Unless you've been hiding under a rock (or are an avid nail bitter) you know that nail art is one of the biggest beauty trends at the moment. Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are blowing up with bloggers that focus solely on your digits; beauty stores are stocking at home gel kits and nail wraps in bulk. In recent years we've had the biggest selection of polishes ever seen: metallic, textured, neon, crackle, matte, glitter—you name it, we have it. Luckily "Queen of Nails", celebrity manicurist and reality TV star Katie Cazorla gave me the inside scoop on tips and tricks, future trends, and what makes her new color system so awesome.
If you've seen TV Guide's reality show Nail Files, then you'd recognize Katie in an instant. The bubbly owner of L.A's salon, The Painted Nail is an absolute expert when it comes to manis—and business. Moving to California with the dream of making it big left her more destitute than any Hollywood fairy tale would have lead her to believe was possible. Doing stand up comedy on open mic nights and working four jobs had Katie scraping together every penny just to get her nails done "I remember thinking...even if I don't have a lot of money, and even if I just feel junky—having my nails done always made me feel fancier." After hitting 30 she started anew with a goal of opening a business where every woman could have this perfectly polished feeling; now with her own gel color system kit, TV series and a new salon on the way, she more than exceeded that aim, and she couldn't be happier. Katie gushed, "for 2 months I was living in my car in the Balley's Total Fitness parking lot, which coincidentally, my new nail studio is across the street in the new W Hotel...so I feel like it's meant to be. I stood out there and was like 'YES!'"
Recently releasing her brand new at-home gel kit, Color Flash, Katie is gearing up to be a household name. The set is easy to use, won't damage your nails and is the official nail polish of Virgin America (because that's a thing!) Fragrance free, acetone free and quick, she suggested I try it on my next flight for "perfectly polished nails at 30,000 feet." The system doesn't utilize a base coat, top coat, bonder—anything; you literally swipe on one layer of color, pop it under the light and go.
"It's not a professional gel system, meaning that all these at-home gel systems that they put out aren't the best for people nails because that's a professional product, and a nail technician should be applying it" she says, pointing out that her system is made for the average consumer. It stays for up to two weeks, (if you want the same color that long) but comes off just as easily without the use of harsh damaging chemicals. "I can't wear My Little Pony nail decals under gel for 3 weeks—what if I have to go to someone's wedding?" she laughed, "the point of nail color is you should be able to change your color like you change your mind, like you change your outfit; it's an accessory."
For tips and tricks Katie suggests maintenance between both at-home and salon manicures. "Whenever you get out of the shower always clean around your cuticle and underneath your nail...you're gently pushing your cuticle back rather than waiting for two weeks, going to a nail salon and having them cut it off with nippers, which is not the way to do it." For DIY Katie had a plethora of ideas using lemons, olive oil and coconut oil that ranged from hair flyaways to sun spots, but she flipped over cuticle oil, "I cannot say enough good things about cuticle oil!" Claiming to have over 100 bottles at home, she suggests using it between services to freshen up manis and pedis, plus it's extra moisturizing for any dry areas on your hands and feet.
Already being a big nail art fan, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ask Katie about her favorite current and upcoming trends for our polished tips. "I'm really into the Japanese nail graphics," she started excitedly, explaining they're micro thin decals that you can mix, match and layer to create your own custom designs. 3D nail art and nail tattoos (which are basically a transfer for your nails) are other trends that she can't wait to put on all her clients; she goes on naming other brands she loves and is already planning to stock in her new salon. "Nail art I've heard is a dying trend...that's totally not true. Nails are a hot item and they're here to stay; it's part of our beauty regimen and a very quick and easy way to accessorize and keep yourself looking polished."
For upcoming seasonal trends she kept mum, but dropped a few hints about what to look for: nail solutions. This fall is all about "things that are tailored to help women out who are in a hurry, who have busy lives, and it's not about just being able to go sit at a salon for 2 hours getting pampered—which is very exciting!"
Katie Cazorla's Color Flash is available online and is priced at $110. The Painted Nail in the W Hotel, Hollywood will be opening fall of this year with the reality show Nail Files coming back to TV with Season 3.