During New York Fashion Week I sat down for a mini-mani with the high-in-demand manicurist to models at runway shows and publications—Julie Kandalec. Her work can be seen on the covers of Cosmopolitan and Blackbook and inside the issues of Seventeen, Allure, Teen Vogue, international issues of Vogue, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire and Shape, just to name a few. Not to mention countless runways, including Thom Browne‘s show earlier this month where she provided manicures to 30 models—giving them long, stiletto red nails!
During my 15 minute mini-mani, I learned that she’s a huge fan of the stiletto shaped nail—long and oval—because it elongates the nail and is very feminine. I learned that she has the most steady hand that I have ever seen. And that the nail art she created for me would answer a question I have often pondered, how do they do that? Here, I ask her for her favorite polish brands, nail salons and more!
Eliza: When did you start doing nails for runways and publications?
Julie: My first publication was in 2001 (it was hair actually!) and my first published nail art/work was in 2006. I started doing runway in 2008
E: Do you travel a lot for work?
J: I travel mostly for fun! A great thing about working for myself is that I can take off whenever I want. In the past two years I’ve gone to LA, Tokyo (Tokyo Nail Expo) Singapore, Dubai, and Beijing. Dubai was my favorite, closely followed by Tokyo. Japanese are so progressive with nails, it’s like Candyland to me.
E: How do nails differ in these other countries?
J: In Japan, they are all about gel nails. Almost no one works with liquid/powder (acrylic). They also love nails to the extreme—very long, pointed and with 3D designs, like bows, cupcakes, crystals and charms. In Europe, acrylic nails are more popular, with flat yet very detailed artwork. Floral designs are very popular.
E: There are so many different types of gel polishes out right now! How do I know which one is right for me?
J: What’s happening right now in salons is what I call “Band-Aid syndrome” meaning like when everyone calls a bandage a Band-Aid, when that’s the brand name! Same thing with Shellac—salons will call gel polish Shellac, when it’s not true CND Shellac. Ask and be sure of the actual brand name—this will be very important to know when it comes time to remove your gel polish.
Gel polishes are NOT created equal, and differ in more ways than just quality and color selection: Gel polishes are a hybrid of gel and polish. Some consist of more gel, some of more polish. They are also cured under different types of lamps- UV and LED.
Some gel polishes, like Gelish, have a 30 second cure per layer under LED and Shellac requires a 2 minute cure time under UV. But removal of them varies greatly—shellac simply soaks off; with Gelish, the top layer must be filed off to allow the remover to penetrate, and is a much longer and potentially difficult removal process.
Bottom line: It might cure quicker, but isn’t always quicker in the long run!
E: Japanese nail art is a huge trend in New York too! Any recommendations for places to go for this in the city?
E: What is you favorite color(s) to work with?
J: I love aqua! It reminds me of the ocean. It also is super fresh for spring and looks amazing on every skin tone.
E: Spring is almost here! What colors are you looking forward to for this season?
J: I’m so happy that pastels are back for spring. Lavender is a happy shade that compliments everyone yet is still appropriate for the office.
E: What are your favorite polishes to work with?
E: Are your services only for editorial and runway or can people make appointments with you?
J: Well, yes and no. I will make house calls for a special occasion but I’m so busy with editorial work that it is a rarity. I do see clients from time to time at Tenoverten in TriBeCa, a beautiful natural nails-only salon in lower Manhattan.
E: Where can people see more of your work?
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