We continue to visit different cultures to find out more about the origins of nail art.

History of Nail Art – Part Two


Nail Art History begins like this: Around 500 B.B. in Greece they developed expertise in hairstyling. Perfumes and cosmetics were used in very important religious ceremonies, medicine and for personal care. They developed a professional ability for hair, skin and nail care.

Red was considered a battle color in those days so it was common for warrior to use the color red on their nails and lips. These warriors would apply it when preparing to fight! Greek women would use a very bright red material called “ground cinnabar” on their lips and also on their faces (cheeks). Many of the processes and some of the ingredients used by the ancient Greeks for nail care and cosmetology are still being used in the modern age.

THE ROMANS ((250-175 B.C.)

For Romans, like many other cultures, hair color, nail color could represent and often did, status. The women would often use a combination of lead (colored in white) and a chalk substance to enhance the features of their faces. Red such as in other cultures often had an elevated meaning. In the case of the Romans, red color in the hair indicated the status of a noblewoman. If you were lower class folk, or really poor folk, which was often the same thing. Your hair was likely to be black. If you were someone of a status similar to that of today’s middle-class, than your hair color was often blonde. Abd because products like Revlon nail polish wasn’t invented until about 1930 in the United States, the nobility of the time often used pigs fat and blood to color their nails.

THE MIDDLE AGES (A.D. 400-1450)

Throughout the Middle Ages, The Renaissance and The Victorian ages, people continued to enhance and beautify themselves. Historians have located many artifacts from the middle ages that demonstrate that the privileged of the time wore large, impressive head pieces and used makeup on their faces. There are some scholars who report that they did not wear anything on their eyes or nails.

THE RENAISSANCE (A.D. 1450-1600)

The Renaissance was considered a time of rebirth and awakening. Man had grown out of the dark ages and was now a free and modern man (and when we say man we mean mankind to include all women as well). So it is during this time that man’s awakening saw men as well as women using cosmetics and fragrances. Men and women alike wore much improved, fancy clothing. Rich people of the time did not get gaudy with their cosmetics but they did get their nails cleaned and manicured regularly.

THE VICTORIAN AGE (A.D. 1835-1900)

The team here at Sugar Nails really like some of what we heard from the beautification rituals of this period. When we hear that the women of the time were taking care of their skin with eggs, milk & honey, it actually sounds really nice. People of the time also used other ingredients like fruits & vegetables but where is gets kind of weird is when we hear that instead of putting stains on their lips or cheeks, they would pinch their cheeks and bite their lips.


OUR SERVICES: nail treatments, acrylic nails, ombre nails, glamour nails, manicure, french manicure, coffin nails, gel nails, christmas nails, halloween nails, cuticle services, summer nails, diamond nails, bling nails, angel nails, fall nails, valentine’s nails, beauty nails, coffin acrylic nails, pink and white manicure, hot oil manicure, fill-ins + more.

TOWNS CLOSE BY: New Bedford MA, Fairhaven MA, Dartmouth MA, Marion MA, Fall River MA, Acushnet MA, Freetown MA, Mattapoisett MA, Rochester MA, Somerset MA, Swansea MA, Wareham MA, Westport MA.