A Fascinating History of Nail Polish

Title and images from Mental Floss. Infographic text by Elizabeth Segran,
Illustrations by Julia Rothman.

Mental Floss got around to illustrating the history of nail polish long before I even thought of doing it. Wha-bam! Here’s Mental Floss’s infographic on the History of Nail Polish. They explain it much more eloquently than I ever could. Consider this a re-blog with some added quirk.

Clearly, I’m on a nail polish kick.


I can’t get over what an excellent job they did with this post. If I ever come up with a better infographic, I’ll be sure to post it. And send it to Mental Floss.

Other Fun Facts

  • Car paint is the where our good old nail polish really comes from. The paint was adapted in the 1920s by makeup artist Michelle Menard (see above re: moon manicure and Revlon). Menard worked for a company Charles Revson, which we know today as Revlon (Mental Floss)
  • Actress Tippi Hedrin, known for starring in Hitchcock’s The Birds, is the reason the 80% of nail salons in California are run by individuals of Vietnamese descent. And a whopping 51% of nail salons in the United States. Hedrin visited a refugee camp, recruited a beauty school to help the women in the camp, and flew her personal manicurist in to teach 20 of them the art of manicures (BBC)
  • In 2012, nail polish sales hit $768 million; a 32% increase from 2011. We can very likely attribute this to a rise in the popularity of nail art (Good Housekeeping)
  • In the last decade, we’ve adapted nail polish to exclude several chemicals, including but not limited to: formaldehyde, tolulene, dibutyl phthalate (DBP). We’ve gone from 3 to 7 (and maybe even 9)-free. And let’s not forget the awesomeness that is water-based nail polish.
  • I haven’t painted my nails since my last post

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