Is it just us, or is this spring the springiest in recent memory?
With the warmer weather comes COVID-19 vaccines and the hope that we're actually emerging from this year-long quarantine madness. If you're feeling good from your head to your toes, why not show it off with some bright and joyful nail art?
Naomi Yasuda knows more than a thing or two about expressing herself with polish. The Brooklyn-based, Japanese-born nail artist has worked with some of the most fashionable names in music and entertainment, gracing the hands of Madonna and A$AP Rocky, Saweetie, Celine Dion, Rita Ora, Lala and Amanda Lepore, to name a few.
"I always loved doing my own nails since I was little," Yasuda says. "I made press on nails for all my friends and sisters when I was in high school."
Yasuda started her professional career in her hometown of Nagoya, but moved to NYC in 2008. She now works for herself, catering to clients with a fun and experimental eye from her studio in Williamsburg or via house-call appointments.
"My favorite part of my job is meeting people. I am so grateful that I get to meet so many amazing people through my work. Also it makes me feel so fulfilled when my clients tell me that my nail makes them feel so good and beautiful.
With 15 years of professional experience, she's learned how to turn dreams into living works of art and how to translate her process into something that's accessible for even the nail art novice. We caught up with Yasuda to find out what colors and designs she's feeling this season, and how you can recreate those styles for yourself.
Before you get started, Yasuda has some pro tips for you.
"Set up all the stuff you will need for your manicure first," she says. "Once you start painting nails, you can't touch anything. Painting with a non-dominant hand is very difficult. If you lay your hand on a flat surface, it makes it easier and your hand will be more stable."
With that in mind, you're ready to give these three looks a try!
"A lot of people started doing their own nails last year since the salons were forced to close for a while with the pandemic," Yasuda says. "I've seen a lot of people doing simple nail art on their natural nails. One of the trends I love is muted colors [like] sage green, browns, pale blue, burnt orange, etc. I love using multi colors and '60s or '70s inspired wavy designs with muted colors. It's easy to do and also it looks very chic."
To get this look, lay down your base coat and a base color of your choosing. Yasuda likes to use a clear base, but any color combination will do. Next, draw a wave line across your nail with a small nail art brush.
"The wave design is actually very achievable," Yasuda says. "The line doesn't need to be perfect. Imperfect lines make it interesting and cool."
"If you want to look different from others, a textured 3D nail is very cool," Yasuda says. "You can make a 3D effect by building gel or acrylic on the nails. it looks like water droplets or slime."
To recreate this style, grab your favorite gel polish and drop two to three layers of polish in the same spot. Layering the gel gives you more control over the shape you want to create, but just like the waves, there's no real way to mess up. If you are using gel, make sure to cure the gel one layer at a time. Gel is not hard until you cure it with UV or LED lamps, and if you skip the curing process, the polish will start to slide and lose its shape.
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“For people who love long nails, press-on nails are big right now,” she says. “A lot of people started using press on-nails last year because of the pandemic. You can get professional nails in five minutes, just pop them on before your Zoom meeting or a night out. If you use nail glue, it will last for a few days and looks amazing.”
Luckily for all of us, Yasuda collaborated with Sinful Colors and “Best Friend” rapper Saweetie on nine different designs for their Boss Up Claws pressie collection.
“It was really fun working with them,” she says. “The collection was inspired by sophisticated and confident professionals. We wanted to create something chic and simple yet fun and bold.”
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Photography by: Courtesy Naomi Yasuda