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Gel Nail Manicures

Nothing says summer like a gel manicure in a vibrant colour. From Ancient Babylonia and Cleopatra to Queen Elizabeth I and the car industry, we take a look at where the gel nail manicure originated from.

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Getting a gel manicure in a salon is a trend that has grown in popularity in recent years, with the number of people jumping aboard increasing by 35% in a two year period alone. An amazing 96% of women say they feel better about themselves when they’ve had their nails done. The desire for a professional finish using good quality ingredients is key in the gel manicure revolution.

The word manicure is derived from the Latin words ‘manus’ (‘hand’) and ‘cura’ (‘care’). Incredibly, the first manicure set to be discovered dates back to Ancient Babylonia, as long ago as 3500 B.C. This first manicure kit was made from solid gold, no less.

The evolution of the manicure has travelled the globe since that impressive starting point in history. In Ancient Egypt, Cleopatra rubbed oil, incense and herbs into her hands, then stained her nails with henna. During this era, the more vibrant the henna colour, the wealthier you were said to be. Over in China during the Ming Dynasty, royalty painted their nails with a mixture of egg white, wax and dyes derived from vegetables. In the UK, Queen Elizabeth I was one of the first people to set the trend of having perfectly manicured nails, which became a symbol of wealth across Europe.

Nail polish really started to take off from the 1920s, when paints developed for the car industry were used in other industries. Using high gloss paints in red or pink became all the rage as makeup brands such as Revlon became established. Acrylic nail salons started to pop up in the 1940s as many film actresses – who always had perfectly polished nails – became style icons. In the 1980s and 90s, experimentation with a cacophony of colours and wacky designs was the trend. Then in the 2000s, the gel manicure was born.

Gel nail polish has subsequently become the most popular type of polish on the market. The durability of gel polish brands such as Jessica means that newly painted nails have extra protection from chipping. Gel polish is also less likely to peel or crack, while a high gloss, professional look is maintained. Gel polish is better for the health of nails than other types of polish too.

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