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No Ordinary Nails

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Rhinestones, cupcakes, Hello Kitty, Elmo, oh my. For those who thought wearing black nail polish was adventurous, their nails have yet to scratch the surface of design options. Manicures are in the midst of a renaissance with a wave of nail bed creations elevating hands into works of art and giving brides-to-be alternatives to the safe, bland French manicure.

In recent years, interest in Japanese 3D art and embedded designs has boomed at nail salons in New York, Las Vegas, Seattle and Los Angeles. Celebrities, such as Lady Gaga and Alicia Keys, have tried their hand at the trend – also known as “Ghetto Fabulous Nails” – that’s popular in Japan’s fashionable Harajuku corridor.

How it works is customers first get a manicure, often a gel manicure that’s thicker and holds the art, then the design bonanza begins. Customers can opt for rhinestones and glitter or acrylic-made bows, charms and flowers that are applied for a raised effect. A recent bride pimped out her hands with a deck of cards in preparation for her Las Vegas wedding, according to Nina Werman, co-owner of Valley, a New York-based nail salon and boutique.

“We see brides asking for everything from cleaner styles to crazy looks,” Werman says. “It just depends on their personal style.”

Brides can mute the eye-catching effect by choosing to enhance one or two nails on each hand. Another option is for brides to stick to traditional two-dimensional manicures. At Nail Art in Las Vegas, real pieces of lace or crushed sun-dried flowers are placed under the acrylic polish. Native Touch nail salon in Burien, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, offers inlaid glitter and crushed seashells in its designs made with Light Concept Nails, a resin-type product that’s a safer alternative to acrylics.

Such bling can cost brides time and money. Usually, allow for up to two hours for the nail appointment. Prices vary depending on how extensive the art is. On top of the gel manicure itself, most salons may charge $3 to $15/nail, depending on the tier of difficulty in creating the looks. Each nail can range from simple stripes to a kaleidoscope of bejeweled, painted, adorned and/or pierced digits.

Nail experts suggest that brides get their nails done as close to the wedding as possible, usually within two to three days. Brides also are welcome to bring their bridal gowns to the appointment so nail technicians can coordinate the nail art with any wedding themes and fashions.

“The options are endless,” says Michelle Duong, a nail artist at Nail Art. “These are hand-made creations applied with a free hand so brides shouldn’t be afraid to ask for anything new or different.”

© Brides 365

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