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History Of Nail Polish Essay

784 words - 4 pages

Anywhere you go in the world today, you see women with nails that are painted in so many different colors and designs. Nail polish dates back to the 1920’s when the first modern day nail varnish was invented by the Charles Revson Company. This particular invention has impacted the cosmetics market for women, because every women who wants to be stylish and express themselves in a fun way, buys nail polish. Nail varnishes have many components to make it both safe and user friendly. Some of the chemical components consist of: film forming agents and resins such as nitrocellulose, tosylamide and formaldehyde. Also, plasticizers are used for flexibility and solvents to keep the polish in a liquid form, along with different pigments for colors and shine. There are many more components that go into nail polish that will be explained later in this paper.
Nail polish may seem like a simple invention in today’s world but think about the process inventors went through to make it user friendly and safe. One of the main components in nail polish is nitrocellulose. Nitrocellulose is a long lasting film forming agent. (Madnani 2012) It’s made from nitrated cellulose derived from plant cells. Cellulose is a naturally occurring component in the cell wall of green plant, most often cotton plants. Fibers of the cotton are ground so small that they don’t have to be removed from the product.(Winkler 2013) Cellulose is nitrated to form an ester, thus, nitrocellulose if formed. Nitrocellulose is one of the most useful film forming agents known for coatings, film, ink and adhesive industry. (“Cosmetics Info” 2013) It is used in nail polish for its durability, toughness, solubility and quick solvent release under ambient drying conditions. Also used because of its excellent adhesion to the natural nail and makes it an indispensable ingredient in nail lacquer. Nitrocellulose by itself is very brittle and sticks poorly, but with other ingredients you can achieve a good coating. The other ingredients in nail polish form a solvent along with nitrocellulose and pigments. Once the solvent has evaporated the nitrocellulose and pigment dry to a hard finish. The chemical structure is made up of nitric esters of cellulose and is highly flammable. The vapor pressure in nitrocellulose for ethanol, isopropanol and n-butanol is 20...

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