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Nail Art Splashes Onto the NYC Scene

By DNAinfo Staff on July 16, 2012 8:28am

INWOOD — Nail art is painting the town this season, with funky colors and designs beating out the single-color look on hands across the city.

The Nail Lounge in Inwood has been using the nail as a canvas for almost three years. Owner Qiana Aviles said she believes nail art is so successful because it’s an affordable way to stay stylish. 

“Nails are considered an accessory,” she said. 

The popularity of nail art is also tied to its versatility, as there’s a style for everyone — whether it’s a professional look or something bold and crazy, Aviles explained.

At the Nail Lounge, several customers ask for the latest styles in nail art every day. Nail artist Claritza Martinez, 28, has worked at the Inwood salon for three months, but has been painting nails for almost a decade, in Miami and later in The Bronx.

Using lines makes the brighter colors pop and adds to the
Using lines makes the brighter colors pop and adds to the "tribal" art look.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

Martinez said she has watched several nail trends evolve and gain popularity. “Nails are just so part of fashion right now,” she said. 

Martinez said there are three popular trends that might appeal to everyone:

Tribal Nails

“This is for fashionably loud people,” Martinez noted. The daring look uses lots of contrast, color blocking and bold colors. Bright-colored lines and shapes are painted over a "pop-out" base coat, followed by black uniform lines that add to the tribal look. “It’s very in right now. Very, very in,” Martinez said. 

Aviles said she sees at least 10 to 15 women on the weekend asking for tribal nail art. “Now you even see conservative women trying new ideas,” she said.

Mosaic Nails

This bold trend has become extremely popular over the past year. Martinez said it’s a good look for a night on the town. “It’s not over-the-top, but it’s very fashion forward,” she explained. The "mosaic" starts with a base “pop-out” color, like hot pink or electric blue. Smaller squares of bright colors are added over the base in a mosaic-like pattern, creating a fun, quirky look. While the summer mosaic look calls for bright, floral tones, people often opt for dark and nude tones as fall and winter approach.

Glitter Gradient Nails

Using simple tones and a light coat of glitter, this trend creates a subtle yet stylish look. “Some people don’t like to be too crazy,” Martinez said of the style. She added that the "Glitter Gradient" is popular among working professionals who are looking for an office-appropriate style. With a pale base color, like gray or light pink, glitter polish is then swept across the nail, allowing it to fade out as it reaches the cuticle.