Manicures are the only beauty treatment I neglect. Facials? I book in eight times a year. Lash extensions? Every month. Hair? I recently spent four hours in Osaka in pursuit of the perfect digital perm without batting a (v long) eyelash. Nails, though, have long been relegated to “only on special occasions” status, when I have an upcoming vacation, a weekend of weddings or when I need extra mojo to make my day, and outfit, a little more extraordinary.
Although I’m quite content to leave my nails bare, when I do jazz them up with nail art, they instantly lift my spirits. I love to look down and see my decked-out digits. It definitely makes typing, applying makeup and eating chicken wings that much more delightful.
For me, long-lasting gel manicures are the only way to go, and I always enlist a pro because I’m too impatient to do them myself at home. (To put all that effort in painting both hands just to see them chip in a day, or worse, an hour, breaks my heart.) I especially love getting them done when I head back to Asia. In Seoul, I pay a special visit to my friend and nail queen Park Eun-kyung of Unistella and try out her innovative designs: #glassnails, #flowernails, #braceletnails. It adds a little something to the ‘gram when I document my daily coffee — and it’s also a perfect souvenir to bring home and shamelessly show off to my friends.
But recently, I realized that it’s been six months since I last got my nails done. Where did my mojo go?! Clearly, I needed to spice up my life in time for summer. I enlisted the genius of Rita Remark, essie’s global lead educator and a nail artist of unparalleled imagination. My only directive: Colour and kitsch, baby.
In the Kit studio, Remark — super chic in an all-black ensemble with a matte coral lip — examined my hands. Since I’m self-conscious about my nails, I was ready to spew out everything I hate about them, from my stubby fingers to my non-existent cuticle maintenance. Before I could say anything, Remark mused, “You have great nail beds.” Stumped by the compliment, I thanked her for something I didn’t know I could be proud of.
After Remark prepped my nails, we decided on a summer 2019 nail art design. The pink and black dots were inspired by the punchy lip colour I was wearing that morning. As she painted — and stamped on the mod-inspiring polka dots using the back of her makeup brush — Remark explained that getting a mani is the best way to keep nails healthy. She likens it to taking care of problem skin. “If you have cuticles that tend to grow over or grow in ragged, you need to give them a bit more attention. This can come in the form of regular manicures or by keeping cuticle oil handy.”
When Remark finished, I held up my hands, delighted. The experience made me rethink my approach to nails and nail art. I guess it’s not that hard to gussy them up with good ol’ polish from time to time — and it’s worth it because of how happy it makes me feel. The cheery design put a spring in my step the rest of the week. My friends gushed over how obsessed they were with the design, adding to the mojo. Oh, summer, you’re off to a great start already.
This $5 spray gives me more good hair days than ever
This hair foam gave me my dream curls
This is the most natural-looking bronzer of all time