Get Your Nails Did
I’ve been getting my nails done since high school. When I was 16 I would trek up to Eglinton West to a little Vietnamese-run salon that was packed to the gills with ghetto girls, their men and sometimes their babies. The place smelled of acetone and the best airbrusher (it was ALL about air brushing then) was a guy who chain smoked in the back. Back then I would get long square-shaped acrylics with Greek-wedding white airbrushed french tips and an airbrushed flower with a pink rhinestone on the ring fingers of each hand and a pierced ring on at least one pinky; gah-sometimes with a gold Playboy bunny hanging from it. There was some serious 90s status in those nails, and I LOVED going up there every two weeks. I’d always wear my best fur trimmed powder blue suede jacket and have my hair done. I never wanted to look gnarly in front of those gold-teethed ghetto girls with curly nails.
These was seriously the nails I wished I was black enough to pull off back then.
When I went to university, sadly the nails had to go. But I kept my natural nubs in top form right through till I moved to Toronto in 2002/03 and got back into them. By then Scarborough was the place to go for nails, and DJ Barbi Castelvi got me back into my roots. Electro was back in, and hand-painting was THE game. There was at least two full years of long-ass squared nails with fluorescent tips and hand-painting going on.
Somewhere along the way, I went to Japan and spent 2 FULL hours at a nail salon (and $70 CND) getting my marzipan on (you couldn’t get it anywhere here in Toronto at the time) only to have that shit fall off within days of returning home. I barely got the bragging rights.
Then I turned 30 and I felt like I had to grow up, take out my piercings, get rid of my nails and start living like an adult. Of the stupid things I gave up during that two years was: short hair (I grew it out for two excruciating years of constant hockey hair), flair, and my ghetto nails-I did however continue to get weekly manicures, they were just corporate wasp.
This summer, all bets were off. After two years of living like the adult I thought I should be, I finally came to my senses and just became the adult I am. Starting with dem nails. I eased into it this time with a corporate shorter oval.
But of course that wasn’t gonna last. The mint green and neon followed shortly after. Then I started bringing pictures into the lovely 8-month pregnant Vietnamese lady who does my nails across the street from my house. She can do anything I ask, but her own ideas include flowers and sparkles and all kinds of girly things that don’t make the statement (baws) that I’m looking for.
The new style is to mix it up. And pointy. Pointy like weapons. Rihanna and Gaga have brought ghetto nails to the masses (read white rock bitches), but the best salons are still run by women who have their technique down, but don’t quite know how to make them more rock and roll. Enter Pinky’s Nail Salon. It’s the brain child of Lizzie Renaud, who also owns Speakeasy Tattoo on Harbord St. The artists are ON POINT with their nail art too.
I looked through the colour wheels and me and the artist came up with some base colours and looks and decided that we wanted them randomly done rather than corresponding fingers on each hand, i.e. matchy matchy. What’s great about Pinky’s is that all the artists are ARTISTS, so their input is amazing. Some of the drawbacks though are: time-it took 1.5 hours to do my nails at Pinky’s. At any other salon they could fill, shape and paint them in an hour. They do acrylics, but not gels (yet). And there’s a certain newness to the technique: I had remnants of paint on my cuticles, they didn’t have fans to dry top coats, and the towels that I lay my hands on instead of paper towels messed up the paint job more than once. But the designs and the studs are WORTH IT! Big time. NO ONE else has gold square studded jewels, or tiny gold balls like caviar. No one is coming at it from the simple rock and roll perspective of crosses and zippers and entire nails in studs, and no one is doing girls with short nails in this way.
I give Pinky’s a 3 out of 5 right now, based solely on the strength of the art. Give them 3-6 months and they’ll have the rest down pat fo sho.
Here’s my process:
Before: I got my nails shaped and painted simply by my girl a la Lana Del Rey
Then the colours, the hand airbrushing, and finally the jewels!
Pinky’s is located at 688 Richmond St West (just West of Tecumpseh). Call to make an appointment at: 647.787.9521
Check their Tumblr for drool-worthy nails. And let the one-upmanship begin.