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."
"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!).
"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!