Treat yourself with the perfect mani or pedi at Granny Mouse

Ever wonder where the art of painting nails originated from? Granny Mouse Country House and Spa therapists, who deliver that perfect manicure or pedicure for guests, decided to go back in time to find out just where this beauty phenomenon began.

Apparently, examples can be found in many ancient civilizations. While nail care may have always been an important element of high fashion in modern times, it was only in the late 17th century when portraits of people with shiny nails started appearing.

According to the historians and some archeologists, some 5 000 years ago nail polish was created in China, where it was used by the imperium to distinguish themselves from the general population. Nail polishes were made from beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes and gum and the most popular colours were metallic, such as silver and gold. These symbolized power and wealth.

The major difference between China and other ancient civilizations that used nail polish was that this highly prized cosmetic product was only used by the elite. Use was banned by the general population. Several reports survive to this day of common people who were caught with coloured nails being executed!

From China, nail polish spread across India, the Middle East and northern Africa. It really took on in Egypt which was known for its use of cosmetics. Here, the lower classes wore pale colours while the Pharaoh and hoi polio painted their nails reddish brown with henna.

As with many other cosmetic products, nail polish disappeared from European fashion after the fall of Roman Empire.

It was only after the arrival of Renaissance and the new trade connection with the Middle East and India that European aristocracy once again gained access to nail polish and began to decorate their nails once more.

As the centuries went, nail polish and manicures became more and more commonplace, finally becoming ultra-popular in France during the late 18th century.

By the turn of the 19th century, nail polish and colouring became more common amongst the general population in France, England, Italy and the United States – but, it was in the early 20th century that nail polish came into its own, with manicure establishments appearing in France in great numbers (especially in 1920s and 30s).

Today, nail polish can be found in every possible combination of colour and opacity. Black nail polish which is popular today in the Goth, Punk, Emo and Heavy Metal subcultures did not appear in the earliest days but was first introduced in the 1930s during the post Art-Deco era.

Nail polish styles have come and gone and come back again, including a lingering French-tip manicure craze, half-moon polish, decorated tips and other artistic looks.

In fact, nail polish has become a huge global industry in its own right. Between 2011 and 2012, nail polish sales soared up by 32 percent and topped $768 million dollars – and they’ve increased yearly ever since. With nail art continually trending on Pinterest and other social media platforms, it appears that nail polish is here to stay, and trends will keep getting more and more intricate and artistic.


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