The history of nail art - nail design and nail art how it all began


👑 Of gods and powerful people
Greek gods – legends about the first manicure
From 1800 BC BC: Sign of power – nail art in ancient Babylon
From 1500 BC BC: Henna in India - traditional body art for beautiful nails
From 1400 BC BC: Ruby red nails of Nefertiti
From 1100 BC BC: The first artificial nails in history
In the last century B.C. BC: Cleopatra's nail design
From the 13th century: The symbolic nail art of the Incas

📚 History of modern nail design
19th century: Beautiful nails for the nobility - the first celebrity nail designer
How nail design & manicure came from France to the USA
20th century: Nail design fashion changing in the Belle Époque
Artificial nails in Asia for the elite
20s: Hollywood – nail design for stars and starlets
Nail design is going international
Nail design from the 30s and 40s
Cinema Age – Rise of the Nail & Make Up Artists
We can do it – war & glamour

Nail design in the post-war years

50s: The roaring 50ies in nail design
The invention of modern nail modeling
60s: Nail design of the Swinging Sixties
70s: Black is beautiful & the beginning of nail art
Starting signal for nail modeling: artificial nails with acrylic
80s: Sporty & sexy – the nail design of the cult decade
The bumpy start of gel nail modeling
90s: Fancy, Grunge & Glamour
Innovative gel nails are conquering nail salons

Nail design - how it all began: From gods and mighty ones🤴

Nail design, nail polish and nail art seem to be a modern invention - but far from it: stories about manicures can already be found in Greek mythology. All over the world, from Asia to Africa to America, various forms of nail beautification developed thousands of years ago, ranging from plant-based nail colors to the first jewel-encrusted artificial nails in history.

Greek gods

Greek gods 🇬🇷 Legends about the first manicure

The first references to the special importance of fingernails for humans can be found in the legends of the ancient Greeks - even the first manicure is described in the ancient myths: According to legend, Eros, who is known as the deity of love and passion, is said to be a kind performed the divine manicure on his mother. She was none other than Aphrodite, who symbolized beauty and fertility. He distributed the nail clippings on beaches around the world. The goddesses of fate (Moirae) later collected the valuable divine remnants. To this day, this history of antiquity is evident in the name of the beautiful semi-precious stone onyx, which is based on the Greek word for fingernail, and its traditional spiritual use for nails, skin and hair.

From 1800 BC BC: Sign of power – nail art in ancient Babylon

In ancient times, colored nails were far from being a unique feature of women. The legendary Babylon on the banks of the Euphrates was a vibrant power in Mesopotamia from 1800 BC to 100 AD. During this time, men who held high positions and became wealthy or went to war wore colored nails to demonstrate their power. The darker and stronger the color on the fingers, the more influential the wearer was. But men from the lower classes of society also colored their fingernails, albeit in lighter, less intense, greenish tones. The colors used to decorate nails in ancient Babylon were obtained from natural materials; coal and powdered sulfides were particularly popular for this purpose.

Henna in India

From 1500 BC BC: Henna in India 🇮🇳 Traditional body art for beautiful nails

The love for beautiful hands and nails has spread worldwide - including in the large subcontinent of India, where the roots of the popular henna tattoos lie. Mehndi refers to body painting with henna, which has been applied to hands, arms, feet and fingernails and toenails for ritual and cosmetic purposes since ancient times. A coloring paste is made from the dried and ground leaves of the henna bush, which is applied in delicate patterns during the ceremonial henna night to decorate the bride at the wedding. This technique was first mentioned in the ancient Vedic writings from India; today it is popular in countries such as Pakistan, Nepal, Morocco, the Maldives and throughout the Middle East. According to tradition, the power of the henna ornaments on the skin and nails is said to awaken the inner light; they also represent happiness and health.

From 1400 BC BC: Ruby red nails of Nefertiti 💉

According to tradition, Queen Nefertiti, the legendary wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten, is said to have worn ruby-red nails - according to legend, this first “nail polish” got its intense color from the addition of blood. In her time, the unusual and valuable color on the nails was considered a sign of her royal status.

First artificial nails

From 1100 BC BC: The first artificial nails in history 💅

While modern artificial nails are a relatively new development in the cosmetics industry, the desire for artificial nails dates back to much earlier. For example, members of the Chinese nobility during the Zhou dynasty, which ruled for around 400 years until 770 BC, demonstrated a particular preference for beautiful nails with a penchant for luxury. During this period the nails were artificially lengthened for the first time. For artificial nails, metal nail tips were made and worn on the fingertips. They were given a shiny coating, decorated with expensive gemstones and handcrafted with great attention to detail.


