Nail art is a creative way to paint, decorate, enhance, and embellish the nails. It is a type of artwork that can be done on fingernails and toenails, often (but not necessarily) after manicures or pedicures. A manicure or pedicure is a beauty treatment that trims, shapes, and polishes the nail.
Call it body painting or simply another branch of cosmetics; nail art is the latest example of personal body art to hit the beauty salons and catwalks. Like face painting, it's another instance of how a woman gets to enjoy art in her everyday life. Nail art is yet another of those types of art that sound modern but actually dates back to the ancient art of early civilizations (c.3000 BCE). Today, due to the range of commercial nail varnishes, gels, nail-extensions, nail dotters and strippers and French manicure treatments, nail art is big business. And since nails grow at an average rate of 3mm (0.12 inches) a month (faster in hot weather), they need regular treatment.
Nail art is also very personal, unlike most other new forms of postmodernist art which are aimed at the public. Whatever its niche, it's becoming hugely popular: there is even a Museum of Nail Art, called Nailpolis, to encourage nail artists and designers to share their designs.