Who invented acrylic nails? It's actually quite an interesting story. Acrylic nails date all the way back to the 1950s. When you think of acrylics, you probably think of long, beautiful, smooth nails. You’re probably so used to the concept of acrylics that you don’t question the origin, which is totally normal. So what’s the history here?
The History of Acrylic Nails
Although acrylic nails themselves don’t date back centuries, nail art does. We have evidence of nail enhancements and art in ancient cultures in Egypt, Greece, and China. This took form in many ways, like painting of the nails, gold adornments, and dying. It’s also been recorded that ancient cultures performed nail care similar to what we do today- trimming, applying oils, and enhancing shine. Though these ancient nail practices are different from what we see as modern-day acrylic nails, they’ve certainly been influential.
How Modern Acrylic Nails were Created.
As far as the history of modern acrylics goes, we owe our thanks to Dr. Fred Slack. Slack was a dentist, and in the mid-1950’s he accidentally invented what would later become known as an acrylic. He broke a nail at work, so he jerry-rigged a fake one to get him through by utilizing materials in his dental office- aluminum and dental acrylic. Slack and his family would later go on to patent the first version of the acrylic nail. If it weren’t for this dentist, we may not have acrylics today- not to mention all of the creations acrylic nails have inspired.
The Inventor of Modern Acrylic Nails.
By the late 1970’s, a man by the name of Stuart Nordstrom recreated Dr. Slack’s original acrylic. While looking for a better way to create acrylic nails, he came up with a liquid and powder system. The powder and liquid are combined and create a gel-like substance, which is then applied to the natural nail. This is the same system used today, and Nordstrom went on to be a major player in the nail industry.
As you can see, the story behind acrylic nails is more unique than you probably assumed. With historic ties, an incidental creation, and a continually evolving process, acrylic nails are quite dynamic. Who knew that we’d have dentistry to thank for our beautiful acrylic nails?