The chemistry of nail polish has changed over the years. Before nitrocellulose (a main ingredient used in today's nail polishes) was introduced, powder or cream was applied to the nails to give them a natural whitish color. Nail polishes have now evolved to include many different chemicals. Nail polish is perhaps the most common nail cosmetic.
It was introduced in the 1920s when nitrocellulose was developed as a military explosive. Few American plants manufacture nail polish because of the explosive process of creating nitrocellulose from cellulose fiber, wood pulp and nitric acid. A quick internet search told me that nail polish originated in China and dates back to 3000 BC. C.
Apparently, the first nail polishes were made from a mixture that included beeswax, egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes and gum arabic. In Egypt, members of high society painted their nails reddish brown with henna. In the 9th century, nails were dyed with perfumed oils and polished or polished. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, people polished their nails with tinted powders and pastes and polished them until they shone.