Title:
Artificial nail tips
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present application relates to artificial nail tips, particularly artificial nail tips that have an attachment area with an axial curvature and two cutout portions which provide a comfortable and conforming fit to a variety of natural nails while maintaining structural integrity and minimizing damage to the natural nail. The axial curvature of the attachment area of the nail tips is of a single radius design. The cutout portions of the nail tips are on both sides of the attachment portion of the nail tips, leaving a center attachment area narrower and thinner than the remaining nail tip. The attachment area of the nail tip is in a shape that allows for conformation to all natural nails, regardless of the length or curvature of the natural nail while maintaining the strength of the natural nail and minimizing damage to the natural nail. The shape of the attachment area of the nail tip allows it to deform to the natural nail without losing structural integrity.



Inventors:
Swensen, Alexandra (Wayzata, MN, US)
Application Number:
10/104154
Publication Date:
09/25/2003
Filing Date:
03/25/2002
Assignee:
SWENSEN ALEXANDRA
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D31/00; (IPC1-7): A45D29/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILLATT, STEPHANIE L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GARY L. HUUSKO (EAGAN, MN, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An artificial nail tip, comprising: A body member having a front portion and a back portion, a first side and a second side, said back portion having a first cutout portion on the first side and a second cutout portion on the second side, said first cutout portion and said second cutout portion defining a wing attachment area, said wing attachment area being relatively thinner than said front portion.

2. The artificial nail tip of claim 1 wherein said back portion has a certain area and a certain length and wherein said first cutout portion and said second cutout portion are of similar dimensions.

3. The artificial nail tip of claim 2 wherein said wing attachment area comprises one-third of the area of the back portion.

4. The artificial nail tip of claim 3 wherein the front portion and back portion are delineated by an edge to abut the nail tip to the wearer's natural nail.

5. The artificial nail tip of claim 4 wherein the body member has a longitudinal curvature from the back portion to the front portion and an axial curvature from the first side to the second side.

Description:

BACKGROUND

[0001] 1. Field of Invention

[0002] The present invention relates generally to artificial nail tips and more particularly to an artificial nail tip that has a shape that conforms to all natural nails, that minimizes damage to the natural nail and maintains structural integrity while providing for a more natural looking and stronger artificial nail extension.

[0003] 2. Description of Prior Art

[0004] Artificial nail tips have been used for many years to extend the natural nail, giving the wearer a longer looking fingernail. Normally, an artificial nail tip is made out of a plastic like material in the general shape of a rectangle. The back end, which serves as the attachment end, can vary in shape. However, the back end is usually rounded at the corners for comfort and fit to the natural nail bed. Furthermore, the attachment area of the artificial nail is also normally thinner as compared to the tip area to allow the artificial nail to blend into the natural nail after being glued on. The thinner attachment area also serves as an approximate guide as to where to place the tip on the nail bed. The line of demarcation between the thin area and the thicker area being normally placed approximately at what would be the end of the wearer's natural nail bed.

[0005] When the artificial nail tips are applied professionally, they are normally and practically always covered with some sort of conventional coating for strength purposes. The tip alone is normally not strong enough to withstand the stress that it is subject to by being on the end of a finger. As one's hands are constantly in motion or being utilized for some purpose, the artificial nail tips are constantly getting knocked and hit, which can cause them to break. Covering the nails with a coating provides the nails with necessary strength, thus, reducing breakage. When applying an artificial nail tip, the tip is glued on, usually with a cyanoacrylate adhesive (glue), filed to its desired shape and length, and covered with the coating.

[0006] Most nail tips currently on the market have a “full back” area at the attachment end. This type of tip has more area for gluing on to the nail bed and less natural nail exposed for the coating that is applied over it. As the natural nail is less exposed, there is less area for the coating to adhere to. Other conventional tips have the entire back cut out. However, this raises concerns on how securely the tip can be glued onto the natural nail.

[0007] An artificial nail tip normally comes already formed with a slight axial curve going from side to side. Nail tips may be provided with a curvature along their length corresponding to a longitudinal curvature. The longitudinal curvature is defined by that curvature of the nail tip that exists along a line extending between the back end portion and the front-end portion of the nail tip. However, every person's nails are slightly different, meaning not everyone will have a curve in their natural nail that is the same as the curve of the artificial nail tip that is being applied. As such, when an artificial nail tip is initially applied to the natural nail, it is pressed down and held tightly against the natural nail for maximum adhesion and to assure that there is no space between the nail tip and the natural nail. Frequently, during this stage of application, the stress caused by attempting to conform the artificial nail tip to the shape of the natural nail causes the tip to crack or weaken. In addition, the mismatch in curvatures also provides discomfort to the wearer of the nail tip and provides difficulty in attaching and fitting the nail tips.

