Nails and nail polish are more than just a way to express your style and personality. They are also fascinating subjects that reveal a lot about history, culture, science, and health. Here are 20 fun facts that you probably didn’t know about your nails and nail polish.
1. The word “nail” comes from the Latin word “unguis”, which means “claw” or “hoof”.
2. Nails are made of a protein called keratin, which is also found in hair, skin, and animal horns.
3. Nails grow at an average rate of 0.1 mm per day, which means it takes about 4 to 6 months for a fingernail to grow from the base to the tip.
4. The shape and size of your nails are determined by your genes, but they can also be influenced by environmental factors, such as diet, climate, and injury.
5. The color and texture of your nails can indicate your health condition. For example, yellow nails can be a sign of fungal infection, diabetes, or liver disease, while white spots can be caused by trauma, zinc deficiency, or allergic reaction.
6. The cuticle is the thin layer of skin that protects the nail matrix, which is the part of the nail where new cells are produced. The cuticle should not be cut or pushed back, as it can lead to infection and damage the nail growth.
7. The lunula is the crescent-shaped white area at the base of the nail. It is actually the visible part of the nail matrix, and it reflects the blood flow and oxygen level in the nail bed.
8. The nail plate is the hard and flat part of the nail that covers the nail bed. It is composed of several layers of dead keratin cells that are tightly packed together.
9. The nail bed is the soft tissue under the nail plate that contains blood vessels and nerves. It provides nourishment and sensation to the nail.
10. The hyponychium is the skin that attaches the nail plate to the fingertip. It prevents dirt and bacteria from entering the nail bed.
11. Nail polish has a long history that dates back to 3000 BCE, when the ancient Babylonians painted their nails with a solid gold manicure set before going to war.
12. The ancient Chinese used a mixture of beeswax, gelatin, egg whites, and vegetable dyes to create nail polish in different colors, such as red, black, gold, and silver.
13. The ancient Egyptians used nail polish to signify social status, with the lower classes wearing nude or light colors, and the upper classes wearing red shades. Queen Nefertiti and Cleopatra were known for their ruby-colored nails.
14. The modern nail polish was developed in the 1920s by a French makeup artist named Michelle Menard, who was inspired by the enamel used for car paint. She worked for a company called Charles Revson, which later became Revlon.
15. The French manicure, which is a style of painting the tips of the nails white and the rest of the nails pink or beige, was invented in 1975 by Jeff Pink, the founder of Orly. He created it for Hollywood actresses who needed a versatile look that matched different outfits.
16. The most expensive nail polish in the world is Azature’s Black Diamond Nail Polish, which costs $250,000 per bottle. It is made with black diamonds that are worth 267 carats.
17. The world’s longest fingernails belong to Diana Amstrong, who has not cut her nails since 1997. Her nails measure 42 feet and 10.4 inches, and it takes her 5 hours and more than a full bottle of nail polish to paint them.
18. The first artificial nails were invented in 1934 by a dentist named Maxwell Lappe, who created a product called Nu Nails for nail biters. The first modern acrylic nails were also developed by a dentist named Fred Slack.
19. Neon nail polish is technically illegal in the US, because some of the colorants used in it have not been approved by the FDA. However, some brands have found ways to create neon shades with FDA-approved ingredients.
20. The main ingredient in regular nail polish is nitrocellulose, which is also known as guncotton. It is made from plant fiber and the same substance that makes TNT explode.