nail shades and the darker, royal colors were reserved for royalty.

Regular nail grooming started with King Louis Philippe of France in the mid-1800s. This opened up the concept of nail parlors in Paris providing nail services to the public. An American, Mary E. Cobb studied nail carl in France and established her own manicure system and opened a salon called “Mrs. Pray’s Manicure” in Manhattan, NY in 1878. So successful she opened other salons in other places in New York state and in the city of Chicago.

A basic manicure by Cobb cost $1.25 but no nail polish yet, not invented. Cobb did come up with the emery board as a nail-care tool.

Colored nail polish came about in the 1920s. A French makeup artist, Michelle Menard, re-formulated the enamel used on automobiles to a make it safe to use on nails. This super glossy lacquer was very popular in the Roaring Twenties for the ladies. Menard worked with two brothers, Charles and Joseph Revson and also Charles Lachman to develop a business that would later be known as Revlon.

It would be in the late 1950s that acrylic nails came about. A dentist, Dr. Frederick Slack broke his nail and used dental acrylic to mend it back together. Seeing how successful it was and natural-looking he joined with his brother to patent the first acrylic nails. Such long, luxurious perfect oval nails became very popular and still today.

It is a very popular business today, more than 395,000 nail technicians and 55,000 nail salons in the United States alone. The number of shades of nail polish is enormous.

Photo: Polish on fingernails

Related Blogs:

Beauty Myths

Beauty Secrets

Ancestors – Females Wearing Trousers

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