Title:
Artificial nail having a color transition portion
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An artificial nail for attachment to a natural nail has a nail body including a proximal bed portion sized and shaped to be attachable to the top surface of the natural nail, a distal tip portion opposite the bed portion and a transition portion between the tip portion and the bed portion. Either the tip portion or the bed portion has a first color in contrast to the other portion for obscuring the natural nail tip when the artificial nail is attached to the natural nail and the color contrast between the portions gradually fades within the transition portion.



Inventors:
Chang, Sung Yong (Roslyn Heights, NY, US)
Application Number:
10/383354
Publication Date:
11/13/2003
Filing Date:
03/07/2003
Assignee:
KMC Exim Corp.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A45D31/00; (IPC1-7): A45D29/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
COMSTOCK, DAVID C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Hoffmann & Baron LLP (Syosset, NY, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. An artificial nail for attachment to a natural nail, said artificial nail having a nail body comprising: a proximal bed portion sized and shaped to be attachable to the top surface of the natural nail; a distal tip portion opposite said bed portion, said tip portion having a first color in contrast to said bed portion for obscuring the natural nail tip when the artificial nail is attached to the natural nail; and a transition portion between said tip portion and said bed portion, wherein said color contrast between said tip portion and said bed portion gradually fades within said transition portion.

2. An artificial nail as defined in claim 1, wherein said bed portion is substantially transparent.

3. An artificial nail as defined in claim 1, wherein said bed portion has a second color in contrast to said first color of said tip portion.

4. An artificial nail as defined in claim 1, wherein said first color of said tip portion comprises glitter.

5. An artificial nail as defined in claim 1, wherein said bed portion is sized and shaped to substantially correspond to the full nail bed of a natural nail.

6. An artificial nail as defined in claim 1, wherein said bed portion is sized and shaped to be attachable to only the distal end of the natural nail.

7. An artificial nail as defined in claim 1, wherein said nail body is a one-piece injection molded body.

8. An artificial nail as defined in claim 1, wherein said nail body is made from a transparent material.

9. An artificial nail as defined in claim 1, wherein said nail body is made from a translucent material.

10. An artificial nail as defined in claim 1, wherein said nail body is made from an opaque material.

11. An artificial nail for attachment to a natural nail, said artificial nail having a nail body comprising: a distal tip portion; a proximal bed portion opposite said distal tip portion, said bed portion being sized and shaped to be attachable to the top of the natural nail and having a first color in contrast to said tip portion for obscuring the natural nail tip when the artificial nail is attached to the natural nail; and a transition portion between said bed portion and said tip portion, wherein said color contrast between said bed portion and said tip portion gradually fades within said transition portion.

12. An artificial nail as defined in claim 11, wherein said tip portion is substantially transparent.

13. An artificial nail as defined in claim 11, wherein said tip portion has a second color in contrast to said first color of said bed portion.

14. An artificial nail as defined in claim 11, wherein said first color of said bed portion comprises glitter.

15. An artificial nail as defined in claim 11, wherein said bed portion is sized and shaped to substantially correspond to the full nail bed of a natural nail.

16. An artificial nail as defined in claim 11, wherein said bed portion is sized and shaped to be attachable to only the distal end of the natural nail.

17. An artificial nail as defined in claim 11, wherein said nail body is a one-piece injection molded body.

18. An artificial nail as defined in claim 11, wherein said nail body is made from a transparent material.

19. An artificial nail as defined in claim 11, wherein said nail body is made from a translucent material.

20. An artificial nail as defined in claim 11, wherein said nail body is made from an opaque material.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 10,208,270, filed Jul. 29, 2002, which is continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/891,806, filed Jun. 26, 2001, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/616,404, filed Jul. 14, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,354,304 and which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. application Ser. No. 09/696,879, filed Oct. 26, 2000, now abandoned. This application further claims priority from Korean Application No. 20-2000-0018221 filed on Jun. 27, 2000.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to artificial nails that are applied to natural nails with an adhesive, and more particularly to an artificial nail having a color transition portion.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Artificial nails have been used for many years to enhance the cosmetic appearance of the fingers. Some individuals opt to use artificial nails because their own nails are too weak to grow to a desirable length without breaking. Others choose artificial nails because they are considerably stronger and more durable than natural nails, and because nail polish adheres better to the artificial nail surface. Some individuals are unhappy with the shape and contour of their natural nail and opt to use an artificial nail to improve the appearance of their nails.

