The History of Nail Polish – 1950’s

By Inspirationail

The History of Nail PolishWe’ve been tracking the history of nail polish and have come to more recent times. Now we are focusing on trends from each decade of the 20th century… and beyond. Today we want to go retro with some fashion advice from the 50’s.

Ancient History

We think that nail polish originated with henna decorations in India during the Bronze Age. This trend spread quickly and soon the Babylonians adopted the idea using kohl to colour their nails. Around the same time the Chinese took it even further crushing flower petals for more shades. Later still the Egyptians made red nails famous.

Marilyn Monroe

The 50’s are known for their glamourous sirens of the Silver Screen and beauties like Marilyn Monroe were in their prime.

Modern Days

Although women (& men) continued to stain, lacquer and manicure their nails there were very few notable advancements until the early 20th century. In the 1920’s glossy car paint was created and one bright lady came up with the brilliant idea of applying it to nails. Not too long afterwards the world was watching movies in glorious technicolor and the cosmetic industry was changed forever.

Jane Russell

The Glamourous 50’s

While other colours may be found on eyes or lips, red was generally the colour for nails during this era. If they were’t red they were kept natural or given a French manicure. This is reflected in movies as well as fashion as the post war generation can become ladylike and start to enjoy their lives again.

We love the glamour of the 50’s – it’s unashamedly feminine and unbelievably seductive. It was the last of the timeless eras.

Grace Kelly

Youth Culture

It was during this more stable time that youth culture began to emerge as an influence in fashion trends. Women were also encouraged to get back to womanly duties as families became stable units again. Although we like the feminine mind of fashion during this time, we dislike the inevitable return of the dreaded corset (which we’re pretty sure is what creates Audrey’s tiny waste below).

Audrey Hepburn

Inspirationail Recommends

To get the seductive look of the 50’s isn’t hard – all you need is a bottle of red nail polish & some red lipstick. Just remember to keep the rest of your cosmetics subtle and clean. We recommend sticking to creamy true reds like Lustful Red, Sultry Red, Perceval, Lost Red or Strawberry Delight. We may be opting for a 50’s inspired look tomorrow when we get dressed.


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