Nail polish originated in China about 5,000 years ago. From there, the use of nail polish spread to India, the Middle East and North Africa and became particularly popular in Egypt.
Early nail polishes were made from beeswax, vegetable dyes, egg whites, gelatin, gum Arabic and scented oils. They were originally used by the upper classes. Portraits featuring subjects wearing nail polish date back to the 17th century and the practice of using polish became widespread in the general population during the Victorian Era. Modern nail polish is made of film-forming polymers, organic solvents and dye and can be made in virtually any color.