“Origins of Acrylic Nails”

Sofia Gongora, Staff Writer

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In the late 20th century, artificial nails for women became widely popular all over the world. Artificial nails are coverings placed over fingernails as fashion accessories. They are used to mimic the appearance of real fingernails as closely as possible, while other designs purposely stray in appearance from real fingernails. Artificial nails are made from a wide variety of materials. To create the hard acrylic, you use a liquid molymer and mix it with a specific powder. It then makes a bead of paste that you use to shape into a realistic-looking nail. After it hardens, you put the final touches on it by painting It until you get the look that you want.

It all started when Fred Slack, a dentist, broke his fingernail at work, and created an artificial nail as a realistic-looking temporary replacement. After experiments with different materials to perfect his invention, he and his brother, Tom, patented a successful version. They then started the company Patti Nails. Fred Slack used his dental equipment and chemicals to replace his natural nail, but over time the process has changed significantly.

Artificial nails go all the way back to Egypt. It actually was used by more cultures than you would think. In the early 19th century in Greece, many upper-class women wore empty pistachio shells over their nails, slowly spreading the artificial nail trend across Europe. During the Ming Dynasty of China, noblewomen wore very long artificial nails as a status symbol indicating that they did not have to do manual labor.  Thus, this nail fashion proved to others that they were superior. This goes to show that not only have artificial nails been a trend for a long time, but also that they’ve been worn many ways and for many reasons.