Whilst nail extensions may seem like a fairly modern development, women have been attempting to add artificial length to their talons since the Ancient Egyptian times.
During this period, long nails were considered to be a sign of wealth and status in both Egypt and various other cultures (notably Asian cultures), and extensions were crafted out of materials that were only available to the rich such as ivory, bone and gold.
Since then, artificial nails have evolved considerably – with nail extensions as we know them today first being invented bizarrely by a dentist.
In 1954, dentist Fred Slack broke a fingernail at work and in a bid to disguise it, he invented the very first artificial nail out of materials usually used to rebuild and strengthen teeth. After his makeshift discovery actually proved extremely successful, he and his brother Tom further developed the concept, patented a successful version and started the company Patti Nails.
Today, there are multiple nail extension and overlay techniques and services available for those who wish to enhance the appearance and strength of their natural nails – though all are still based upon Fred Slacks original concept.
Acrylics are the oldest form of nail extension in the modern beauty industry, and have long since been a staple due their staying power. The acrylic itself is a mixture of liquid monomer and a powder polymer, which when combined form a hard protective layer that is sculpted over the natural nail.
Acrylic nail extensions will only become hard when exposed to air, and when this happens and the process is complete the nails become a strong and glossy base that is a fantastic for colour application.
The procedure is a multi-step process that usually involves preparing the natural nail by cleaning, shaping, buffing and cuticle work, before then applying artificial tips to add length (if required) and the acrylic on top.