Nailed It

While at dinner a few weeks back, I admired the gel nails my gal pal had. Being a long time admirer of gel nails, I asked her what who did her nails, as I’m constantly on the hunt for a better nail salon. I was floored and jealous when she informed me that she did them herself! When I worked in New York, several of my students were also talented in doing their own nails, mildly shaking my confidence.

During my time in Japan, nail art was popularized by the TV talents and pop singers reigning the airwaves like Shoko NakagawaAkkina MinamiKumi KodaGyaru Sone, & Suzanne. After moving to Tokyo, I finally plucked up the courage to go and get my nails done a couple of times at Fasciere in Omotesando (thanks to my colleagues’ help), and upon relocating to New York, I discovered Nail Spa Sakura. I do miss flicking through the whimsical collections of art work in magazines such as Nail VenusNail UP! & Nail Max.

Kudos, to Japanese specialty magazine,  NailUP! for creating a free app (and a full version for $3.99) in which a light version of the magazine can be enjoyed! This is a nice and convenient way to take the magazine along with you, without having to carry the actual glossy. Additional bonus points should be awarded for iPhone and iPod Touch compatibility, and not simply limiting the product to the iPad like many US magazines. (We’ll see how long I go before I download the full version.)

{ Subtle Design }

Despite my love for colorful, glittering, ornate Japanese nail art, they are a big no-no when it comes to uniform compliance. However, I have seen colleagues with very discreet designs and color combinations, which caught my eye, but flew under the radar. I came across the elegant, detailed work of “Nailist Tomoko“, a beautifully talented nail artist in Shibuya, Tokyo (one of my favorite places to play). Here are a few designs of hers I’m head over heels for (page is in Japanese only):

Pastel Chevrons (Swiss Manicure)

Four Color Paisley French

Lilac Gradation + White Flowers

As a flight attendant, hands are one of our most valuable tools, however their presentation is constantly under scrutiny. The durability of gel manicures out classes the standard manicure which in my line of work, can be destroyed in the matter of one boarding process. They provide the protection of acrylic manicures without the stripping and nail damage which comes along with such a commitment. Investing in my own materials will provide me the opportunity to enjoy the salon experience without the price tags. In the event I can afford a trip to a nail salon while on my Japan layovers, then I can truly treat myself to some beautiful artwork.

Even better, I just discovered a Japanese owned & operated nail salon a block away from my apartment in Honolulu. Today at 11AM, I head over to Salon Glitter to get my preliminary set, so as to foster length. (During the move to Hawaii, my nails took a beating, and I lost the lengths I had finally grown.) The atmosphere reminds me of Nail Spa Sakura in New York City, where I’d go on my Mondays off to treat myself to a nice set of CalGel nails (If you go, I’d recommend the Upper East Side shop and make an appointment in advance.)

Note: Lead photo (c) Sofi Salon, Russia

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