The History of Nail Polish – 1910’s
The history of nail polish is a fascinating one that we’ve had great fun exploring. We’ve covered up until the 20th century and looked at trends from some of the later decades already. At the risk of getting out of order, today we want to look at the first few decades of the 20th century too.
Ancient Timeline Rundown
The story of nail polish is very old & it began in India during the Bronze Age where they stained their nails with henna, soon the trend spread to Babylonia where they used kohl to stain their nails. About the same time the Chinese took the trend further by crushing flower petals & creating unique colours. Later, the fashionable Egyptian women made red nails famous throughout history.
The 1910’s was a time of broad changes and fashion trends often reflected practical necessity. During this time designers began to throw out restricting corsets & create clothing with softer, sexier lines.
Although people continued to stain, lacquer and manicure their nails throughout the years, there weren’t many notable changes until the early 20th century. In the 1920’s glossy car paint was created which gave one bright lady the fab idea of applying it to nails. Around the same time glorious technicolor took over the world of film and the cosmetic industry was altered forever. Today’s look at the 1910’s just predates these advancements.
The Future of Nails
In the 50’s they wore red, in the 60’s pastels came into vogue, 70’s nails went natural or super deep and in the 80’s things went neon. The 1910’s started super fashionable and with the advent of WWI a more natural look became prominent as the war dismantled frivolous industries & created physical jobs for women.
Although the war created a nation of casual women, the high end of fashion still continued in small pockets and the waning corset trend had women everywhere cheering.
The fashion for this decade can be split pretty evenly into two sections, pre-war (1910-1913) and war + post-war times (1914-1919). Pre-war fashion was highly luxurious and characterized by opulent trimmings, small waists and large exotic hats. Once the war began, things in the fashion world changed with it and women began to opt for more practical garments. While the men were away fighting, women became the engine that kept industry moving and they needed clothing that allowed them freedom of movement. Hemlines crept up slightly, corsets were abandoned and clothing was simplified with fewer embellishments.
Although they probably didn’t do much beyond staining or buffing their nails during this time, we’d love to get our hands on some of that (early) fashion and match our nails to it. We recommend clear or super sheer shades to emulate natural nails or subtly enhance those grandiose trimmings. Try The Shield, Sassy, Vanilla, Opulent Pearl, Apricot to Red Apple or Crystal Clear. Be sure to check out nail looks from the 50’s, the 60’s, the 70’s and the 80’s – plus stay tuned for more colour advice from another decade of the 20th century.