Why do we paint our nails?


I’m taking advantage of the fact that my nail polish is drying up right now while I type this post. While I was doing such a ritual for most women, it suddenly occurred to me that it’s a bit… silly?

Why do we paint our nails? the colors may vary, but the lasting effect fades.

Researching the internet, I found the answer in saint Wikipedia:

Nail polish originated in China, dating back to 3000 BC. Around 600 BC during the Zhou Dynasty, the royal house preferred for the colors gold and silver.However, it would eventually transition to red and black. During the Ming Dynasty, nail polish was often made from a mixture including beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes, and gum Arabic.

In Egypt, the lower classes would wear pale colors and the high society red.

By the turn of the 9th century, nails were tinted with scented red oils, and polished or buffed. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, people pursued a polished rather than painted look by massaging tinted powders and creams into their nails, then buffing them shiny. One such polishing product sold around this time was Graf’s Hyglo nail polish paste. After the creation of automobile paint, Cutex produced the first modern nail polish in 1917. Later the Charles Revson Company (later Revlon) produced their first nail polish in 1932.

Once nail polish was refined, it was often used in the place of gloves to cover up the grime underneath finger and toe nails

Why do we paint our nails now? I’m sure there are some who do it to cover up the grime, too, but what about the rest of us?

Personally speaking, I paint my nails because they process is destressing. My ritual consists on turning great music on (right now, Thick as Thieves by Kasabian is playing), picking a color I’m keen to use, and then getting to business. While I paint my nails, I know that I won’t be asked to do anything else (because my hands would be useless, therefore I wouldn’t be able to help my mom with the laundry or setting up the table, for example).

What I like about having my nails painted is the feeling of “hand-confidence”. Usually, my hands are ugly (well, I think most hands -and feet- are ugly) but when my nails are full of color, things change. At least that’s what I think.

Why do you paint your nails? Is this a silly post?


One thought on “Why do we paint our nails?

  1. Sorry if this is a really late reply!

    I guess I paint my nails because to me, they look prettier – whenever my nails have some sort of colour on them (hot pink and red are my favourites), I love moving them around and kind of flashing the colour to everyone. Sometimes I get compliments, which is nice, but mostly I do it for myself. It’s just a very feminine thing and makes me feel more lady-like and even sexy (especially with red!), a bit like wearing a pair of heels or, for me, statement jewelry (I love how it sparkles and feels – especially earrings – and draws attention!).

    I also paint my nails in a similar way, with just my polish and bottom/top coats near me and nothing else to distract me. It relieves stress for me too, but I also find it fun and kind of exciting, in a weird way. It’s nice to pretty yourself up, I guess.

    …This was harder to explain than I thought!

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