Nail care in Japan is a two billion yen industry. This covers nail-related services like nail art, products, and getting a license to become a professional nail artist/technician. This is because aside from nail art being an avenue for self-expression for both students and office ladies (who sometimes still have uniformed jobs), it’s also a significant part of some of the country’s rich fashion subcultures.
Compared to Western nail art which mostly makes use of acrylics, Japanese nail art uses gel polish. Japanese nail art designs are also often freehanded with embellishments like fake rhinestones or jewels added depending on the preference of the wearer. This makes almost every nail art unique, instead of it being a copy of a popular nail trend at a certain time.
Ready to learn more about the craft? Here are Japanese nail artists on Instagram to follow.
Mei Kawajiri is the go-to nail artist of Gigi Hadid, Hailee Steinfeld, and many other Hollywood personalities. She’s also worked with fashion brands like Moschino and Balenciaga to dress models’ nails. Her style ranges from simple and wearable to exotic The looks are freehanded by Mei. She’s also usually seen sporting eccentric nails herself’ the designs sometimes feature weirdly shaped tips or nails decorated with — wait for it — piercings.
If flowers are more up your alley, follow the queen of pressed flower nail art, Naoko Takano. Naoko, who is known for her intricate flower nail art design, also creates some of the most beautiful small-detailed nail art styles. Her work has graced Elle Japan and Vogue Japan’s pages. Most of her designs feature elegant earthy and jewel-toned colours.