The History of Nail Polish – 1980’s

By Inspirationail

The History of Nail PolishWe’ve been discussing the fascinating history of nail polish and have covered the trends until the 20th century. Each distinctive decade of this century had its own ideas about fashion and cosmetics. Today we want to go neon with some fashion advice from the 80’s.

Ancient History

The story of nail polish is a very old one, it began in India during the Bronze Age where nails were stained with henna, before long the trend spread to Babylonia where they used kohl to colour their nails. Around the same time the Chinese took things a step further crushing flower petals to create a new range of colours. Later, the fashionable Egyptian women made red nails famous.

Dolly Parton

Images © Graham Racher

The 80’s was a time of bold experimentation and personal liberation. Cosmetics almost couldn’t get colourful enough.

Modern Days

People continued to stain, lacquer and manicure their nails throughout the years. However there weren’t many notable advancements until the early 1920’s when glossy car paint was created. This invention gave one bright lady the fab idea of applying it to nails. Not too long afterwards the world was watching movies in glorious technicolor and the cosmetic industry was undeniably changed forever.

80's Fashion

Images © Mandi Gaga

The Accepting 80’s

In the 50’s it was all red, in the 60’s pastels came into vogue and in the 70’s nails either went natural or super deep. The 80’s was an ‘everything goes’ type of decade and truly fashion & cosmetics ranged from super natural to eye bleeding brights.

Even with it’s hodgepodge of looks, fashion of the 80’s all seemed to have one common thread – most of it was inspired by youth culture.

80's Fashion

The Power of Youth

Notable for it’s extreme trends, this is a playful decade and one that gave birth to some trends better left dead. As always people looked to fashion runways and film for inspiration but MTV provided an additional element to fashion… music. Suddenly musicians found themselves influencing fashion trends. In stark contrast, this was also a decade of romantic trends (and even those were youthful), lace, glitter, bold coloured stilettos, shiny miniskirts and shoulder pads.

1980's Fashion

Inspirationail Recommends

To get the lively look of the 80’s isn’t hard – all you need is a bottle (or 10) of brightly coloured varnish. We recommend a variety of fab colours that could only have become popular during this crazy decade. Try Lancelot, Spike, Candy Pink, CEO Blood, Hot Green, Flash to Burgundy or Princess Purple. Be sure to check out nail looks from the 50’s, the 60’s and the 70’s – plus stay tuned for some colour advice from the 90’s.


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