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20 Facts About Nails & Nail Polish That You Probably Didn’t Know

Last Updated: July 17, 2023

Who doesn’t love learning something new about their favorite things?

If you love nails as much as we do, check out the following facts about nails and nail polish, some of which might surprise you. 

  • In 2020, the worldwide nail polish market was worth $10,900 million (source).
  • The nail polish market is expected to reach $19,410 million by 2026, growing at a rate of 8.5% (source).
  • The world’s longest fingernails measure 42 feet and 10.4 inches, belonging to Diana Amstrong, who hasn’t cut her nails since 1997. It takes 5 hours and more than a full bottle of nail polish to paint her nails. (source).  
  • Fingernails grow 3.46 mm per month on average (source).
  • Toenails grow at half the rate of fingernails, on average (around 1.62 mm per month) source
  • Nail coloring dates back to 3000 BCE in China (source).
  • Nails grow faster during the summertime and warmer weather (source). 
  • The most expensive nail polish costs $250,000 and contains 267 carats of black diamond, beating the previous record-holding Gold Rush couture polish that cost $130,000. (source)
  • An opened bottle of nail polish lasts around 2 years, but an unopened bottle lasts 5 to 8 years (source).

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Photo by Henry & Co. on Unsplash
  • Researchers in this study discovered that taking 2.5 milligrams of the supplement biotin every day reduced nail breakage and improved overall nail health.
  • Your nails stop growing when you die (source). 
  • Men’s nails grow faster than women’s nails, except for during pregnancy (source).
  • Revlon was the first nail polish brand back in 1932, with a single nail enamel product (source)
  • Acrylic nails were invented by a dentist in 1954 after breaking a fingernail at work (source).
  • In 1878, Mary E. Cobb opened the first nail salon in Manhattan after studying nail care in France – she charged $1.25 for a manicure. (source)
  • In 2016, there were over 4,000 nail salons in NYC alone (source).
  • Nail art began in the 1970s, but became more popular in 1981 when Calgel was invented (this preserves nail polish for 2+ weeks) (source).
  • The first nail clippers were patented in 1875 by an inventor named Valentine Fogerty.
  • Ancient Chinese would stain their nails with gum arabic, gelatin, beeswax, vegetable dyes, and egg (source). 
  • In ancient China, nail colors reflected social class. Chou dynasty royals would wear gold and silver and subsequent royals wore black or red. The lower classes were not allowed to wear bright colors on their nails. (source)

We hope you learned at least one new thing from our list of fun facts about nails. Store some of these in your brain next time you find yourself in a nail-focused conversation; everyone loves learning unique new facts.

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