Von Seidennägeln bis Acryl: Die Geschichte der Kunstnägel

From silk nails to acrylic: the history of artificial nails

The appeal of well-groomed hands with beautiful nails that appear natural and are characterized by high stability ensures the popularity of artificial fingernails. Not only do they offer a long-lasting beautification of natural nails, but they can also give long, stable nails using tips and stencils, explains our nail expert Stefanie. Today, artificial nails are made from the most modern and extremely durable materials, but beautifying and lengthening natural nails using various methods has been popular in many cultures around the world for centuries.

6 reasons for the centuries-long popularity ❤️ of artificial nails

Fingernails aroused cosmetic interest at the beginning of the Copper Age because their color and shape can be changed again and again and allow for many design options. So they became an instrument early on to show one's very personal and individual way of life. They are a symbol of the inside of a person and give expression to the personality on the outside with the help of individual design, explains our nail designer Stefanie. The embellished natural nails also indicated the social status, showed wealth and were a sign of the wearer's power. Over the centuries, gender often played no role in the decoration with artificial nails, unlike today: this was the case in ancient Babylon more than 3000 years ago. It was quite common in the 1st century BC for men in particular to paint their nails on their hands and feet with special minerals to illustrate their position in society: the darker and more intense the color, the higher the social status of the wearer.

  1. Lots of design options
  2. Show your individual way of life
  3. express personality
  4. Indicate social status
  5. Show wealth
  6. Sign of power

Cleopatra's beautiful nails: The beginnings of artificial nails

The early civilizations, from South America to China to Egypt, had a wide range of medical knowledge and attached great importance to hygiene, care and beauty. In ancient Egypt, women began wearing clothes around 5,000 years ago. BC on colorful nails and colored them with the juice of plants and berries, and later also with ground ivory or gold dust. This love of Egyptian women for well-groomed and beautiful nails remained throughout the ages and Cleopatra, the last queen of the ancient Egyptian empire, already relied on artificial nails made of porcelain powder that was applied with an adhesive liquid. An attractive, attractive appearance was considered particularly desirable because external perfection was closely linked to the spiritual ideas of eternal life and the image of the gods.

Ming Dynasty and Antiquity: Artificial nails remain trendy

In China during the Zhou Dynasty (approx. 1122-770 BC), which was characterized by an economic boom and many technological innovations, there is further historical evidence of artificial nails: the female and male members of the rich and respected royal families dyed themselves the nails with the shimmering dust of silver and gold to indicate their social position, while their subordinates were forbidden to dye their nails. The ongoing nail trend can also be seen during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). This time was characterized above all by booming domestic trade and strong population growth. Long nails were mainly worn by noble ladies and were intended to show that they were rich and did not need to use their hands for work - so they could “afford” to wear long nails. However, the artificial nails of this time were worn by men because they reinforced their nails with silk, rice paper or powdered porcelain to emphasize their elevated status.

Artificial nail trend in 🇪🇺 Europe & USA 🇺🇸

Over time, various recipes were developed in Europe for coloring nails, which can be found in cookbooks around the year 1800. The recipes and the associated, often very expensive and rare ingredients were so sought after that they were used as valuable barter goods. The spread of the trend for beautiful, artificial nails was fueled, among other things, by the Greek women at the beginning of the 19th century. To symbolize belonging to the upper class, wealthy ladies stuck empty pistachio shells on their nails. Mary E. Cobb opened the first manicure salon in Manhattan in 1878 after learning her craft in France. At the beginning of the 20th century, this trend gained momentum in the United States: more and more hairdressers and cosmetic salons now also offered nail care. For the first time, the legendary film production company MGM employed a nail designer who exclusively took care of beautifying the stars' nails.

  • Nail polish recipes in cookbooks
  • Nail care made from expensive ingredients
  • Nail polish as a barter item
  • Glue pistachio shells to natural nails
  • Nail care is becoming a trend

From medical devices to artificial nails

The chemist and dentist Fred Slack worked as a developer for dental products and researched materials for high-quality dental crowns and dental bridges. In 1954 he injured his fingernail while working. Since he's working with a mix of monomers (reactive molecules) and polymers, he decides to apply them to his injured nail and use a mold to hold the material in place until it hardens. When he removed the mold, the nail retained a protective layer and its natural-identical shape. Under the artificial nail made of dental plastic, his natural nail was able to regenerate and grow again - the first acrylic nail was born!

Acrylic and gel based artificial nails

Fred Slack and his family continued to develop the acrylic system , so that their experiences and research results are the basis for all acrylic products to this day. They were also the first to produce acrylic for nail design, which did not turn yellow and was easy to apply. The individual components of monomer and polymer were summarized under the term acrylic . Although all gels and acrylic products are strictly speaking acrylic , in nail modeling today the use of a liquid monomer (liquid) and a fine powdery polymer is referred to as acrylic modeling - depending on the product, these modeling layers harden themselves or are hardened by a UV lamp . Gel for nail modeling is also made of plastic that can be modeled, but is always cured under a UV lamp . In addition to gel and acrylic, there is also the fiberglass system , in which strips of glass fiber or silk were previously applied to the nail in layers using a resin adhesive. Today there are fiberglass gels that already connect these components together and are characterized by high durability and stability.

Fiberglass Collection
Gel starter sets
Acrylic starter sets


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