[0008] The wearer may experience discomfort when wearing such a nail tip due to the axial curvature of the nail tip squeezing or pinching the sides of the underlying natural nail. The applier of the nail tip may experience difficulty in attaching and fitting the nail tip to the wearer because of the inability of the curvature of the nail tip to be deformed (e.g. flattened out) to properly fit the wearer's natural curvature without breaking, cracking or weakening. There also exists the difficulty in filling the gap that is created between the nail tip and the underlying natural nail due to the curvature mismatch. The wearer may also experience additional discomfort or even serious pain when wearing such a nail tip due to the glue or adhesive used to attach such a nail tip overflowing onto the wearers surrounding skin and underneath the natural nail. The removal of such overflowed glue with the proper chemicals often times results in the integrity of the tip itself and its seal being compromised. The applier may experience additional difficulty in blending the nail tip to the natural nail to result in an aesthetically pleasing surface.

[0009] Nail tips of the prior art are generally formed of plastic, such as ABS plastic, tenite acetate, or nylon, which is molded into the shape of a nail tip. Such plastics generally are deformable to a certain extent. However, such plastics also maintain a memory of the curvature to which they were originally molded. Artificial nail tips made of such plastics normally come already formed with a slight curve going from side to side and therefore, tend to exert force to try to re-acquire it's original molded-in curvature. This force may provide the pinching effect described above.

[0010] In addition, this force may make it difficult for an applier to determine the size of tip to be used on a wearer and to fit a nail tip to the wearer due to the difficulty in determining the extent the nail tip will deform to match the wearer's curvature. Furthermore, it is difficult for an applier to determine the extent to which the nail tip may be deformed without breaking, cracking or weakening (i.e. while maintaining it's structural integrity). It is typical for prior tips to break, crack, or become weakened when deformed to a certain extent.

[0011] Nail tips described in prior art have been shown which have attachment portions that include snap-out or cut-away areas. U.S. Pat. No. 4,805,645 to Schiff et. al. shows a nail tip having a thinned attachment area with an even thinner perforated snap-out section therein. This patent asserts that the snap-out section is removable to permit increased flexibility of the attachment area and to permit a better attachment to a natural nail that has a “problem” or unusual shape or surface. The patent states that better attachment is achieved because there is less attachment area contacting the “problem” of unusually shaped nail surface. However, snapping out the perforated area of the nail tip results in a rough or uneven fragments that must be filed or cut to ensure a smooth and aesthetically pleasing nail surface. In addition, snapping out the perforated area may result in breaking or cracking the nail tip, or in weakening the structural stability of the nail tip.

[0012] U.S. Pat. No. 5,070,892 to Trematerra shows a nail tip having a thinned attachment area with a cut-away portion therein. The patent states that the cut-away area of the nail tip is a symmetrical stair-step, swath, or acute angle pattern which, the patent further states, permits the attachment area to be quickly and symmetrically trimmed by simply counting the number of steps or notches to be saved or removed. The patent also proclaims that the pattern of the cut-away area also provides an increased border area to be bonded to the underlying nail. The patent further reveals that the nail tip is said to be flexible due to the thinness of the attachment area and the shape of the cut-away portion. However, the jagged pattern of the cutaway section advocated by this patent does not maintain the structural stability of the nail tip when the attachment area is deformed or flexed to conform to the shape of an underlying natural nail, especially to natural nails which are flat or inconsistently shaped. In addition, the nail tip of this patent would require the application of additional overlay and bonding materials (e.g. require more blending or “feathering”) to blend the jagged edges of the nail tip to the wearers natural nail to result in an aesthetically pleasing nail surface.

