Most people take nail polish for granted as a great way to match an outfit or to make a fashion statement, but it actually has a colorful history and chemistry.
Way back in 3000 B.C., the Chinese were the real trendsetters in nail polish, creating formulations of beeswax, gum Arabic, gelatin, egg whites, and flowers for color and fragrance. In more recent times, the idea of the modern nail polish formula stemmed from automotive paint jobs.
The main ingredient in nail lacquers is nitrocellulose, which is made of organic substances like plant fibers and used to form a smooth film on the coat of your nail polish. It is technically a flammable substance; in fact, it is the same explosive stuff that's in TNT, and it was used in gunpowder and blast mining in the 1800s. Talk about some bomb nail polish! Have no fear, though; the dried nitrocellulose on your nails doesn’t pose a threat unless you are dipping your fingers in flames for extended periods of time (in which case, I would say, girl, your nails are ON FIRE). Nowadays, nitrocellulose makes up everyday items like plastic ping pong balls.
Nitrocellulose is dissolved in ethyl acetate, which is responsible for the infamous nail polish smell. This chemical is necessary because it allows the polish to spread on your nails in a liquid form. After the ethyl acetate evaporates, you are left with the solid hardened coat of nitrocellulose. Ethyl acetate is also in nail polish remover, which essentially re-dissolves the nitrocellulose so that you can wipe the coat off.
Other chemicals in nail polish usually include adherent resins for a long-lasting manicure, plasticizers that make the polish flexible and chip-resistant, and color dyes for just the right hue. For that shiny sheen, “pearl essence” is added, which is made up of ground iridescent fish scales, or alternatively, minerals.
So the next time someone asks you, “I love your nails! What did you use?” you can respond coolly with “Gunpowder and ground-up fish scales.” Then proceed to drop the mic and walk away. Nailed it.
Let’s get on with the outfits for this week.
This outfit is perfect for a coffee run and a girls’ day out. Wear a simple white dress that boasts a cool mesh back. Cuff the sleeves on an oversized dark blush blazer to gracefully introduce those darker fall tones into your wardrobe. Then slip on these lace-up heels, a hybrid between strappy summer sandals and a favorite fall staple: booties. Wear a small quilted crossbody and some classy arm candy to complement the purse’s golden chain strap. Swipe on your muted pink polish before you head out the door!
For the girl on the go, this look is ideal for those days when you’re running errands all around the city. It features this silky blue-charcoal duster coat, which adds a little bit of warmth for colder days. Under the coat is a marled ribbed crop top, paired with ripped white skinny jeans for a more casual vibe. The matching nail color is a stormy blue-gray hue that is irresistibly modern and chic. The outfit is completed with a pair of classic sneakers and a leather backpack to store all your things for the day.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Of course, I can’t leave out an outfit that features the colors of the beautiful fall foliage. Wear this cream turtleneck sweater tucked into a suede skirt for a classic, luxurious look. Break out the rust-colored booties that you’ve been waiting all summer to wear, and carry this rich burgundy satchel purse for your phone and keys. Then put on layered delicate gold lariat necklaces and nail polish in a burnt sienna hue, and you’ll be all set for a walk in the park to take in the view of the falling leaves.
What is your favorite fall nail polish?
Is autumn also your favorite season? What are you most excited about this season? Let me know in the comments below!