Red Nail Polish

I have this memory of my mother from when I was a little girl. I’m not sure how old I was exactly, but it goes a little something like this. I remember asking her why she never painted her nails and her reaction being a bit surprised. Surprised that I was five years old and thinking about nail polish maybe, I’m not sure; apparently I was born this way. But I remember telling her that she should start painting her nails because it was pretty. Then one day, I’m assuming not long after that conversation, she came home to flash before me her freshly painted red fingertips and I thought it was the ABSOLUTE COOLEST thing on the planet that she’d ever done.

It was just a onetime deal because her nails chip pretty much immediately no matter what (a gene I inherited too, thanks a lot Mom) but its beauty clearly made a lasting impression on me if I’m remembering it 18 years later. It has me thinking—what has marked red as the most classic color for nail polish? Other than the obvious color traits of boldness and sex appeal, this beauty staple has quite an interesting history.

Although its formula has evolved over time, the idea of nail polish has been around since B.C.  The rulers of ancient Chinese Dynasties wore polish on their nails to represent status, as did the ancient Egyptians. In Egypt it was believed the strongest shades of red held the most power for its wearers. Jumping ahead, we can credit the red nail lacquer we wear today to the scientific breakthroughs used to make car paint, who knew?


Marilyn Monroe photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt in 1953.


The gorgeous Lana Del Rey via Pinterest. I love her.

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Lauren Conrad in everyday looks topped with red polish.

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Selena Gomez at the 2013 EPSY Awards.

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Victoria Beckham with red hands and feet in the front row at the Matthew Williamson Spring 2007 fashion show.