Women have been decorating their nails for thousands of years – in fact, the first nail polish was invented
in China around 3000BC using beeswax and vegetable dyes. Nail polish as we know it first became popular in the early 20th century, as chemicals started being manufactured and ‘20s glamour took over during the wartime. The most popular and classic colour of choice was red, although a rainbow of shades was soon available.
It wasn’t until the 1950s that people started experimenting with nail art and acrylic nails. A dentist invented acrylics by inventing them with the same substance used to fill teeth cavities. Acrylic manicures really took off in the 70s, when wealthy ladies were always seen with long fake nails which needed topping up regularly.
More manicure options were gradually introduced, including the ever-popular gel nail manicure. Gel nail polishes are applied to the natural nail but need a UV lamp for curing – the first which was introduced around 1982.