The History Of Nail Polish


The other day one of my daughters asked me if I knew when nail polish was invented? We just recently  gotten into wearing nail polish again.
The question prompted us to search and read many different nail polish sites on-line For example, I had no idea that some nail polishes retail for, 25-30 dollars a bottle. Even more so, if it is a Limited Edition bottle that everyone loves…. Only then can you find it on Ebay, months after they have all sold out in the stores for a phenomenal price of $50+ dollars. High end brands include, but are not limited too…. (Mac, Laura Mercier, Essie, Bobbie Brown, and the beloved…Chanel.



Have you ever wondered what the cost of the most expensive nail polish is? It is called….



“I DO” is the most expensive nail polish currently on the market.  It was  created as a collaboration between women’s beauty magazine Allure, Essie Cosmetics, Platinum Guild International and British platinum supplier Johnson Matthey. It runs for $55.000 a bottle!!!! Hmmm, should I buy a new car, or a bottle of polish? lol
The first batch of this luxury nail polish was displayed in a special bottle created by PGI and designer Henry Dunay. What is in it… that warrents such a price tag of $55.000 some may ask? (((Pure Platinum))) However, the normal bottle runs for a mere $25 dollars-the Platinum.

The cheapest on the market is one that I use to use as a teen.  It is called Wet & Wild. It use to run for 99 cents a bottle. It is now double the price.  They also changed the bottle shape to a more modern look, as well as uped the name to “Wild Shine”, by Wet N’ Wild.  I also use to use a similar brand called, “Love my Nails” I have not seen that brand in years though, but see that it can still be bought through Amazon.



We have been sampling many different brands of polish these past few months, and have found that our favorite brand is China Glaze.

China Glaze has a 440-strand brush. I hear that makes all the difference!:oP It came out in 2005, with its first collection being French Bliss, followed by Fashion Fairy, Down Under, Urban Chick, and Patent leather..Here is their site of all their collections from the past- to the present.


The OPI brand has a huge selection. It was (founded in 1981) and is the polish of choice at the nail salons.

The  Orly brand is also pretty special.  Nail salons must have made the switch in the past couple decades, as I recall Orly being the top notch polish at nail salons when I was a teen. These both can be bought at Sally’s Beauty supply stores, or on-line. It takes over a week for these ones to start to chip.



We have also sampled a newer brand that is rather cheap, being only 1.99 each. The name is…ummm, interesting, to put it mildly. It is called, “Sinful Colors” I am really not sure, as we have not dug into researching that one yet!


Sinful Colors is only sold at Walgreen’s Drug stores and they run for 1.99 each but sometimes go on sale for 1.49. They come in 50 different shades. Our favorites are the Green and Blue. Mint Apple-Green shown above is my oldest daughters favorite!

When we are in a hurry though, nothing beats Maybellines limited edition 50 second drying nail colors. I picked up a few at Rite Aid. They run for 3.79 each. They only require one coat, which is really practical. The Blue in the middle below is so Amazing! Every time I wear it on my toes, I get stopped and asked what salon I had them done at. lol


One of my daughters loves the Sally Hanson brand. She actually has managed to collect the whole CHROME set. They are all metallic, and come in pinks,purples and blues.


Some sets that we have yet to collect are the OPI’s SHREK collection.


They are really summery and fun looking.

Another is the China Glazes, “Poolside Collection” as pictured below. The Coral is my favorite.


My oldest daughter  wants to try Sephora by OPI Nail Polish. They run for 9.00 a bottle. Maybe for her Birthday.


Like everything else, nail polish has certainly evolved in the past decade.

When my girls were younger, they only used a nail polish brand called, “Bon Bons”.  For those of you that do not recall, they are super tiny, as shown below. It was great being able to have such a large collection of different colors to choose from though, for a small price.. We had about 50 of them. Ten years ago they were .79 cents. Now they are  .99 cents each. Not much of a price jump.