In the last century B.C. BC: Cleopatra's nail design⚱️

Even Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen and last female pharaoh of the Ptolemaic Empire, relied on henna decorations - but instead of ornaments, according to tradition, she colored the entire fingertip, including the nail, with this unique, dark rust red. In doing so, she continued an old tradition, as the researchers also found nails dyed with henna on mummies, which indicated a high social status.

From the 13th century: The symbolic nail art of the Incas 🌏

Europe, Africa, Asia and America – the love of decorated nails has developed and spread on almost every continent. The indigenous South American advanced culture of the Incas were true pioneers with their nail art because they loved to create small symbols and figures on their fingernails. Archaeologists discovered that the Incas created their elaborate nails by sharpening sticks and using natural colors that they applied to their nails with these painting tools. This type of embellishment was particularly popular for important ceremonial occasions. A particularly popular motif of the Incas was the condor. In their belief, this powerful bird of the Andean region represented the connection between the underworld, the human world and heaven. According to legend, the souls of the deceased are carried to the peaceful world of the dead on its powerful wings.

📙 History of modern nail design

Over the decades, nail design and its execution are subject to changing trends that are based on the social trends of their time. Against all odds, manicures and nail polish became symbols of emancipation, freedom and self-determination. Although the terms manicure and pedicure have their roots in the medical field of the 19th century, the caring treatment for the nails of the powerful was soon discovered as a way for everyone to express their own personality - a trend was born that has remained unbroken to this day and looks back on an eventful history. The exciting story of modern nail design as it is known today begins with an ingrown nail in the French royal court and a skilled manicurist.

19th century

19th century: Beautiful nails for the nobility 👸 the first celebrity nail designer 🤩

Historical records describe a certain Monsieur Sitts who performed the pedicure of the French King Louis-Philippe I and used non-invasive methods to relieve him of his painful hangnail. The nail trimmer was so successful that the king also used him for his manicure. The special thing about the new method developed by Sitts was that it was painless, because instead of the acids and knives that had previously been used, he relied on soft but effective natural materials such as orange wood sticks and chamois leather.

💁‍♀️ Ideal image of beautiful hands
In the early 18th century, lists were made detailing the requirements for the ideal
Beauty of the current time were recorded: Rounded, long hands with pyramid shape
Tapered fingers and oval nails with a delicate mother-of-pearl shine were considered particularly popular.

This gentle method became so successful and popular with the rich and noble of the time that Monsieur Sitt's niece took over the business after he left. As an “artiste de la main” (artist of the hand), she popularized the new type of manicure and pedicure and counted many celebrities among her customers. One of her students was the legendary Harriet Hubbard Ayer, who later ran a highly successful beauty salon in Paris and became one of the first and most innovative US cosmetics entrepreneurs.

  • New, non-invasive method
  • Pain free
  • Use of gentle natural materials
  • Artiste de la main
  • Famous customers

How nail design & manicure came from 🇫🇷 France to the 🇺🇸 USA

Virginia-born nail designer Mary E. Cobb also learned her craft in France while accompanying the Baroness von Rothschild on her travels there. With the knowledge she had learned, she went back to her homeland and opened America's first nail salon around 1878 under the name “Mrs. Pray's Manicure" in Manhattan - she now had the cosmetics manufacturer Dr. Married Joseph Parker Pray. She is considered a pioneer of manicures in the USA and even wrote a booklet about how to properly perform manicures, the cultural history of nails and possible nail diseases. Their offering was very popular and Mary E. Cobbs opened additional branches in other major cities such as Boston and Washington. Together with her husband, she developed the premium sand files that are still used today for her work. Even after the couple's divorce, Mary E. Cobbs continued to develop cosmetic accessories and her own product lines, which included pink and red nail polish (under the name Enamel). Around 1900 her beauty business was one of the most successful in the world
female entrepreneurs. Her students carried the knowledge to the east coast of America and made nail salons popular there too.

💜 Popular Nail Art 💜
Back in 1897, Titenia, a vaudeville star, became famous for her nail piercings, the real one
Diamonds with rings attached to the nails. These made for an incredible spotlight
Sparkle and were even mentioned in newspaper articles about the artist's show.

