Historians believe nail polish was created in China about 5,000 years ago, where it was reserved for use by the ruling class. Gold and silver were popular colors. Some of the first ingredients use in nail polish were beeswax, gum arabic, egg whites, natural dyes and gelatin.
After its adoption in China, the practice of nail painting spread across Europe and into Africa, where it was used extensively in Egypt. The first polished fingernails began to show up in painted portraits during the late 1600s. Nail polish and manicures continued to become more commonplace, and were widely accepted in France during the late 18th century. The first manicure establishments debuted in France in the early 1900s.