The History of Nail Technicians

ts-78254411The art of nail care extends thousands of years back. For over 5,000 years, women and men have maintained well-kept nails with the help of nail technicians. Having well-manicured nails shows that a person takes care of himself or herself.

In 3,000 B.C., the nail polish color one chose actually reflected social status in China. Royalty actually wore red and black nail polish to show their power and authority.

Recorded historical documents show that the first salons with nail technicians first opened in the mid-1800s. The “Sitts Method” becomes popular, and women of all income levels begin to take care of their nails and cuticles. The Barber Supply of America also played a large role in promoting the work of nail technicians in the early 1900s. In 1904, this organization held its first convention at the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. At this convention, distributors and manicurists were able to meet and create business relationships. After this meet and greet, the work of nail technicians became increasingly popular.

The roaring 1920s also helped the art of nail care to broaden in America and Europe. During the roaring 1920s, screen stars like Fay Wray and Bette Davis had immaculate, beautiful looks that women everywhere tried to recreate. Part of this look was having well-manicured nails that were simple and chic. Nail technicians were able to start using some of the innovations of the time period to help women achieve this look. These innovations included the Simplex Manicuring Kit. This kit included nail polish, cuticle remover, nail whitener, an orange stick, and an emery board. This home kit opened the doors for women who aspired to become nail technicians. It gave women the opportunity to practice their skills at home before becoming licensed to become nail technicians.

ts-86494424In 1924, the Association of Accredited Cosmetology Schools was created. This organization set forth some of the standards that manicurists and nail technicians still adhere to today. The non-profit organization is still alive today and helps educate cosmetologists all around the world. In the mid-1920s, the popular style for women was the “moon manicure.” This type of manicure left the crescent of the nail unpolished. The rest of the nail was typically painted with red polish.

The early 1970s are when acrylic nails first took off. During this time period, women from all around the United States traveled to Chicago to take one of the acrylic nail classes taught by Phyllis Monier. Only 10 students are allowed to take each class. The classes teach women how to work with acrylic powder and liquid.

After acrylic nails became popular for wealthy women during the 1970s, there are over 80,000 nail technicians working in the United States in the 1980s.

Now, there continues to be about 76,000 licensed nail technicians in the United States. The field continues to follow the latest manicure trends of celebrities and help ordinary women achieve these styles in their everyday appearance.