[0004] It has been known in the art of adorning the hands to provide ornamental fingernail accessories made from thin, molded plastic members manufactured generally in the shape of a fingernail. Indeed, numerous artificial fingernail manufacturers have provided a variety of combinations of materials, arrangements, and colors in fingernail accessories. With the advent of such artificial fingernail accessories, the wearer could now have intricately pre-designed fingernails that are simply attached to the natural fingernail and then later easily removed.

[0005] Traditional artificial fingernails are made of an opaque hard, flexible plastic. They are applied over natural nails with an adhesive and then covered with nail polish or a topcoat of clear acrylic. In the case of a nail tip, the seam between the tip and the nail bed is filled with a filler prior to the application of the nail polish or topcoat of clear acrylic. These conventional nails look like natural nails only when covered with polish, because the artificial nails completely obscure the natural nail bed underneath.

[0006] Because of the opacity of the artificial nails, a French-style manicure is impossible. A French-style manicure is one in which only the nail tip is colored, (usually white) and the nail bed is left a natural color or tinted only slightly pink. Attempts at a French-style manicure with artificial nails do not look natural, because the opaque artificial nails do not look natural, and because the opaque artificial nail bed portion cannot be made to look like a natural nail bed. In the case of an artificial nail tip, because the seam between the opaque nail tips and the natural nail bed must be filled, the tips cannot be made to look like a natural nail.

[0007] Accordingly, it would be desirable to provide an artificial nail that provides a naturally looking French-style manicure and that is easily applied without the need for an experienced nail technician. It would also be desirable to provide a color transition portion to the French-style manicure as a decorative feature to the artificial nail. Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide an ornamental artificial nail having such a unique decorative feature.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0008] The present invention is an artificial nail for attachment to a natural nail. The nail has a nail body including a proximal bed portion sized and shaped to be attachable to the top surface of the natural nail, a distal tip portion opposite the bed portion and a transition portion between the tip portion and the bed portion. In a preferred embodiment, the tip portion has a first color in contrast to the bed portion for obscuring the natural nail tip when the artificial nail is attached to the natural nail and the color contrast between the tip portion and the bed portion gradually fades within the transition portion. In an alternative embodiment, the bed portion has a first color in contrast to the tip portion for obscuring the natural nail tip when the artificial nail is attached to the natural nail and the color contrast between the bed portion and the tip portion gradually fades within the transition portion.

[0009] In either embodiment, the non-colored portion is preferably substantially transparent. Alternatively, the respective bed or tip portion can have a second color in contrast to the first color. Additionally, the first color may include glitter. Preferably, the nail body is a one-piece injection molded body made from either a transparent, translucent or opaque material.

[0010] “Artificial nail”, as used herein also includes fingernail extensions, referred to in the trade as “tips”, which will be more fully explained hereinbelow. Thus, the artificial nail may be a fill cover, wherein the proximal bed portion of the nail body is sized and shaped to substantially correspond to the full nail bed of the natural nail, or the artificial nail may be a nail tip, wherein the proximal bed portion of the nail body is sized and shaped to be attachable to only the distal end of the natural nail.

[0011] The invention also includes an artificial fingernail kit, comprising at least ten of the artificial nail covers and/or tips described above, along with a translucent pink adhesive and transparent filler and coating materials. The adhesive is preferably an ethylcyanoacrylate, but other adhesives could also be used. The filler is a standard powder material that is mixed with a liquid solvent and applied to the nail with a brush. The filler then quickly hardens into a transparent solid coating.

[0012] Other objects and features of the present invention will become apparent from the following detailed description considered in connection with the accompanying drawings. It is to be understood, however, that the drawings are designed as an illustration only and not as a definition of the limits of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 shows a top view of the artificial full nail cover according to the invention.

[0014] FIG. 2 shows a side view of the artificial full nail cover as applied to a natural fingernail.