[0013] U.S. Pat. No. 5,450,864 to LaJoie et. al. shows a nail tip having a “V” shape cutout area. The patent states that the nail tip has an attachment area consisting of a dual radius design. The patent states that the cutout portion area of the nail tip is in the design shape of a “V”. The patent also proclaims that it is preferable that the “V” shaped cutout design be slightly rounded at it's apex to assist in proper deforming of the nail tip when it is applied to the wearer by the applier. The patent also claims a dual radius design of the attachment area of the nail tip that provides a more conforming fit to the natural nail of the wearer and does not jeopardize the structural integrity of the nail tip. However, the presence of a dual radius “V” design nail tip presents the same non-conforming to the curvature of the wearers natural nail as does all the other aforementioned nail tip designs. The presence of the side walls of the dual radius design on the nail tips attachment area do not allow for comfort of fit or ease of blending the attachment area's “V” shape in to the wearers natural nail for an aesthetically pleasing surface. In addition, the patent states that the molded thickness and design of the attachment area is such that it allows for ease of adaptability in conforming to the curvature of the wearers natural nail without undue structural integrity, however the pre-molded shape with it's thickness does not allow for the deforming to take place without excessive filling (e.g. blending and feathering) which can result in damage to the wearers natural nail and loss of structural integrity of the nail tip itself. Furthermore, because of the presence of the side walls of the dual radius attachment area which when bonded to the natural nail, covers the natural nails end from the wearers side wall to side wall, the width of the finished product is such that it no longer is aesthetically pleasing.

[0014] Furthermore, the side walls can cause damage to the natural nail when the nail tip is removed, either intentionally or unintentionally by breaking or tearing of the nail tip.

[0015] A nail tip that has an axial curvature that is comfortable and flexible and which can be deformed while maintaining structural integrity and which is easily blended to the underlying natural nail to form an aesthetically pleasing surface is desirable.

[0016] Thus, what is needed in the art, is an artificial nail tip that is designed to reduce cracking or weakening of the nail tip when conforming the nail tip to a natural nail. There is also a need to provide an artificial nail tip which provides a sufficient area for gluing the nail tip to a natural nail, while achieving the reduction of cracking or weakening of the artificial nail tip and damage caused by the removal of the nail tip. It is therefore, to the effective resolution of the aforementioned problems and shortcomings that the present invention is directed.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF INVENTION

[0017] The current invention provides for flexibility while maintaining structural integrity against breaks, cracks and weakening.

[0018] It is the principal object of this invention to provide an improved and superior nail tip. It is a further object of the current invention to provide a nail tip having a “cutout” area on both sides which leaves a remaining area in the center of the attachment area, referred to as the “Wing”.

[0019] It is also an object of the current invention to provide an artificial nail tip with a “cutout” area on both sides of a thinned attachment area (“Wing”) the purpose of which is to provide for easier application and a more conforming and comfortably fitting nail tip to a variety of natural nail shapes. It is also an object of the current invention to provide a nail tip with a “Wing” attachment area where the remaining extension area of the tip is placed in such a position as to have the extension area of the nail tip be flush with the wearer's natural nail, creating an aesthetically more pleasing fingernail.

[0020] It is yet another object of the current invention to provide a nail tip with side “cutout” areas which allow for an application of such a tip without the damage caused to the wearer by adhesive overflow and the damage caused by correcting that problem, and to minimize damage when removing the nail tip or on occasion of the nail tip tearing or otherwise ripping off of the natural nail.

[0021] It is an additional object of the current invention to provide a nail tip which has a “cutout” area on both sides of a thinned attachment area (“Wing”) for the purpose of creating a narrower and thinner, more natural looking nail for the wearer.

[0022] It is still another object of the current invention to provide for an artificial nail tip having “cutout” sides and a “Wing” attachment area which provide for a more efficient blending of the artificial nail tip and yet requires minimal blending to an underlying natural nail while also reducing the visible distinction and damage between the natural nail and the artificial nail tip.

[0023] It is still another object of the current invention to provide a nail tip extension with a “Wing” attachment area whose appearance ranges from light in color to nearly perfectly clear in order to decrease the visible distinction between the attachment area and the wearers natural nail; although all colors and degrees of opaqueness are a possibility.

[0024] It is another object of the current invention to provide for a nail tip with a “Wing” attachment area which provides for a superior bond, via a prescribed adhesive, between the attachment area and the wearer's natural nail due to the “Wing's” ability to fit or deform better without loss of structural integrity.

[0025] It is still another object of the current invention to provide a nail tip with a side “cutout” area and “Wing” attachment area where the purpose of the cut out area is to provide for more natural-nail space for the application of acrylic or other overlay product to increase the overall strength of the nail extension and provide for a superior and more natural looking fit with minimal damage or discomfort to the nail and nail wearer.

[0026] Other objects and features of the current invention will become apparent from considerations of the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0027] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an artificial nail tip of the present invention.

[0028] FIG. 2 is a top view of the artificial nail tip of the present invention.

[0029] FIG. 3 is a bottom view of the artificial nail tip of the present invention.