20th century: Nail design fashion changing in the Belle Époque

Cosmetics icon Cobbs developed cosmetic products for hands, nails and cheeks to give them a natural, rosy look. She initiated the change in beauty products to emphasize the beauty of women and her product lines became increasingly popular among “fine ladies” . Now it was considered chic and self-confident to put your own assets in the right light through cosmetics and nail design. While women hardly appeared in public in the 19th century, around the turn of the century many women took up jobs, attended college or took to the stage as artists.

Successful female entrepreneurs 🏩
Due to the new popularity of beauty products and the increasing demand for beautiful nails, women such as CJ Walker, Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden became the first successful self-made entrepreneurs in these areas. During this time, the so-called Belle Époque, opulent evening gowns made of chiffon and lace, decorated with pearls and sequins, as well as glass accessories conquered fashion - especially the light from the new gas lights, which provided unimagined lighting options, gave fashion a boost
wonderful sparkle. The nail design completed the trendy looks with its understated elegance. The nails were worn round with a soft pink and a soft ivory white moon.

With the beginning of the chaos of war and the associated advance of women into traditionally male domains, the look of women also changed. The colors and shapes had to be modern and practical, suitable for everyday life in these dark times. The chemical compound nitrocellulose was developed during the First World War for military purposes such as explosives. After the war, however, resourceful users discovered that it could be mixed with other components to create a shiny, long-lasting nail polish.

Nail designer on the plane ✈️
During World War I, it was the nail designer Bessie Coleman who fought against all odds and became the first African-American woman to become a pilot!

  • Rosy looks are considered chic
  • Put advantages in the right light
  • Show new self-confidence
  • Popular nail shape: Round
  • Color trend: Soft pink with nail moon in ivory

Artificial nails in Asia for the elite 🌏

From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, towards the end of the imperial era, it was considered particularly chic among the 🇨🇳 Chinese nobility to have very long artificial nails of over 10 centimeters. For example, they were worn as a pair on the little and ring fingers. These works of art featured Asian symbols of good luck such as the 🐸 frog and the cricket. Today you can see original examples of these artificial nails in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York 🗽. They were an important symbol of power and elite because they indicated that their wearers did not need physical labor.

  • First artificial nails among the Chinese nobility
  • Long metal artificial nails
  • Expensive decorations
  • Artificial nails for individual fingers only
  • Symbol of power & elite

20s: 🌟 Hollywood – nail design for stars and starlets 👩‍🎤

  • After the Second World War, the Roaring Twenties began, which was characterized by art and culture and an economic boom. They have been in fashion for a long time
    Cigarette holders, pearl necklaces and the modern bob are popular. The so-called
    Cinemas initially made silent films, and later also the new sound films from Hollywood, accessible to a wider audience - around two million visitors went to the cinemas every day. Film stars such as the popular Gloria Swanson and Bette Davis brought painted nails to the screen in the 1920s, creating extraordinary glamor. At first, however, only a colored stripe in the middle of the nail was often worn for decoration, as was the case with Joan Crawford, for example. The half-moon manicure that is still known today has its origins in the Jazz Age: For this, the tip and white nail moon only receive a layer of clear varnish, while the rose-colored part of the nail is painted with a color.
  • Nail design for variety and stage stars
  • Popular: Crescent manicure & single center stripe
  • Color trend: Rosé & clear varnish

Nail design goes international

Nail design is going international

In addition to Hollywood stars, increasing leisure travel also created new trends in nail design, which quickly spread internationally. French Lido or Italian Riviera – people traveled to the hotspots, even from the USA, and of course made it a point to get to know fashion and trends from other countries.

Inequality in nail design
American market researchers conducted surveys to find that bright nail polish colors were preferred by rich women, while women from poorer backgrounds preferred bold shades.

The Argentinians and Spanish women of this time wore dark red, almost black nail polish when traveling through Europe - the journalists of American Vogue found this trend particularly wild and barbaric at the beginning of the summer of 1929. The shades of pink, which are popular with Parisian women, are also very popular in the US media.

Fun fact: trend color red!
The American reporters quickly got used to the new trend for red nails and at the end of the summer of 1929 the fashion magazine Vogue headlined: “The redder the better!”

