A History of Artificial Nails

Did you know that ladies in Greece, during the 19th century were the first to start wearing artificial nails or false nails made from empty pistachio nails.! In China, during the Ming Dynasty women of the upper class wore extra long artificial nails, this showed that they were not required to work unlike the lower classes. In Ancient Egypt artificial nails could have been made from gold, bone or ivory. The more exotic and rich they looked the more they represented a display of wealth. Extra long nails in the Far East, also indicated your social status in some cultures and meant that you were treated better and with more respect. Again this also meant you did not have to work as you had servants to do the work for you. Thus you were from a higher class of society.

By the 20th century different kinds of artificial nails had become popular throughout Europe.

It was in America that the discovery was made that made artificial nails easy and available to everyone.  Fred Slack was a dentist, in 1954 that damaged his finger nail while working. He used material that he had in is clinic, a piece of solid foil to cover his nail and then put a layer of restorative substance over the top. He was amazed at the result and found that not only did it look really good; the pain he had been experiencing disappeared. Along with his brother Tom, Fred experimented with different mixes of Monomer liquid and Polymer powder, acrylic compositions that could be used to create nails. The mixture was applied onto and over the natural nail and then by extending it out the nail could be lengthened. Once it had become hard the acrylic nail and nail tips could then be filed into shape. The product was patented and he formed the first nail company Patti Nails. The product he invented helped to strengthen nails as well as extending them. The look of the nail was improved by colouring the product so that it looked like the colour of skin or teeth. These nails became known as acrylic artificial nails. It proved to be very popular and the nail industry has not looked back since.

Nowadays, artificial nails have many names, fashion nails, nail extensions, false nails or nail enhancements, gel nails and nail tips. They are made from many different kinds of materials, but mostly plastic in content. While some artificial nails still look like real fingernails, there are many that offer an alternative look. This has opened the door to new possibilities for creative nail art technicians to express themselves with nail art designs, where only their imagination is the limit.

New innovations are always appearing and recently women are being delighted by nail wraps. These wraps such, as those from the Metallic Nails, Nail wrap range, are a predesigned nail wrap that comes in a variety of amazing and complex designs and colours. Some of these designs are layered with metallic foil resulting in a stunning new look. For the first time metallic nail nail wraps are easy to apply, requiring only to be cut to size and heated with a hair dryer to activate the adhesive. Once they are glued in place they can be trimmed, filed and a clear polish applied over the top. The result is a beautiful new look that also protects the nails and lasts long.

by Metallic Nails on December 07, 2010


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