[0015] FIG. 3 shows a schematic cross-sectional view of the layers of natural nail, adhesive, artificial full nail cover, opaque coating and outer coating according to the invention.

[0016] FIG. 4 shows a top view of an alternative embodiment of the artificial full nail cover according to the invention.

[0017] FIG. 5 shows a side view of the alternative embodiment of the full nail cover shown in FIG. 4.

[0018] FIG. 6 shows a top view of another alternative embodiment of the present invention in the form of an artificial nail tip.

[0019] FIG. 7 shows a side view of the artificial nail tip of FIG. 6 as applied to a natural fingernail but without the filler and topcoat.

[0020] FIG. 8 shows a schematic cross-sectional view of the layers of natural nail, artificial nail tip, opaque coating, filler and outer coating according to the invention.

[0021] FIG. 9 shows a top view of yet another alternative embodiment of the artificial full nail cover according to the invention.

[0022] FIG. 10 shows a side view of the alternative embodiment of the full nail cover shown in FIG. 9.

[0023] FIG. 11 is a top perspective view of still another alternative embodiment of the artificial nail formed in accordance with the present invention.

[0024] FIG. 12 is a top perspective view of the artificial nail shown in FIG. 11 in the form of an artificial nail tip.

[0025] FIG. 13 is a top perspective view of still another alternative embodiment of the artificial nail formed in accordance with the present invention.

[0026] FIG. 14 is a top perspective view of the artificial nail shown in FIG. 13 in the form of an artificial nail tip.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0027] Referring now in detail to the drawings, FIGS. 1-3 show an artificial full nail cover 10 according to the invention. Artificial nail cover 10 is made of a transparent plastic material. The cover 10 is preferably made of ABS plastic, which can be trimmed and filed to a desired size and shape. The cover 10 includes a nail bed portion 11, and a nail tip portion 12. The nail bed portion 11 of the full nail cover 10 substantially corresponds to the full nail bed 21 of a natural fingernail and is applied over the nail bed of a natural fingernail. When the nail bed portion 11 is the same approximate size and shape of a full nail bed of a natural fingernail, the dividing line 13 between bed portion 11 and tip portion 12 corresponds to a transition line 23 of a natural nail from natural nail bed 21 to natural nail tip 22. In that case, the transition line 23 generally corresponds to the end of the finger 20 and the natural nail tip 22 is that portion of the natural nail that extends beyond the end of the finger.

[0028] Tip portion 12 is decorated with a continuous opaque decoration. “Continuously opaque” as used herein means decorations (primarily by way of color or shade) which have no breaks or discontinuities. Thus, tip portion 12 can be painted with an opaque paint 15, e.g. white, to resemble a French-style manicure, whereas the bed portion 11 remains substantially transparent. However, additional designs 14 may be applied over the bed portion 11 and tip portion 12 to enhance the nail's appearance so long as the bed portion 11 is left substantially transparent.

[0029] In an alternative embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the dividing line 13a between the bed portion 11 and the tip portion 12 is slanted in relation to the transition line 23 of the natural nail. In other words, the dividing line 13a begins on one side of the cover 10 at the transition line 23, but as the dividing line crosses the cover, it extends inwardly into the natural nail bed 21. Here too, the tip portion 12 is painted with an opaque paint 15, preferably white, whereas the bed portion 11 remains substantially transparent to give a modified French-style manicure appearance.

[0030] To apply nail cover 10 to a natural fingernail, a translucent pink adhesive 18, shown in FIG. 3, is applied to the nail bed portion 11 of the cover 10 in a conventional manner. The adhesive is preferably an ethylcyanoacrylate, but other adhesives could also be used. Nail cover 10 is then placed on the natural nail bed 21 on finger 20, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The natural nail tip 22 extends out under tip portion 12, but it is not visible through the cover 10 due to the opaque nail tip portion 12. However, because the nail bed portion 11 is substantially transparent, the natural nail bed 21 is visible through the bed portion 11. In this way, artificial nail cover 10 resembles a natural nail. Preferably, a transparent topcoat sealer 16 is applied over the entire artificial nail for protection.

