The Chinese Invention
By: Roger Corporan
Before Christ (The Chinese)
In China, the custom of coloring one's nails can be traced as far back as 3000 BC. Different colors were used to signal a certain social status. Around 600 BC, the ruling class of the Chou Dynasty wore gold and silver nail polish as a sign of royal status. Later on, black and red were the colors exclusively reserved for royalty. Powder was also used very early on in eastern parts of Asia to lighten the color of the skin. The first type of powder used in China was derived from rice. The popularity of lighter colored skin has come and gone in waves in China. In the 1960s, the era of the Cultural Revolution, women tried to darken their skin in the sun as much as they could in order to get rid of the "capitalistic color."
Aristocrats Of The Chinese Dynasty
History also shows that during the shang Dynasty (circa 1600 BC) , Chinese aristocrats rubbed a tinted mixture of gum arabic , gelatin , beeswax, and egg whites onto their nails to color them crimson or ebony . Throughout the Chou Dynasty (circa 1100 BC) , gold and silver were the royal colors. During this early period in Chinese History, nail tinted was so closely tied to social status that commoners caught wearing a royal nail color faced a punishment of death. The shape of the mouth has also been accentuated from very early on. The very first lipsticks were made from beeswax over 1000 years ago to protect the delicate skin of the lips.