1200px-Red nail polish in application

A woman painting her fingernails with a red-colored assortment of nail polish

Nail polish is a lacquer marketed towards the female population, used to apply to the human fingernails or toenails to decorate and/or protect the nail plaques.


5,000 years ago, nail polish was invented in China in order to distinguish the ruling class from civillians. Civillians were not permitted to use it and some were even executed over it. The concept spread and was very popular in Egypt but dissapeared after the Roman era. Nail polish resurfaced around the 17th century, paintings around that time began to have colorful and shiny nails. What we know as modern nail polish first appeared in the late 19th century. In 1917 Cutex produced the first commercial bottle of nail polish. The next major company to begin producing nail polish was the Charles Revson Company (what we now know as Revlon) in 1932.

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