The History of Nail Polish – Babylonia

By Inspirationail

The History of Nail PolishWe have been researching the history of nail polish, which is more complicated than it sounds. There are several theories about where colouring nails originally came from, however we think that it comes from the henna decorations of India during the Bronze Age.

Although are pretty sure we can credit India with the creation of nail polish itself, the Babylonians definitely invented the manicure.

Not Much Colour Choice

The Babylonians took nail colouring to an entirely different level, using it to signify social status. Black was the colour of choice as it signified a high social status, while green was only used on the nails of lower classes. Instead of henna that the Indians used, the Babylonians used kohl to decorate their fingernails.


Posh Tools

These days there are a number of nail techs to choose from, but back in ancient Babylonia they were clearly in high demand and making good money. Excavated royal tombs (that date back to 3200 B.C.) have unearthed well-preserved solid gold manicure tools along with the original kohls.

Oh, the Irony

In an ironic twist, the girly ritual of the manicure was originally reserved for men… warriors in fact. Although it’s likely women of high classes & royalty may have had their nails done as well, painted nails & their indication of class status was largely male-dominated.

Man's Manicure

Images © i am brad

Babylonian warriors didn’t jog or do calisthenics before going into battle, they prepared by having their hair & nails done!

More Polish History

If you haven’t yet seen were it all began, be sure to check out how the Indians invented nail polish and stay tuned to see how the Chinese adapted this fabulous trend.


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