Nail art takes a simple manicure and adds various polish colors, beads, flowers, decals, even real gems in some cases, all to make a fashion statement. The finished product can be a simple manicure with contrasting polka dots or an elaborate creation where each fingernail sports its own textured design.
The painting of nails goes back to ancient Babylonia, roughly 3200 BCE, where it was the men that colored their nails, along with their lips. High-born men wore black nail polish, while those in the middle class wore green. In Egypt, Queen Nefertiti painted her nails a bold red. Women of a lower rank were limited to pastels.
During the 1950s, the first artificial nail was created, which was the beginning of nail art. As of April 2015, artificial nails are usually made of acrylic, fiberglass or silk wraps. Often they are enhanced by multiple coats of shellac, glitters, frosts, glued-on embellishments and hand-painted designs.
Seasonal nail art is also in. For Christmas, each nail turns into a miniature canvas filled with snowmen, snowflakes or other holiday designs. During Easter, each nail becomes a colorful Easter egg or perhaps the backdrop for a spring flower.
One of the most subtle forms of nail art is the French nail, which originated in Paris. The nail is painted a clear or neutral shade. The tips are painted white. The idea is to make the nails look natural, but more refined. French manicures are often favored for weddings and other formal occasions.