duck feet nails

Duck feet nails are what's hot at I Candy Hair Studio in Fresno, California.

Celebrities like Ke$ha, Rihanna and Katy Perry have been known to add a little self-expression to their digits with elaborately decorated nails, but the trend isn't merely sweeping Hollywood, it has worked its way across the country into small town salons as well.

New York City-based manicurist Julie Kandalec, whose work recently graced the hands of Brooklyn Decker on Esquire's February 2011 cover, has always loved getting creative at work, but picked up on the budding trend on a trip overseas.

"This new wave (of nail art) I just noticed about two years ago when I went to Hong Kong," she says. "Then I was in Japan in November for the Tokyo Nail Expo and, over there, holy cow! They use crystals, glitter, 3D and Hello Kitty... it's wild. It's really, really cool."

Proof that literally everything is in 3D these days, Kandalec explains what the term means in relation to nail art.

"Basically it's when you place anything that stands out from the nail -- maybe a charm, a crystal or sculpted flowers made with colored acrylic," she describes. "It can be anything you can find in a bead store, things that aren't even really designed for nails. For example, the Japanese love Hello Kitty so we could use Hello Kitty buttons or anything like that which sticks out from the nail."

Japanese 3-D Nails

Japanese 3-D nails are the hottest manicure look at Saint K Nail Salon in Gardena, California.

In Fresno, California, iCandy Hair Studio has been promoting their own brand of extreme nail art for the past four years, since the space first opened for business. Nail technicians offer up a variety of unique tip shapes and designs like their moon, duck or stiletto options, as well as, innovative nail art that is often at the request of the client.

"We customize most of our nail art here," says iCandy's Michelle Yang, a 13-year veteran of the nail business. "Whatever they want from characters to simple polka dot patterns, they bring in the artwork for the pattern and we try to duplicate it the iCandy way onto their nails."

We loved iCandy's work so much at StyleList, that we featured them in "Hot in My Salon" a video series highlighting the best of America's salons (see their video here!).

Color French manicure

Color French manicures created by manicurists at Tootsies in Burlington, Vermont.

Nearly 3,000 miles away at Tootsies in Burlington, Vermont, where the area's clientele tends to lean more towards the conservative, some patrons are still going for a non-traditional approach to their nails, but in a much quieter way. Last year the salon found their unconventional French manicure using various shades of gray was a big hit.

"Gray was such a popular color last year for nail polish and clothing that when we had down time we would just kind of hang out and experiment with different grays and silvers to find out what looked good," says Tootsies' Beth Estey. (On video here.)

While the Vermont shop doesn't create extreme nail art per se, they are excited about a new shatter top coat from OPI that can be applied over color so that it looks like broken glass.

"I think that' s going to be something really popular here because it doesn't require you to do specific nail art but it gives a really custom look," says Estey.

The product is also perfect for those who simply don't have the patience for a nail masterpiece to be created, which Kandalec admits can take anywhere from 30 minutes up to four or five hours, depending on the intricacies.

Get a jumpstart on the hottest spring nail art trends!