In This Article
The Surprising History Of Black Nail Polish
If you've ever wondered who invented black nail polish, you'll never guess the answer.
It wasn't some Hollywood starlet or fashion icon; it was actually a man! And not just any man, but a Hungarian physician named Joseph Frank. Dr. Frank came up with the idea while treating patients with a condition called chromonychia, which is characterized by black or blue spots on the nails.
While trying to find a way to disguise these spots, he hit upon the idea of painting the nails with a dark polish. And voila! A trend was born.
How Black Nail Polish Took Over
Surprisingly, black nail polish didn't really take off in North America until the mid-1960s, when it was popularized by actresses like Deborah Kerr and Audrey Hepburn.
In the early 1970s, fashion icons like David Bowie and Nancy Spungen began sporting the look by painting nails as part of an androgynous stage persona. Nail polish companies began releasing "punk" colors like black and green to appeal to this growing market.
In the 1980s, goth culture emerged from the British punk scene, and black became an even more popular color among self-proclaimed "darklings." Gothic fashion trends like ripped fishnet tights and lace gloves were all the rage, and black nails completed the look.
The Revival of Black Nail Polish in the 2000s
While black nail polish has been around for centuries, it didn't become truly mainstream until the early 2000s. In 2001, Essie released a shade called "Wicked," which quickly became one of the brand's best-selling colors. That was followed by OPI's " Lincoln Park After Dark" in 2005 and Chanel's "Vamp" in 2006.
Suddenly, everyone from celebs like Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian to everyday women was rocking glossy black nails. And while the trend has since ebbed and flowed (neon is currently having a moment), you can bet that black will always be chic—thanks to Dr. Frank!
If you love wearing black nail polish, you have a Hungarian physician named Joseph Frank to thank. That's right—a man invented one of the most popular beauty trends of all time! Wa while it took awhile for black nail polish to catch on in North America, these days it's more popular than ever. Who knows what trends we'll be loving in another 100 years?