[0030] FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of the artificial nail tip of the present invention.

[0031] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of the artificial nail tip of the present invention taken along line 13-13 of FIG. 2.

[0032] FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional view of the artificial nail tip of the present invention taken along line 14-14 of FIG. 2.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

[0033] Referring first to FIG. 1, the current invention involves a nail tip 1 that has a body member 2, a front portion 3 of the body member 2, a back portion 4 of the body member 2, a first side 5 and a second side 6, a first cutout portion 7 on one side of said back portion 4 and a second cutout portion 8 on the opposing side of the back portion 4. The first cutout portion 7 and the second cutout portion 8 define a thinned attachment wing area 9 to provide a more flexible attachment area and, therefore, a more conforming fit of the nail tip 1 to a variety of natural nails. The first cutout portion 7 and second cutout portion 8 create the narrower attachment wing area 9 that has a more aesthetically pleasing look and results in a stronger finished nail product with less damage to the wearer's natural nail. In the preferred embodiment, the first cutout portion 7 and second cutout portion 8 of the nail tip 1 are achieved by pre-molding the nail tip 1 to include such portions; they are not achieved by actually cutting the nail tip. However, other methods of manufacturing the nail tip 1 can also be utilized to make the present invention, such as actually cutting out the first cutout portion 7 and second cutout portion 8. The remaining attachment wing area 9 will deform with little or no structural resistance (e.g. less resistance to the nail back expanding) when glued onto the natural nail, allowing the nail tip 1 to easily adapt to differently shaped (i.e. a variety of natural nail curvatures longitudinally and horizontally) natural nails. The first cutout portion 7 and second cutout portion 8 can be of various dimensions, so long as the attachment wing area 9 consists of a width W of approximately one-third of the width of the nail tip 1. The preferred embodiment would have the first cutout portion 7 and the second cutout portion 8 to be similar or identical in their respective dimensions. The back portion 4 has a back portion length L sufficient to securely attach the nail tip 1 to the wearer's natural nail. The dimensions of the nail tip 1 would depend upon the size of the natural nail of the wearer, and could, therefore, be made in numerous sizes.

[0034] FIGS. 2, 3 and 4 show the embodiments from different perspectives.

[0035] Referring now to FIG. 5 an axial curvature 10 of the nail tip 1 is such that it creates an aesthetically pleasing horizontal curve for the wearer, from side to side, even in the event that the wearer herself does not have a naturally aesthetically pleasing shaped curvature. The presence of the first cutout portion 7 and the second cutout portion 8 allow for a more comfortable and conforming fit for the nail wearer and allows the applier to maintain a more natural width in the finished nail tip application, due to the sides of the natural nails remaining uncovered by a attachment wing area 9. Having only the attachment wing area 9 portion of the artificial nail tip 1 to bond to the natural nail, there is less risk of adhesive overflow onto the natural nail wearer's surrounding skin (i.e. cuticle area) thus resolving the problems associated with such an event, namely, removal of the overflowed glue with a glue solvent causing a weakened nail tip and the potential for dermatitis and pain to the wearer of the artificial nail tip. Given that the general purpose of the artificial nail tip 1 is to extend the length of the natural nail on the wearer and that acrylic, linen, silk or other material overlay (i.e. any material which is overlaid on top of the nail tip to provide strength) is added to strengthen the artificial nail, the attachment wing area 9 provides inherently superior strength. Since with artificial nail extensions, the weak spot is where the nail extension leaves the natural nail, any extra strength that can be provided in this area (where the tip extension leaves the natural underlying fingernail) would be a significant benefit. The presence of the first cutout portion 7 and the second cutout portion 8 of the nail tip 1, creating the attachment wing area 9 on the present invention, provide the perfect area for placement for “extra strength” in the application of a nail extension with the addition of an overlay.

[0036] Referring to FIG. 6, each nail tip 1 has a general thickness T. The attachment wing area 9 has a thickness t that is thinner than the general thickness T of the rest of the nail tip 1. The general thickness T can vary, depending upon the thickness of the wearer's natural nail. An edge 11 delineates the attachment wing area 9 from the remaining nail tip 1, thereby providing an area on the artificial nail tip 1 to abut the end of the wearer's natural nail to facilitate easy application. A longitudinal curvature 12 of the nail tip 1 is such that it creates an aesthetically pleasing longitudinal curve, along the length of the nail tip 1, for the wearer, even in the event that the wearer herself does not have a naturally aesthetically pleasing shaped curvature.