30s & 40s

Nail design from the 30s and 40s

During the economic crises 📉, such as the Great Depression of the 1930s, American women's preference for beautiful nails remained: In addition to the previously established classic of red nails with a light moon and light tip, nail polishes in dark shades such as black and dark green became increasingly popular . The 30s and 40s were eventful decades in world history in which nail design was influenced by rising stars in Hollywood's glamor sky as well as by the dark times of war.

Cinema Age 👩‍🎨 Rise of the Nail & Make Up Artists

In 1931, according to a survey, 85 percent of American college students were already wearing
Graduates nail polish. Stars like the dancer Josephine Baker set trends with the Charleston and mother-of-pearl nail polish - so it's no wonder that the nail polish industry took off in the 1930s and brought many new colors and improved compositions onto the market. Perfumed nail polishes and high-gloss, brilliant colors, which also conjured up the shine of the trendy Bakelite bangles on the nails, ensured modern glamour.

Popular nail polish
In 1931, 85% of college students in the United States were already wearing nail polish! 💅

The film world in the West and the theaters in the East of the USA produced comparatively many female stars in the 1930s and 1940s. Associations of make-up artists and celebrity nail designers developed who ensured that the artists looked good on the screens of the increasingly popular cinemas, on TV screens and on stages. Some of them, such as actress Norma Shearer's manicurist Juliette Marglen, became stars of the scene themselves with their work, their ideas and their success. Successful women of her time further encouraged the trend towards manicures and nail design: the painter Frida Kahlo enthusiastically wore red-painted nails and the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt also went to the nail salon every week to keep her hands well-groomed.

  • Nail polish for stars & artists
  • Improved composition of nail polishes
  • High gloss nail polishes
  • Color trend: mother of pearl & red

Fun Fact: Birthday Party for Nails
Nail designer Juliette Marglen celebrated a “fingernail birthday party” amid intense media interest because she hadn’t cut her fingernails in a year. That evening she had her nails, which were over 7cm long, cut off and tied into a necklace.

We can do it 💪 War & Glamour

The first films and stage plays on the subject of nail design were produced. One of them was the romantic screwball comedy “Love in the Blink of an Eye” (1935), in which a nail technician from a poor background is looking for a rich husband. In the American comedy “The Woman” from 1939 with the glamorous Joan Crawford, a manicurist and the discovery of female strength also play important roles, as does a special nail polish color: the legendary Jungle Red.

Fun Fact: Colored nails in the black and white film 🎥
In the 1930s, the platinum blonde style icon Jean Harlow relied on passionate contrasts: white satin dresses and dark nail polish colors - polarities that were perfectly highlighted in black and white films.

For the European women who found themselves in the midst of the chaos of war, painted nails were a symbol of resistance and the Americans also remained true to their new love for beautiful nails when the USA entered the war. The magazines contained tips on how to care for the now very busy hands and keep the nails short in order to minimize the risk of injury during the hard work in the armaments industry or when serving in uniform with a weapon. Anyone who could paint their nails themselves relied on a full cover to create the optical illusion of length: a new trend was born that continues to this day! However, things were completely different in Nazi Germany: before and around the Second World War, painted nails were pilloried - they were considered vicious. In programs such as the state-sponsored Lebensborn Association, which was dedicated to National Socialist racial hygiene and various health ideologies, cosmetic products such as nail polish and lipstick were even completely banned.

  • First films about nail design
  • Popular nail polish color: Jungle Red
  • Painted nails as a sign of resistance
  • Full cover is becoming a trend
  • Clubs in Nazi Germany ban nail polish
  • Nail polish is considered vicious

Nail design in the post-war years

The full cover look of the war became socially acceptable thanks to the glamorous actress and film producer Rita Hayworth - she preferred to wear it in a bright red. Many celebrities after her loved nail polish, for some it became a trademark: the blonde beauty Marilyn Monroe, who is still popular today Hard to imagine without red nail polish to complement her sensual style. It became a trend to wear your nails beautifully yet practical, so women's magazines began to cover nail design for every woman, from tennis players to actresses to housewives.

