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A history of nail art (and what could be next)

A history of nail art (and what could be next)

The history of nail art dates back to as early as 3000 B.C. when the ancient Egyptians were known for decorating their nails with henna. Not only did they adorn their hands and feet, but would also add designs and pictures of nature such as flowers, animals, and plants. It's fair to say that things have moved on somewhat in the last 5,000 years or so. But the principles remain the same. People want to adorn their bodies and make their nails more vibrant and colourful. In this piece, we'll explore the history of nail art from the ancient world to the modern-day world of acrylics and gel polish.

For centuries, the ancient Egyptians have cherished henna as more than just a beautiful decoration. Considered to be a powerful natural supplement, they believed that it could help stimulate healthy hair and nail growth in addition to its many medicinal benefits. Its vibrant colours quickly became popular among dancers and royalty who used it to adorn their hands with elaborate designs for long-lasting elegance. The use of henna also spread to the Middle East and India, where it remains popular to this day.


Meanwhile, in China, the growing (and painting) of nails were considered to be a symbol of wealth and status. As many of us will know if nails are too long manual tasks can become more tricky to perform. So the wealthy class would keep their nails shorter and paint their vivid colours to show off their status.
With the invention of nail polish in the 16th century, trends quickly evolved to include not just colour but ornate patterns as well. In France during this period, women would often add elaborate designs featuring swirls and other abstract shapes to their nails, while in 19th-century Britain they went for more subtle designs, often preferring to use plain colours such as pinks and yellows.

By the early 20th century, women all over the world had embraced nail art as an accessible way of expressing their individual styles. Decorative techniques included adding gems and other small decorative items to their nails, as well as using materials like glitter, foil and ribbons.

The 1920s and '30s saw the spread of mass-market nail lacquers to women, thanks to revolutionary brands like Cutex and Revlon. Though ironically enough, what was once a market leader in terms of supplying colour, Cutex is now a nail polish removal product.

The next big innovation in the market was by a brand called Shellac. This form of nail varnish was an early form of gel polish, and it quickly gained a cult following among fashion-forward women.
Fast forward to the modern day and, the nail industry in the UK makes up a considerable proportion of the £30bn beauty industry and globally the nail industry is set to increase by 7% each year over the next decade. But what about nail trends? Let's examine where the industry could go over the next few years.

This year across the board in fashion a key trend to watch is maximalism. And what better way to demonstrate this trend than with nails? Glitterbels offers some truly unique nail art products, like our range of acrylic nail powders. This product has the ability to instantly transform your nails into a kaleidoscope of colours and textures. Perfect for the maximalist look.

So what else do we think could happen in the world of the nail industry in the years to come? Well, the trend of nail art inspired by culture and fashion seems to be something that is here to stay. Nail art designs such as those inspired by African wax prints or vintage floral patterns will continue to be popular.

Also, people are increasingly looking for ways to express their individual styles and personality through their nails. Trends like chrome or metallic nails, holographic nails or even glow-in-the-dark nails will be popular.

Recent History Of Nail Products

Acrylic nails appeared on the market in the 1970s and have grown in popularity over the years. From press-on nails to nail wraps, trends are continuing to evolve. Nail art pens appeared on the market in 2010 and these were soon followed by a wave of new products including adhesive strips, glitter gels and 3D stickers. Many of these products can be found in the Glitterbels range to this day.

The product which seems to be replacing acrylics when used to produce nail art is gel nails. Gel polish provides a longer-lasting finish, is easy to apply and requires minimal effort to remove. It’s no wonder that this product has become so popular in recent years. Glitterbels also offer an extensive range of gel polishes which are perfect for creating a foundation for stunning nail art designs.

From our gel polishes and glitter powders – we have everything you need to create stunningly vibrant and unique looks both now and in the future.

Here at Glitterbels we know being a successful nail tech about experimenting with different products and techniques to create something which celebrates your client's individual style. We also know that nail art is becoming more and more popular as people want to push the envelope in terms of what's cool today, and tomorrow.