By Angela Melero
Gone are the days of the simple pink-and-white acrylic treatments for everyday nails or the occasional red polish for a little spontaneity. These days it seems that hands are a new place for personal style and art to collide, with a new trend popping up every day from the colors and textures to the ingredients and finishes—and nail fanatics are eager to try their hand at them all.
Show Your Colors
The thrill associated with showing up to an appointment five minutes early to browse rows of colored bottles has been vaulted to an entirely new level, as custom nail designs have transformed the basic manicure into an art form. Beyond various colors and patterns on individual nails, 3-D accents, glitters and nail wraps are also decorating these small canvases. And the use of gel or shellac polish helps the creations last up to two weeks without chipping.
“Manicures [and] pedicures featuring shellac or gel polish are very popular in our spa because they last longer and don’t require tools such as a drill,” says Kiomarie Acevedo, cosmetologist and nail expert for Mandara Spa at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Fla.
Salon-goers who still prefer one color for all 10 digits can experiment with chic hues and textures. For instance, sand-like finishes and matte top coats are unique ways to add some variety to an otherwise modest manicure. Color palettes are also bursting with deep hues like purples, greens and blues that can be donned for any occasion, replacing the standard French manicure.
“French manicures are becoming less popular, since there are such a wide variety of colors and designs available,” says Natacha Richard, aesthetician at Julien Farel Restore Salon and Spa at Loews Regency Hotel in New York City. “I see many women straying from light, conservative colors and exploring brighter, bolder shades.”
The shape of the nails is another way to enhance a manicure look. Many nail lovers are opting for a shorter, more natural approach over the long faux-nail look. “A lot of people are exploring different shapes,” explains Margo Falevich, a nail technician at Julien Farel. “Many women used to only request square-shaped nails and now they are asking for round or square with rounded corners.”
In an effort to cater to its adventurous spa-goers, Julien Farel features an extensive nail care menu that combines upgraded indulgences with nail services to offer more than just color.
“[Clients] want to see results,” Richard says. “More and more clients are asking for gels, scrubs and masks for softer skin. Many clients ask for our Power manicure or Power pedicure, which offers our Power peel [glycolic peel] or microdermabrasion with your nail service. The Power peel hydrates the skin and gets rid of dry calluses. The microdermabrasion effectively exfoliates, removing dead skin to reveal softer, fresh skin to absorb high quality, nourishing ingredients.”
At Balance Spa at Loews New Orleans Hotel, the platinum pedicure is a 75-minute service with major pampering. It includes a botanical foot soak, calf and foot massage, and deep moisture mask with a hot towel wrap. To conclude, the treatment is topped off with polish or a buff.
Anti-aging components are also on the rise in nail care, as more youthful skin is desired for the entire body, not just the face. “The first signs of aging are in the hands, so my clients absolutely love our skin tightening and plumping treatment,” says Oksana Shenker, an expert aesthetician at Julien Farel. “This treatment instantly makes hands look and feel younger.”
In line with a more eco-conscious mindset, nail industry experts have realized the ingredients in nail polish are just as important as its colorful exterior. And clients are increasingly making health and sustainability a top priority when it comes to selecting salon products.
“People are now noticing the quality in nail polish,” Shenker explains. “Many clients ask for chemical-free and formaldehyde-free polishes so they don’t damage or ruin their nails.”
Nutrient-rich ingredients are also a plus in treatments at Julien Farel, Shenker adds. The salon and spa’s vitamin C foot scrub is a favorite among clients, as it’s packed with hydrating antioxidants and makes for an ultra-relaxing service.
Staying on top of the latest nails trends is no easy task, but the nail professionals at Loews Hotels & Resorts say it’s key to providing the ultimate experience to nail-savvy clients. “Social media is a great tool for keeping up with trends,” Richard explains. “[Additionally,] seeing my clients every day and hearing their nail concerns and requests keeps me in the loop on the ever-changing nail industry.”
Warm up your hands this season with these pigment-intense hues that offer a hint of shine.
Chanel Le Vernis in Lotus Rouge, $27, chanel.com
Butter London West End Wonderland, $15, butterlondon.com
Essie Velvet Voyeur, $8.50, essie.com
OPI Ski Teal We Drop, $9.50, ulta.com
SpaRitual Smoke ‘n Mirrors, $12, sparitual.com