  • Full cover look becomes socially acceptable
  • Nail polish as a trademark of the stars
  • Color trend: red

50s: The roaring 50ies in nail design

Diners, Cadillacs, Technicolor and red nails are classic symbols of the 50s. After the hard years of the war, red was still a long-time favorite on nails in a variety of variations, complemented by shades of pink and coral. The colors were the perfect highlights for the pastel beauties that dominated fashion and interior design in the years after the war. Cosmetic brands became established that drew attention to their new nail polish colors with modern advertising - one of the most legendary advertising campaigns of the time was “Fire and Ice” by Revlon, for which the photo model Dorian Leigh wore a figure-hugging dress decorated with silver rhinestones (Ice ) and wore fiery red fingernails (Fire) as a contrast. Red nails were must-haves, found as an accessory in many advertising photos and also adorned Vogue, including the model Mary Jane Russell.

Fun Fact: Revolution and nail polish
In a 1959 Times report, Cuban women revolutionary fighters were portrayed who lived in the mountains and handled heavy weapons - and who attached great importance to perfect nail design!

While make-up and nail polish had previously been worn by women over 30 and later by young women of age, in the 1950s teenagers also began wearing colored polish on their nails. A survey found that in 1951, around 90 percent of American teenagers had been wearing nail polish since the age of 14, and one in five girls had been painting their nails since their tenth birthday.

  • Cosmetic brands are establishing themselves
  • Modern advertisement for nail polish
  • Legendary advertising campaigns
  • Teenagers are discovered as a target group
  • Color trend: red, pink & coral

Beautiful nails at school
Nail polish colors such as “Classroom Pink” and “Date Red” were developed especially for the newly discovered target group of young people.

Invention of modern nail modeling

The invention of modern nail modeling 🔬

In the West, Dr. Fred Slack as the inventor of the first nail modeling - he was a dentist from Wynnewood in Pennsylvania, USA. He discovered the possibilities of his dental materials quite by accident when he injured his fingernail one day in the dental laboratory. To repair the unpleasant injury, he came up with the idea of ​​attaching a template made of aluminum foil to his finger and using it as a base to form an artificial nail out of dental acrylic. This lengthening and stabilization protected the injured natural nail and allowed it to heal cleanly. Dr. Slack was so excited about how well it worked that he decided to delve deeper into the subject and perfect the nail modeling technique. On May 18, 1955, he filed a patent for his “Device for extending fingernails.”

  • Accidental discovery in the dental laboratory
  • Dental acrylic for artificial nails
  • Lengthen & Stabilize
  • Patent application in 1955

60s: Nail design of the Swinging Sixties 💃

The first contraceptive pill and many other innovations led to a change in the attitude towards life of young women from the 1960s onwards. The so-called Baby Boomers are self-confident, work outside of their own home, at least before marriage, and thus have a certain degree of financial independence - they develop a modern attitude to life: With legendary girl groups and singers of the new pop culture, these ladies are ringing in a new era a. Soft pastel tones such as pink, peach and beige, which are the forerunners of the classic nude tones, are becoming a trend and fit perfectly with the nude lips and dark Bambi eyes of the time. The style of the 60s is natural and feminine, loosening up the previous formal elegance of women's fashion and also paving the way for miniskirts. The style icons have never been younger in the past than in this one

Brigitte Bradot

Fun Fact: Sensual Nude
Beauties like actress Brigitte Bardot, with her naturally sensual look, became trendsetters for the new nude tones on their nails.

A change in trend colors was already announced at the end of the 1960s: colorful pop art colors became popular and created lively nuances on the nails. The end of the decade enables a wide variety of styles and colors when it comes to nail design - they mark the start of the individualization of fashion and nail design, according to the wearer's personal taste and style. While the popular teenage model Twiggy opts for very short nails, model Peggy Moffitt shows off eye-catching stiletto nails, while extravagant beauties like actress Barbara Streisand opt for well-groomed long nails in subtle tones.

  • Women are becoming more self-confident & independent
  • Nude is taking over fashion
  • Color trend: Pastel tones such as pink, peach & beige
  • Individualization of fashion

Fun Fact: New trendsetters 👩‍🎤
Singers, girl groups and models are overtaking Hollywood stars in fashion for the first time and setting trends with their nail designs.


70s: 🖤 Black is beautiful & the beginning of nail art

Dramatic, dark experiences such as the Vietnam War and the assassination of Martin Luther King influenced the post-war generation. A new idealism developed at the end of the 1960s, which, in addition to political and cultural phenomena, also boasted jeans and ethnic jewelry and became known as flower power. Glamorous, funky or subtle: In the liberal 70s, almost all colors were popular on the nails to suit your individual style - only the nude tones of the previous decade were out. Even the bright red on nails and lips is back!