[0031] Referring now to FIGS. 6-8 another alternative embodiment of the present invention in the form of an artificial nail tip 30 is shown. The artificial nail tip 30 is similar to the full cover 10 shown in FIGS. 1-5, however, the tip is applied only to the outer end of the natural nail bed 21 as shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. Artificial nail tip 30 is also preferably made of a transparent ABS plastic and comprises a nail tip portion 31 and a base portion 32. The base portion 32 of the tip 30 corresponds in size and shape only to the distal end of the natural nail bed 21 and is applied to end of the nail bid 21 and the tip 22 of a fingernail. Again, the tip portion 31 is coated with an opaque paint 33 to resemble a French-style manicure, whereas the base portion remains substantially transparent. Separating the tip portion 31 and the base portion 32 is a dividing line 34, which corresponds to the transition line 23 of the natural nail from natural nail bed 21 to natural nail tip 22. Here too, the dividing line 34 may be askew to the transition line 23, as discussed above and shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, and decorative designs 35 may be applied over the tip portion 31 and the base portion 32 by air brushing or other means.

[0032] As shown in FIG. 8, the nail tip 30 is attached to a natural nail with an adhesive so that the tip extends just into the natural nail bed 21, to create the look of a long natural fingernail. At this point, a translucent acrylic filler 36 is applied over the natural nail bed 21 to create a smooth transition to nail tip 30. The filler 36 is a standard powder material that is mixed with a liquid solvent and applied to the nail with a brush. The filler then quickly hardens into a transparent solid coating. The entire natural nail and nail tip 30 are then covered with a layer of translucent acrylic 37 to give a glossy attractive appearance and to enhance the look of design layer 32.

[0033] Similar to the nail cover 10 described above, the natural nail bed 21 is visible through the nail tip 30 because the base portion 32, the filler 36 and the outer acrylic layer 37 are all transparent. Likewise, because the tip portion 31 is opaque, the natural nail tip 22 is obscured when the artificial nail tip 30 is applied. The result is a beautiful looking nail in the form of a French-style manicure that appears very natural and attractive.

[0034] Referring now to FIGS. 9 and 10, in which same elements have same reference numerals, still another alternative embodiment of the present invention is shown. The artificial nail cover 40 shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 is similar to the full cover 10 shown in FIGS. 1-5. However, in addition to the bed portion 11 and the tip portion 12, the cover 40 is further provided with an opaque crescent-shaped lunula portion 42 opposite the tip portion. Thus, the cover 40 includes an opaque crescent-shaped lunula portion 42 at a proximal end thereof, an opaque nail tip portion 12 at a distal end thereof opposite the lunula portion, a substantially clear and transparent nail bed portion 11 between the lunula portion and the tip portion and a dividing line 13 between the nail bed portion and the nail tip portion. The crescent-shaped lunula portion 42 of the artificial nail cover 42 is also preferably coated with a white opaque paint, however, other colors can naturally be used.

[0035] The lunula portion 42 is provided to simulate the naturally whitish lunula, or distal portion of the natural nail matrix that is commonly visible under a natural fingernail. Another common term for the natural lunula is the “cuticle moon”. Because the natural lunula is often visible under some natural fingernails but not visible under others, it is desirable to provide a set of artificial fingernail covers having uniform lunula portions for improved cosmetic appearance.

[0036] Artificial nail cover 40 is also preferably made of a transparent ABS plastic with the tip portion 12 being coated with an opaque paint as described above. Thus, the base portion 11, located between the lunula portion 42 and the tip portion 12, remains substantially transparent. Separating the tip portion 12 and the base portion 11 is a dividing line 13, which corresponds to the transition line 23 of the natural nail from natural nail bed 21 to natural nail tip 22. Here too, the dividing line 13 may be askew to the transition line 23, as discussed above and shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, and decorative designs 14 may be applied over the tip portion 12 and the base portion 11 by air brushing or other means.

[0037] Similar to the nail cover 10 described above, the natural nail bed is visible through the nail cover 40 because the base portion 11 is clear and transparent. Likewise, because the tip portion 12 is opaque, the natural nail tip 22 is obscured when the artificial nail cover 40 is applied. In addition, the opaque crescent-shaped lunula portion 42 obscures the presence or absence of the natural lunula to provide a beautiful looking nail in the form of a uniform French-style manicure that appears very natural and attractive.

