The exact origin of nail treatments is unclear, since it appears to have originated in different parts of the world around the same time. In ancient Egypt, from 5000 B. C. to 3000 B. C. , women would dye their nails with henna to indicate social status and seductiveness. Women of the lower class wore pastel and neutral shades, while the upper classes wore deep, bright shades. In Babylonia, 3200 B. C. , men, not women, painted their nails with black and green kohl, an ancient cosmetic. To prepare for war, warriors of Babylon spent hours having their nails prepared, hair curled and had other similar beauty treatments. As in ancient Egypt, nail color indicated one's status, black for noblemen and green for the common man. Around the same time, 3000 B. C. , the first nail polish originated in ancient China. It was made from beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes, and gum arabic. Chinese dipped their nails in this mixture for several hours or left it on to dry. Colors ranged from pink to red, depending on the mixture of the ingredients. During the Zhou Dynasty, 600 B. C. , royalty used this simple nail polish with gold and silver dust on their nails to show their social status.
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