A free and deep thinking Vietnamese manicurist
Alex Fox, its editor in chief, said in an article published in August that she was “intrigued and delighted” with the nail art created by the Saigon manicurist, also known as Quinada.
“I sense Quinada’s desire to tell a story through fusing ideas with abstract materials to build original structures on the end of the fingers,” she wrote.
“There’s no denying this nail artist is a free and deep thinking individual that has cleverly curated a powerful piece of art that puts hands and fingers at the core of its wide and compelling communiqué.”
According to Vn Express, Anh, 27, is a nail artist working mainly in Saigon. Though she has only around three years’ experience, her clients already include many celebrities.
She said her work is not easy, especially since she has chosen a niche of creating nail designs mainly for photography and performances.
|Dang Ngoc Quynh Anh appears in the August issue of the U.K.’s Scratch Magazine. Photo courtesy of Quynh Anh.|
“I had to support myself financially to open my studio. [But] I was quite reckless. Instead of the traditional salon concept, I focused on tailoring the quality of nail products and services [to individual customers]. I did private bookings, so in the beginning it failed 80 percent because there were few customers and costs were high.”
The collection that caught Scratch’s attention was created during social distancing period, she said.
“When making abstract nail designs, I spend a lot of time brainstorming, drawing and testing materials. The social distancing period allowed me time to be creative.”
The common prejudices against manicure work that it is manual labor and does not require much brain is not completely accurate, she said.
“When I lack an idea or motivation to work, I put everything aside, choose a movie or a novel or a favorite dish to regain my spirit.”
|A nail design concept in Dang Ngoc Quynh Anh’s ‘Futuristic’ collection. Photo courtesy of Anh.|
Vietnamese manicurists use their skills and knowledge to expand the nail industry
Visit a small-scale nail bar anywhere in the States or in London’s East End and there’s a big chance that it’s run by Vietnamese. These girls know nails.
The reason reads like a bit of a people power story; after the Fall of Saigon following the war in 1975 about 900,000 Vietnamese refugees settled in America where many female immigrants used their skills and knowledge to expand the nail industry there, resulting in the booming salon scene we see today.
Before that French style manicures were popular but only as a luxury indulgence. The new influx of competition made nail treatments affordable and the industry boomed with better products and system advancements enabling more experimentation, reported Cosmopolitan.
There is also a savvy UK Vietnamese community – largely in edgy east and south London, who are playing a big part in our nail art obsession, the biggest US beauty export of the last decade.
Whilst competitive prices have helped bring it into the mainstream, it can still be pretty punchy to get your nails done professionally in the west. Out here though in Vietnam’s capital – now known as Ho Chi Minh City – manicures, pedicures and nail art is more than affordable with prices starting at around $2 per treatment.
|Madam Nhu, a fashion icon of the early 1960s era seen with long, beautifully polished nails. Photo: VN Express|
|Nail salons behind Ben Thanh Market. Photo: Vn Express.|
The coolest nail trends for 2021
Pro nail artists break down their predictions for the trends and designs that are bound to be big next season. Their top takeaway: The impact of shelter-in-place orders and working from home amid the pandemic will linger well into the new year.
Learning to think outside the box was a necessity in 2020, and in 2021, people are going to apply that mentality to their manicures by painting each of their nails a different color. That’s what nail artist Elle (whose clients include Blake Lively, Emilia Clarke, and Laverne Cox) predicts. “This is for those that want to make a bold statement,” she tells Allure. And because the only skill this trend requires is knowing how to paint your own nails, it’s the easiest way by far to draw attention to your nails.
Plus, there’s no end to the different potential takes on this trend: Keep all of your polish in the same color family to create a light-to-dark ombré effect, use a color wheel to pick out complimentary shades, or let some of 2021’s new nail polish collections curate shades for you. Essie’s latest creation, the Not Red-Y For Bed collection, is a line of red, pink, and muted blues in glossy and metallic hues (and it launched early online). OPI and Olive + June will also be launching collections within the first couple of months of the year, so there’s plenty to look forward to.
With stress at an all-time high, people are looking for new ways to express themselves, and that’s why runway and editorial nail artist Gina Edwards foresees a spike in calligraphy and other hand-lettering on manicures soon. Given the A-list people who are already fans of this growing trend, she must be spot-on. Jennifer Lopez wore calligraphic nail-art to the American Music Awards in November, as did Billie Eilish in her “Therefore I Am” music video.
“Achieving this look at home works best on a press-on nail if you want to amp up your skills,” she advises. “If you don’t have a steady hand or the patience, a decal sticker is your next obvious choice.”
Static Nails make full sets of transparent press-on nails in all sorts of shapes and sizes — you can add your own hand lettering with nail polish and a fine-tipped brush. Otherwise, you can take the easy route with nail stickers in the font of your choosing (this old-English style from Amazon are intensely trendy).
Embellished and Pre-Painted Press-On Nails
Speaking of press-on nails… this easy DIY manicure technique made a major comeback in 2019 and only flourished more when we got caught at home in 2020. While salons were shut down, nail artists began commissioning custom press-on sets to send directly to their clients — in 2021, people are going to be trying it more on their own.
“These are going to be big because of the easy application — they deliver salon-quality nail art, which would normally take hours in a salon and be costly, at home,” Elle explains. “They are easy to change the shape, style, and shade, and last just as long.”
Nostalgia has also been a key factor of 2020 for obvious reasons; according to nail artist and OPI educator Sigourney Nuñez, that’s not letting up in 2021, either. “This is why there’s been a wave of a retro revival through manicures that give a nod to the ’60s and ’70s aesthetics,” she says. “This is expressed through rustic shades paired with pastel brights and graphic, swirly patterns that are therapeutic to execute.”
Some examples of shades that Nuñez has combined to create one of her groovy designs include OPI’s Alpaca My Bags, Coral-ing Your Spirit Animal, You’ve Got That Glas-Glow, and Suzi Talks with Her Hands — together, they create a soothing combination of beige, muted teal, and bright orange.
While we can’t sit in the nail salon right now, press-on nails can fake a pro mani at home. “Whether you go for a design or a basic shade, the application is easy, the look is flawless and they will last about three weeks,” she adds. “Keep in mind extensive nail art done in the salon can take hours and be expensive—press ons are ready to go and a fraction of the price.” Try this one from Chillhouse or check out Kiss Nails for more great options, Elle reported.