Equal to beautiful nails
Feminism and equality offer women new opportunities and have well-known champions like Gloria Steinem, who was known for her sharp tongue and stylish trendy nail designs!

The trend towards ecological awareness is creating new, more environmentally friendly products in nail design and is helping nail polishes in brownish earthy shades become popular. Furthermore, as part of the “Black is beautiful” movement, the color palette is also being adapted to the needs of darker skin types.

Nail polish colors for dark skin
The first dark-skinned model, Beverly Johnson, graced the cover of Vogue in 1974 and the fashion magazine gave recommendations for the most beautiful beauty shades for dark skin.

The Beverly Hills-based manicurist Minnie Smith developed the first nail art for international stars like Cher. From 1976 onwards, she even passed on her years of experience and knowledge of perfect nail art to other nail designers in courses. In the disco era, staid employees during the day became dazzling disco queens at night - trendsetters were models like Jerry Hall and Lauren Hutton. Glitter, glitter and shimmering nail polish fit perfectly into the dark clubs with their colorful light displays. However, the classic red continued to be popular as a symbol of sexiness for advertising, record covers and much more.

  • Flower power
  • Liberal individual fashion
  • Nude is out
  • Color trend: red & earth nuances
  • New nail polish shades for dark skin types
  • Stars wear the first modern nail art
  • Disco look with glitter and shimmer is popular

Nail art is on the rise
New products and liberal fashion are bringing nail art into the center of attention - you can use it to create the individual looks you want!

🏁 Starting signal for nail modeling: artificial nails with acrylic

Dr. Slack and his company developed the first acrylic products for nail modeling with the aim of making them as easy to use as possible with the best results for the customer. His developments in the field of dental materials and cosmetic nail extensions went hand in hand. Complete product lines with polymers and light-activated urethanes ensured ever better nail models in the 1970s.

  • Acrylic development
  • Easy to use
  • Modern materials


80s: Sporty & Sexy – the nail design of the cult decade

At the transition from the 70s to the 80s, another classic was born that is still an integral part of every nail salon today: the French manicure. This look was first worn by the stars from Los Angeles and became a long-running favorite that infected the entire nail world because it could be worn perfectly with all events and outfits. Mullets, leggings with cuffs, neon colors and puffed sleeves are just some of the fashion innovations of this decade. In the 80s, the body became a status symbol and was styled in a variety of ways - being successful in your job, doing sports and beautifying your body were on the yuppies' agenda.

Nail art is popular
Nail art is becoming more and more popular and corresponding products, such as stripers and
Glitter stones are brought onto the market. Modern nail art has its roots in the western United States.

Long-running TV series, such as Dallas or Denver Clan, with perfectly styled beauties conquered domestic television. Fast-drying and ultra-covering nail polishes were developed in this decade to make regular nail painting as pleasant as possible for busy business women.

Nail design self-confidence
Between 1981 and 1989, sales of nail lengthening, strengthening and beautifying products increased by almost 50 percent! The study makers suspect the reason for this is the extremely increased product selection as well as the new self-confidence of women who wear eye-catching make-up and nail designs.

Strengthening and lengthening the nails was in demand and more and more cosmetic providers
produced so-called Press On Nails: pre-painted artificial nails that could be glued on and ensured length and flawless color on the nails. Fiberglass, acrylic and the first gel nails were developed to studio quality during this time. While hip hop and its style became popular beyond the borders of the Bronx, nail art opened a new chapter: the airbrush technique was born to conjure up graffiti-like mini works of art on the nails. Elements such as rhinestones, gemstones and motifs from hearts to stars to Garfield completed the nail designs.

  • Development of the French manicure
  • Body becomes a status symbol
  • New nail polishes: quick drying & ultra opaque
  • Lengthening and strengthening of nails is trendy
  • The first prefabricated artificial nails are becoming popular
  • Nail Art: Airbrush technique for nails is becoming popular

Fun fact: nails in gold 💛
As a counterpart to the gold chains and glittering earrings of male hip hoppers, many female stars in the genre opted for gold-look nail designs.

Start gel modeling

The bumpy start of gel nail modeling

At the beginning of the 1980s, the previously successful acrylic nails faced competition: American manufacturers began to develop gels with photoinitiators that were easy to apply and hardened under UV lights. But the beginnings of gel nails were bumpy because due to insufficient instructions and a lack of experience, important details were not clear - for example which gel had to harden under the UV lamp for how long and what thickness the modeling layer should have. In addition, the composition of the gels was not yet perfectly tailored to their use on the nail. The result was unpleasant feelings of tension and poor durability - especially with the DIY sets designed specifically for home use. Ultimately, gel nail modeling disappeared from the cosmetics range in the same decade.

