I Asked Australian Designers Where They Get Their Nails Done

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“As long as I have a new game, I feel sane.”

You can tell a lot about a person from their fingernails. For example, clean, light pink trimmed shorts that say “job interview” or “glamorous mom” (the difference depends entirely on the shine level). A very shiny black varnish, covering both the nail and the cuticle, called “softboy skater” or “teenager with angst”.

Judging by the bloody cuticles and disastrous nail beds, my claws usually say “nerve wreck” (correct). Right now I’ve managed to grow little white tips on my fingernails and the dirt underneath says “I was at a festival this weekend”. No, there were no showers. I’m slowly moving away from the “ugly fingers” stage of my life, but it’s a slow process.


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Like a nice spray tan, a cool blowout, or matching undies and bra, beautiful nails mimic an overall air of “put together” — something I see frequently on my Instagram feed. In an effort to shatter my lackluster greenhouses, I asked local creatives about their favorite nail artists.

Jae Besorio, photographer and illustrator

I get my nails done once a month by my dear friend Britt at the Peachi Nail Bar. I’ve been a customer there since day one since Britt started her business in Melbourne a few years ago – I’ll never have my nails done by anyone else again. I take my nails very seriously and honestly don’t know who or what I am without them. It sounds dramatic, but I’d rather go out with messy hair and no makeup. As long as I got a new game, I feel sane [laughs].

I really love that Britty is always willing to try anything. I can take inspiration from absolutely anywhere (depending on my mood) and we’ll create new designs together on the spot. She never disappoints.

We always try to make my next set better than the last. [laughs], so it’s a lot of fun! Plus, these sessions basically come with free therapy because we chat all the time and she has these two cute little Chihuahuas snuggling up to you in the chair. What more can i say?

@jae__bunny

Bridie Alman, co-founder of Flowerbed Nails

Beauty Shura in Glebe is the best of the best. The team’s artistic attention to detail and ability to bring any combination of references to life is *chefs kiss*. I also love the team at Bondi Nails on Bondi Rd. Crimson and I often go with our Flowerbed sheets and get some fun gradients or color tips, working with the team to incorporate our decals into shellac designs.

@bridiealman

Hëna Memishi, professional movement artist

I love expressing myself through nail art and see it as a form of self-care. Due to confinement, I couldn’t make it to the salon and decided to learn on my own. I always find myself doing variations on the classic French tipping – oh, and the more gems and jewelry the better!

@memishi.nails

Sohan Judge, Digital Creator and Senior Publishing Strategist at Buzzfeed

I visit Vic at Mannequin Hands in Newtown for my nails. Vic is a literal artist, her hand painted designs are so detailed and crisp. Plus, it preps my cuticles like no other, has amazing color selection AND tastes great. Vic uses gel, which is why I went to see her in the first place – I was sick of shellac, SNS and acrylic ruining my nails. Now my nails are natural, healthy and vibrant!

@sohanjudge

Katherine Rose, stylist, photographer and founder of Pure Obsession

I get custom sets from my friend Kaysia, who runs Melbourne-based nail brand Slower Hands. She is incredibly talented and detail oriented. Each design is so high fashion with the coolest textures, colors and themes – I love her eye.

What I love about having a few sets to reuse and choose from is that I can choose to wear them for an event – if I want a temporary option – or stick them in place until a week. His custom squeeze sets are available for purchase from Error404.

@rosepure

Alivia McNamee, digital designer and makeup artist

If I don’t paint them black myself, I buy hand painted press studs from Mannequin Hands. I love them, they’re super sick and unique – plus they don’t harm my natural nails.

@aliviamcnamee

Juju K, multidisciplinary creative

I love going to Peachi Nail Bar! Brit is super talented and does amazing hand painted nail art. She uses Gel X, which I love because it does minimal damage to my natural nail but lasts as long as acrylic. Her attention to detail and her patience are like no other!

@ honey.juju

Ruby Staley, Freelance Writer

I love getting my nails done, I just don’t feel like myself without a pair of claws. I’m not picky about where I make them; I usually head to La Belle on Johnston St because it’s close to my house. Although once I get the chance, I really want to try Horni Nails. Caity is a nail genius and I’m obsessed with all of her designs.

@rubystaley_

Montanna Paige, stylist and performer

Horni Nails is my go-to nail salon and one-stop-shop for all things creative, empowering, inspiring and liberating. It’s not your usual nail salon, it really is an experience.

Cait (the creative genius behind Horni Nails), has a unique gift for meeting your creative, emotional and spiritual needs. It is excellent for incorporating color; the driving force of our emotions/chakras.

In conclusion, Horni Nails is the ONLY one. It’s an experience you won’t regret. To walk through that door feeling the sexiest, most powerful and most confident… what more could you ask for?

@montannapaige__

For this year’s biggest nail trend predictions, head here.

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