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The History of Nail Products

If you are a bit of a history geek like me, then I do love to find things out about our human past that weren’t necessarily in the school text books. I know what farming tools were used, and all about mummification. But did people treat themselves to a nice manicure?

Nail care has been a part of human grooming for centuries, with people using different techniques and products to enhance the appearance of their nails. In this blog post, we will explore the history of nail products, from the earliest nail polishes to the modern nail care industry.

Early Nail Care

The ancient Egyptians are believed to have been the first people to use nail polish. They used a mixture of henna, crushed beetles, and other natural ingredients to colour their nails. The higher the social status of the person, the brighter and more elaborate the nail art was. Nail care was not just for cosmetic purposes but also had religious significance, with some ancient cultures painting their nails to ward off evil spirits.

In ancient China, nail care was also considered an important part of grooming. Royalty would grow their nails long to indicate their status, while commoners were prohibited from growing their nails beyond a certain length. In Japan, the practice of nail art was popular among geishas, who painted intricate designs on their nails using natural pigments.

Early Nail Products

In the early 20th century, nail care products began to emerge. The first nail polish was invented in the 1920s by a French makeup artist named Michelle Menard. She created a product that was made from pigments mixed with a clear base, which could be applied to the nails with a small brush. This product was initially sold to beauty salons and was popularized by Hollywood stars.

In the 1930s, Revlon introduced a new type of nail polish that was more durable and long-lasting than previous formulas. This was made possible by the use of pigments that were suspended in a plasticiser, which allowed the polish to remain flexible after it dried.

The 1950s saw the introduction of the first nail art stickers, which were popularized by Hollywood actresses. These stickers were made from thin layers of colored paper and could be applied to the nails without the need for messy nail polish.

The Modern Nail Care Industry

In the 1970s and 1980s, the nail care industry began to boom. Acrylic nails, which are made by applying a mixture of liquid and powder to the nails and allowing it to harden, were invented. These were popular among women who wanted to have long, durable nails without the hassle of growing them out.

The 1990s saw the introduction of gel nails, which are made by applying a gel to the nails and curing it under a UV light. This allowed for a longer-lasting, more durable manicure.

Today, the nail care industry is a multi-billion dollar industry, with a wide range of products available to consumers. In addition to nail polishes, stickers, and artificial nails, there are now a variety of nail care products available, including cuticle oils, nail strengtheners, and nail growth serums.


Nail care has come a long way since the days of using natural pigments to color nails. The development of new formulas and technologies has allowed for a wide range of nail products to be developed, catering to the needs of consumers. While the history of nail products is fascinating, it is clear that nail care is here to stay, with people constantly seeking new and innovative ways to enhance the appearance of their nails.

Here at MISSU, we have always tried to innovate and develop our products to make them super simple to use. Flexi Press Tips are our proudest development – especially since the release of the Flexi Tip Hard Gel…. What might nail care look like in 2050?

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