At Sally’s Beauty supply stores they have a similar nail product called, “Sally Girl”. They are equally tiny,  like the Bon-Bons and are .99 cents each. They have about 30 colors at the moment to choose from. They also dry super fast. The only draw back that we  have found,  is that you need to use a top coat with them for shine, as they dry as a Matte finish, which doesn’t look too pretty. No worries though, it is all for fun!


Out of all the brands of nail polish on the market today,and there are virtually hundreds to choose from. I find that Sally Hanson is the most versatile. They start off really cheap, and go all the way up to 7.00 a bottle. Sallys best polishes are called,  Nail lacquers. I have many Sally polishes, but only 2 of them are nail lacquers, due to the price. You can purchase them at Target. We have the Gold one, and the Lavender Grey one. I like that the brush is wide, much like a paint brush, which means one clean swipe and your ready to go!!! I use a slaon style spray to make them dry fast.
I have had issues in the past with nail polish. Sorta of …… a Love/Hate relationship. It is hard to explain. All in all though, I have found that there is really nothing wrong with looking & feeling nice. Some say it is all part of being a girl! I like that!

Now, lets take a deeper look into the History of nail polish….

Did you know nail polish was  originally invented for men? There are two very popular brands that are on the market today  that cater to boys and men. The names of these brands are, “Man Glaze, and BB Couture” .

During the Chou Dynasty, around 600 BC was when nail polish was first introduced.
Royal colors were solely metallic gold and silver. Whatever the Dynasty color was; that was the color worn on people’s nails of the Chinese upper class. If the lower class attempted to wear nail polish, they could be punished by death.YIKES~~

Polish at that time was colored with natural pigments. These polishes were made from bees’ wax, gelatin, gum arabic, and egg whites. Flower petals were introduced for color. Sounds rather healthy to me!!!

Tid-Bit~~ Egyptians used to dip their fingers into orange henna, to replicate nail polish. In some areas, people still do this form of nail/hand art.


And as far modern polishes, as we know them today…

A women by the name of  Michelle Menard invented the modern nail polish in the 1920’s. I tried finding a picture of her online, but could not.

Flapper girls and later, hollywood starlets  popularized  nail polish by wearing bright red nail polish on their long pointy nails.  Nail Polish is actually similar to car paint. It requires a remover made of Acetone to remove it. Interesting!!

In Britain, nail polish is called nail varnish.

Among the most sought after colors today in 2010….they are Green & Black!

I wear green allot, but black is not my thing! :oS

Which state sells the most nail polish? Want to guess?
FLORIDA! I wonder why? Perhaps it is because the flip-flop is the shoe of choice. :oP

What is nail polish actually made of today one might ask?

It consists of a nitrocellulose dissolved in a solvent. Nitrocellulose is a polymer derived from cellulose that has been treated with sulfuric and nitric acids. That can not be too healthy, so every now and again keeping your nails bare, might be a good idea. Of course you can also buy natural nail polishes, much like the natural hair dyes, which are derived from fruit and vegetables to maintain their colors. They sell these on-line, as well as at Whole Foods. Plan to spend around ten dollars a bottle. Piggy Paint was invented not long ago by a mother who realized that the polish her  daughters were using could “eat through” a plate made of Styrofoam. Piggy Paint is made of all biodegradable ingredients and are free of formaldehyde, toluene, phthalates, biphenyl A, ethyl acetate and acetone.


On a side note….When you paint your nails, try to not touch the skin at all with the polish, or even your cuticles for that matter. Children under 10 may need help with this.
It is also said that by keeping your polishes in the refrigerator, prolongs their shelf life. It also keeps them from becoming clumpy and goopy.
Personally, there are 5 of us in the house using ours, so I am not too worried about prolonging their shelf life. A couple bottles that we bought last month are already 1/2 full in fact!

I also like to all the pretty colors lined up on the dresser, it is like walking past a rainbow every day!

I am finding that there are many  nail polish hoarder’s out there. I will not disclose how many polishes I actually own presently, but our collection is getting rather large. The average person has around 6 different colors I was told.