  • UV gels are being developed
  • Photoinitiator systems
  • Poor instructions
  • Missing experience

90s: Fancy, Grunge & Glamour

The wave of immigration of enterprising Vietnamese, Koreans and Chinese to the United States created a boom in nail salons, which was accompanied by affordable prices and made the luxury of visiting a nail salon available to a wider audience. The professional manicure became a must-have - bright colors and long nails were the trend if the job allowed it. High-quality nail art was popularized by stars like Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliot. Improved recipes led to a revival of artificial nails, which were worn by style icon Victoria Beckham, among others. A particular look at the beginning of the '90s decade was the burgeoning grunge in the music scene, which was also reflected in nail design and made last week's chipping red nail polish a trend. Style and music should be independent, edgy and unpolished; unconventional stars like Kurt Cobain became trendsetters during this time. Grunge was followed by a phase of glamour: crisp vinyl dresses, pumps and neatly painted red nails were now popular! The film Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone, also made light baby blue popular among teenagers for the first time. The variety of colors and nail art has continued to develop over the years until today, so that for
A suitable variant can be found for every style.

Fun Fact: Criminal nail design 🦸‍♀️
Nail artist Bernadette Thompson created a "criminal" nail design when she decorated rapper Lil' Kim's nails with cut-up $50 bills - destroying currency is a criminal offense. Almost 20 years later, she recreated the legendary forbidden nail design at the request of the Museum of Modern Art as part of an exhibition on pop culture fashion.

  • Nail design for everyone
  • Stars set trends
  • Grunge makes unkempt nails trendy
  • Artificial nail methods are improving
  • Color trend: red & baby blue

Gel nails are taking over nail salons

Innovative gel nails are conquering nail salons

New and improved nail gel formulas came onto the market at the end of the 1990s. The formula of the gels and the wavelength and intensity of the light rays are now optimally coordinated, so that the innovative gel nails impress with brilliant colors, easy application and high durability. They quickly became very popular and at the turn of the millennium many further developments were added, such as the gel nail polish hybrids Shellac and UV nail polish.

  • Improved UV gel formulation
  • Matching the wavelength & intensity of the light
  • Brilliant colors
  • Easy application
  • High durability
  • Development of gel-nail polish hybrids



Sneakers, baggy pants and piercings are part of the fashion of the 2000s - many trends become
Taken from trends such as the skater or hip hop scene and popularized. Paris Hilton was considered a fashion icon and in the pop world Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were among the hottest stars. The trends from 2000 to 2010 were individual, versatile, revealing and trendy. The most popular fashion colors included turquoise and pink. Glitter elements as well as nail art and nail stickers were also very popular - fishnet patterns, animal prints or 3-D fruits find their way into nail design.

Fun Fact: Too colorful for the military 💣
The US military banned its female soldiers from wearing extreme nail colors and eye-catching nail art starting in 2002.

The nail design was now so widespread and popular that city dwellers became involved
We were able to have our nails done late into the night at appropriate nail salons
Airlines offered quick manicures to first class passengers on flights. Mobile nail design, which was already popular in the Belle Èpoche, is experiencing a revival. If you don't have the opportunity or time to go to the nail salon, you can now look forward to a nail design in your own four walls.

Fun Fact: Wrong color
In 2008, a bank robber in Boston was busted because of her unusual orange nail design.

The new nail modeling techniques and improved products provide unexpected results
Possibilities when it comes to nail art. With professional DIY sets and easy-to-use nail art accessories such as stencils, nail art is revolutionized.

Fun Fact: Nail salon in the music video
In 2008, the singer Kid Sister released the song "Pro Nails" , which also gained fame as a remix in collaboration with Kanye West - the entire video was shot in a nail salon and the colorful long nail art nails of the singer and the background dancers are in the Center of the video.

The Internet, which became more and more important in the 2000s, had a particular influence on nail design. Nail design trends were now able to spread extremely quickly and the artistic works of successful nail designers were spread through channels such as YouTube and Facebook or blogs. To this day, the Internet is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for nail designers for the perfect nail design.