The tips of fingers and toes haven’t been forgotten in humanity’s quest to artfully adorn every square inch of the human body. Over 5,000 years ago, Babylonians went into battle with a black manicure using lead-based kohl. But it was the flappers of the Roaring Twenties who ushered in the modern cosmetics industry, bringing nail polish along for the ride. Millions of young women were flocking to movie houses and witnessed stars like Joan Crawford and Clara Bow sporting nail polish as part of their iconic fashions. French makeup artist Michelle Ménard, working with what is now Revlon, was influenced by enamel car paint when developing nail lacquer, and they established a nail polish factory. Nitrocellulose is the main ingredient in nail polish. It creates a hard fi lm on the nail surface that holds the other ingredients together. Too brittle by itself, resins and plasticizers are added to waterproof the polish and add flexibility. The desired pigment, which is held together with solvents, combines with the other ingredients in a mill to ensure even distribution.

michael isenbek

Michael Isenbek, Associate Editor, dabbles in both fiction and nonfiction writing, coordinates the Pulse event listings and writes the text for "Zoom," among other editorial tasks. He has a Master's Degree in Liberal Studies and a Bachelor's Degree in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Journalism from SUNY Empire State College.