[0038] Referring now to FIGS. 11-14, still other alternative embodiments of the present invention are shown. The artificial nail covers 50 and 60 shown in FIGS. 11 and 13 are similar to the full covers 10 and 40 shown in FIGS. 1-5 and 9-10. The artificial nail tips 70 and 80 shown in FIGS. 12 and 14 are similar to the nail tip 30 shown in FIGS. 6-8.

[0039] Thus, the cover 50 shown in FIG. 11 includes a bed portion 52 at a proximal end thereof and a tip portion 54 at a distal end thereof opposite the bed portion. The bed portion 52 is sized and shaped to be attachable to the top surface of the natural nail. The tip portion 54 has a color 56 which is in contrast to the bed portion 52 of the cover 50. The color 56 may be applied over the tip portion 54 by air brushing or other means. The colored tip portion 54 thus obscures the tip of a natural nail when the cover 50 is applied thereto. However, as opposed to a discrete dividing line, the cover 50 further includes a transition portion 58 between the bed portion 52 and the tip portion 54. The color contrast between the tip portion 54 and the bed portion 52 gradually fades within the transition portion 56 of the cover 50. Thus, for example, if the tip portion 54 has a darker color than the bed portion 52, the color gradually lightens within the transition portion 56 from the tip portion to the bed portion until the color eventually blends into the bed portion.

[0040] Preferably, the nail bed portion 52 is substantially transparent so that the natural nail bed is visible through the nail cover 50. Thus, the color 56 of the tip portion 54 gradually disappears within the transition portion 58 as it approaches the transparent bed portion 52. However, the nail bed portion can alternatively have a second color in contrast to the first color 56 of the tip portion 54. In this embodiment, the two contrasting colors blend together within the transition portion 58. Moreover, the first color 56 of the tip portion 54 may include a glitter or sparkle incorporated therein to enhance the decorative effect.

[0041] The bed portion 52 of the cover 50 shown in FIG. 11 is sized and shaped to substantially correspond to the full nail bed of the natural nail. However, the present invention may also take the form of a nail tip 70, as shown in FIG. 12. Thus, the bed portion 72 of the tip 70 is sized and shaped to be attachable to only the distal end of the natural nail. Again, the tip portion 74 of the tip 70 has a color 76 which is in contrast to the bed portion 72. The colored tip portion 74 thus obscures the tip of a natural nail when the tip 70 is applied thereto. The tip 70 further includes a transition portion 78 between the bed portion 72 and the tip portion 74 wherein the color contrast between the tip portion and the bed portion gradually fades as discussed above.

[0042] FIGS. 13 and 14 show alternative embodiments of a cover 60 and a tip 80, wherein the bed portions 62 and 82 have a color 66 and 86 which is in contrast to the tip portions 64 and 84. In this embodiment, the colored bed portions 62 and 82 thus obscure the tip of a natural nail when the cover 60 or the tip 80 is applied thereto. Similarly, the cover 60 further includes a transition portion 68 between the bed portion 62 and the tip portion 64 and the tip 80 further includes a transition portion 88 between the bed portion 82 and the tip portion 84. The color contrast between the bed portions 62 and 82 and the tip portions 64 and 84 gradually fades within the transition portions 68 and 88 of the cover 60 and the tip 80.

[0043] Like the covers 10 and 40 and the tip 30 described above, the covers 50 and 60 and tips 70 and 80 are preferably one-piece injection molded bodies made from either a transparent, translucent or opaque material. Furthermore, the pre-fabricated covers 10, 40, 50 and 60 and tips 30, 70 and 80 can be provided to the consumer as part of a kit for adorning fingernails. Preferably, at least ten covers and ten tips of each variety are provided along with an amount of transparent adhesive, filler and top coating. The covers and tips provided in the kit will vary in size according to the different sizes of natural fingernails. A nail file and additional decorative decals can also be provided in the kit.

[0044] Although the illustrative embodiments of the present invention have been described herein with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to those precise embodiments and that various other changes and modifications may be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope or spirit of the invention.