Monday, January 28, 2013

The History of Nail Care and Nail Art

Archeologists have traced nail care as far back as 5000 B.C. India, where both men and women were found to have henna dyed nails. Moving forward 1000 years to 4000 B.C. Babylonia, tools made of gold were unearthed and determined to have been used to get the perfect mani!

During the Neolithic Era (China 3000 -1500 B.C.), the Chinese created a nail stain made from a mixture of beeswax, gelatin, egg whites and gum Arabic. A multitude of sources refer to 3000 B.C as the Ming Dynasty, which was in fact from 1368–1644 B.C., so although people of the Ming Dynasty did participate in staining their nails, nail stain for the Chinese began before then. The purpose of nail care and nail stain was tied to social status. Wearing intricate bamboo splints, men and women would grow their nails to 5 inches to show that they were above manual labor.

Egypt circa 1300 B.C., It was Queen Nefertiti (ca. 1370 B.C. – ca. 1330 B.C.) who introduced nail dyes to Egyptian society. Red dyed nails was the color of choice for the upper echelon of society and those of lesser status were forbidden to adorn their nails with this color.

Today, nail art has made a huge comeback. But it’s far from a new concept as the Chinese were adorning their nails with gold and silver in 600 B.C. and during the Inca Empire, (1500 A.D.), the Incans were painting their nails with animal images. Bringing us to 2013, the sky is the limit for nail art. We are hooked on nail embellishments and it seems that the more intricate, the better. Even polishes themselves contain texture making nail art easy for just about anyone!

©2013 Yvonne P. Mazzulo

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