The Evolution of Our Modern Nail Art Design

polishing your nails

 Modern Nail Art Design


Long before our modern day nail polish became part of the fashion world our ancestors were using nail art as a status symbol. The earliest records of enamel being used on the fingers, is the clear substance the Chinese applied on their nails, at around 3,000 BC, which after hours of drying left a delicate pink finish on each nail. In India, a dye from the Henna plant was used to colour and add designs to the nails, thus showing where you stood in your social status. Egyptians also used nail art to identify social class, with the deep shades of red available exclusively for the high class ladies and the paler shades for those of the lower class. The Incas were known for adding painted images on the nails as a decorative feature, showing the first record of nail art.

 Modern Nail Art Design


At the beginning of the 19th century, Europeans popularised modern manicures, using orange wood sticks, and opening the doors for salons to pop up across Europe and America. When the bright colour range of the newly invented automobile entered the market, the demand for similar colours for the nails inspired a revolution in nail art design. Lead by the first nail enamel brand name, Revlon, who invented the use of pigments in nail enamel instead of the previously used dyes, a new phase of nail art as a fashion statement, was launched for the masses.


This gave rise to a new nail art industry which has evolved to become today’s modern symbol of nail art being used to communicate between subcultures. New trends have now emerged, that give creative and artistic life to the world of fashion, encouraging experimentation with symbols and crystals, air brushing, acrylic and gel nail enhancements and much more. One of the leaders in the nail art industry, who produces multiple collections of amazing shades, and pushes the boundaries of nail art by inventing new textures for nail polish, is OPI.


OPI Nails is a family-owned business best known for its salon-brand polish. They have only recently begun introducing some of its core colours to mass retailers. OPI’s seasonal collections for fall, Holiday, Spring, and Summer include 12 new polishes in each collection. The creative process for a new collection starts with developing the unusual, quirky names OPI is best known for. These names are coined by a group of six people from marketing, purchasing and customer service, who can take up to eight hours of brainstorming to come up with the 12 new names for a collection. The ingredients are then chosen, and the shades developed to get the colour to live up to their unique names. OPI is constantly including new colours in their range, so never fear; you will always have plenty of shades to choose from.


In-between the seasonal collections, OPI frequently adds other unique collections such as tie-ins to the seasonal collections, geographically themed collections and tie-ups with celebrities such as Katy Perry, Selena Gomez and Mariah Carey, who have lent their names and faces to the brand. OPI also creates exclusive collections or single polishes for salons or beauty stores on occasion and has a range of offshoot polish brands such as Nicole by OPI, Sephora by OPI, and the discontinued Pawlish by OPI. The OPI line also offers manicure and pedicure supplies, such as lotions, tools, and treatments; and a limited lip cosmetics line.


In the nail fashion world new means of application, texture and shades, are constantly being invented to keep up with the demands of users worldwide. New concepts such as nail wraps, which are pre-printed designs from a digital printer, allows for complex patterns and reflective metallic finishes for the nails that are not possible through traditional methods.. They are applied with heat activation that can be applied in a fraction of the time, protecting the nails from scratches without chipping like traditional products. They can last for over 1 month and are truly the latest breakthrough in nail art. What nail art eventually evolves into is an unknown mystery, but with the combination of science and imagination, it is a creative process we can all look forward too.

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