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Nail Polish

One of the hallmarks of a glamorous woman is the color of her nails. Nail polish has long been a tell-tale sign of a woman who cares about her looks and goes to the limit to look her best and most beautiful.

The practice of applying nail polish on the fingernails can be traced back to ancient times. Japanese and Italian people have notably been applying color to the fingernails since around 3000 B.C. The Chinese people also used a combination of egg whites, gum arabic, beeswax and gelatin to get a colored lacquer which they used as nail polish. The Egyptian people used nail polish of reddish-brown color derived from henna plants. Today, this practice continues with people making intricate designs on their hands using henna dyes. The practice is currently called Henna.

Nail polish has also identified the social status of the person wearing them. In ancient times, only the wealthy could afford the extravagance of using nail polish. In China, the Chinese royalty often favored silver and gold nail polish. In ancient Egypt, ruby red and other shades of red were specifically favored by members of the Egyptian royalty. Those who were of lower rank were allowed only pale colors of nail polish.

Modern nail polish differs greatly from their ancient counter parts. Most modern nail polish are composed of nitrocellulose which is dissolved in a solvent and is colored with various pigments or, in the case of clear coat nail polish, left clear. There is also a movement among the makers of nail polish to remove the toxic ingredients included in modern nail polish formulations. These toxic ingredients can include substances such as phthalates, formaldehyde and toluene. Dibutyl Phthalate in particular has been found to have dangerous side effects in lab animal testing and has been phased out by several makers in 2006.

In the fashion world, nail polish is an ever-present styling and accessorizing detail. It is hard to spot any celebrity who does not have her hand and feet applied with nail polish, except in times when the natural look is in vogue. Traditionally, nail polish colors are worn in the usual shades of the color red such as bright red, pink and other lighter colors. However, many women also love to dare themselves into using other unconventional colors such as violet, yellow and green. During the 1990s, nail polish colored dark red became widely used. This practice even influenced lipstick colors which soon sported darker colors from dark red to almost black hues.