I watched a you-tube video the other day of a women that was showing off her nail polish collection of 500! She should open a nail salon! WOW!

I have no plans to ever own that many, Goodness, we would have to add on another room to store it all in. She actually had a room that was her POLISH ROOM!
I have talked to some ladies who say it is too much bother having to keep redoing your nails every other day, once the color starts to chip off. I feel the same way, having OCD, I can not stand to see girls with chipped finger nail polish!
I am referring to real nails here, not acrylics. I tend to keep my nails filed pretty short. I think it is called a sport length. I use to be a long nail type of gal, but after having children,  I have found that long nails are simply not practical for my life style.  Who needs to spend 20 minutes trying to button, zip or even open a can. Some things simply are not practical with long nails. I can not stop thinking about the times I tried to diaper a baby with my long nails.  They had to go..

On a side note: there is a women that has made a living showing off her ultra super long nails… Here she is!

Lee Redmond holds the record for longest nails on both hands. Her nails are 33” long WOW!tumblr_l03z0mF8481qas9wco1_500


Her name is Louise Hollis, The mother of 12 and grandmother of 21.  She enjoys the attention the nails bring her while out and about in her hometown of Compton, California.

Getting back to keeping nail polish from chipping…

I have found that applying  polish in several thin coats instead of thick ones makes a huge difference.  If you want to use a standard nail polish or lacquer, you will need a full 30 Min’s-1 hour to get the job done. If you do not want to bother with touch ups every couple days, you will need to take the time and do a base coat, 2-3 thin coats of thin polish, and then the top coat. This will take you almost to a full 2 weeks of beautiful looking nails. Of course you may be like me, who wants to see a new color every other day…If this is the case, who needs to spend all that time with base coats and top coats. *G*
I was  talking with an old high school friend recently who confessed to me that the number one thing that she remembers about me when I was a teen was that every day for school, my nail polish always matched my outfit! LOL

She said that we would be on the phone and I would tell her that I needed to go paint my nails, but had to decide what outfit I would be wearing to school the next day first! SO FUNNY! It is so cute the impression that we leave as teens on people.

Do nail polishes expire?
It is said that Nail Polishes have a shelf life of two years however, I do still have the polish bottle that I wore on my wedding day, which was fifteen years ago. It still looks and smells fine. I am not sure what to make of that one. It was a dark ruby red by Revlon, called Vixen. They still make it too, but it is double the price of what I paid for it 15 years ago.

On that note, I hope you all find a nail polish that suits you!

Anyone want to share their  current favorite brand, or color, we  would love to hear all about it.

UPDATE: This blog post gets allot of traffic from all over the world. Please do feel welcomed to tell us about your favorite nail polishes etc. We would love to hear from you.:o)


2 thoughts on “The History Of Nail Polish

  1. Wal-mart has Love My Nails but they keep them on the bottom shelf. I bought a Love My Nails color called Rose Garden about two weeks ago. Great news! I finally found the kind of pale pink polish I have been looking for since the 80’s. It is pearly and dense and not translucent. It is pale but not whitish. It is not too blue. I found it at Wal-Mart. It is by a company called NYC cosmetics. The nail polish is called Wall Street. OK, THAT accomplished, I am now on the hunt for a dense nail polish consisting of mostly pale pink glitter. I am sure you’ve guessed by now that pale pink is a favorite color of mine. Wet and Wild used to have a great line of glitter nail polishes where the glitter was really dense. I bought one with copper pink glitter in it and that’s all you saw when in was on–no open spaces. Well, I have my work cut out for me–looking for more nail polish.


  2. Thanks, I’ll have to check for it next time I’m in Walmart. It is very hard to find pale colors that are not translucent. Who wants to sit down and have to put 6 coats on before it shows up!

    I have some of the NYC polishes too. You might want to check Sinful Colors nail polish for the glitter ones. I love glitter anything, and Sinful colors has many glitter nail polishes,only $1.99 each too! They sell that brand at Walgreens and Rite-Aid.


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