The Color of Beauty

Now coming in such colors as “spin the bottle,” “wicked,” “marshmallow,” and “XOXO”; nail polish was used by several ancient cultures for a myriad of social purposes.

In early Babylon, men wore nail polish into battle to strike fear into the heart of their enemies; while around the same time, Chinese women were wearing nail polish to indicate status and prestige, depending on the color. It has been said that Cleopatra was the first in Egypt to dye just her fingernails, rather than her full hand – the Queen always chose a deep red. In Peru, the Inca painted eagles on their fingernails with various dyes.

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By Lelê Breveglieri ( [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons