How Did Humans Cut Their Nails in Ancient Times?

Have you ever wondered how humans maintained their nails in ancient times? We have come a long way from the days of using crude tools to cut our nails. In this article, we will explore the various methods used by ancient civilizations to groom their nails.

Early Nail Grooming Techniques

The earliest recorded evidence of nail grooming dates back to 3200 BC in Egypt. The people of that time used ivory, bone, and gold tools to trim their nails. They would also use pumice stones to file and shape their nails.

Ancient China

In ancient China, nail grooming was considered an important part of personal hygiene. During the Zhou Dynasty (1045-256 BC), people would use a type of knife called ‘Yezi Dao’ to cut their nails. This knife was made from bronze or iron and had a curved blade with a sharp point at one end.

Ancient Greece and Rome

In ancient Greece and Rome, nail grooming was a status symbol. It was common for the wealthy to have manicurists who would tend to their nails regularly. They would use small knives called ‘Onychomycroton’ to trim their nails.

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, nail grooming fell out of favor due to religious beliefs that saw it as a vanity practice. However, some cultures continued the tradition of nail grooming using basic tools like scissors or knives.

Modern Nail Grooming Techniques

Today, we have access to modern tools such as nail clippers and files which make the process much simpler. Nail salons are also popular where professionals can groom your nails for you.

  • Nail Clippers: These come in different sizes and shapes for various types of nails.
  • Nail Files: These are used to shape and smooth the edges of the nails.
  • Cuticle Pushers: Used to push back the cuticles around the nails.
  • Cuticle Nippers: Used to trim excess skin around the nails.


In conclusion, nail grooming has been a part of human hygiene for centuries. From crude tools to modern equipment, we have come a long way.

Today, it is easy and convenient to maintain our nails regularly, thanks to modern technology. But it’s interesting to look back and see how our ancestors groomed their nails with such basic tools.