Please welcome Nomin and Nomundari of Tokyo Nails Chicago. The fabulous gel-only nail salon turning out masterful tiny paintings on the daily.
We know feeling put together is a myriad of things, but when you have your nails freshly done it can really make you feel like you’re ready for anything!
We were able to talk with Nomin and Nomudandari about the looks they’re best known for and the trends their clients are asking for this season.
Follow Tokyo Nails @tokyonails.gel for beautiful nail inspiration on your Instagram feed and updates on new client bookings if you're in Chicago!
Tell us about Tokyo Nails. What are you best known for?
Tokyo Nails is all about bringing your creativity to life. We believe in working with you to envision the nails of your wildest dreams. Nothing is off limits: we’ve hand drawn pet dogs, recreated TV show scenes, and reimagined decals by creating swappable magnetic manicures. Beyond all that, what really sets us apart is our community. Our clients appreciate the creativity and craft behind their nails. They are passionate people who share a connection to one another. One of my favorite things to see in Tokyo Nails—and it happens everyday—is women uplifting each other. A first-time client makes a business connection with the person to her left; two clients finally meet after seeing each other tagged in our stories and complement each others’ taste. The community we have is really unique and centered around positivity and appreciation.
How did you get into the nail industry?
When we first got our nails done in Japan, we were amazed by the craftsmanship. Each nail is a work of art. No line is out of place, no dot is uneven, no design is out of reach. We wanted to bring this experience to the States. So, we worked at the best nail salons Chicago had to offer. Eventually, we started doing manicures on our own—putting to use the meticulous Japanese technique out of our apartment with just one manicure table. I think our business started to take off because all of our clients had the same awestruck moments that we had in Japan. Knowing that we can bring creativity and joy to the lives of our clients is what keeps us in love with nails.
Do you have an absolute favorite nail design you’ve done for a client?
It’s so hard to choose! The most ambitious designs can take hours so they are our labors of love. If I had to pick one set, it would be the magnetic nails I mentioned earlier! Our beloved client Belinda Chang is a James Beard winning sommelier who swaps out nail decals depending on events. Check out her Instagram @belinda_chicago to keep up with the way she customizes her sets! In the past, we’ve done fruit nails, Champagne bottles, wine glasses, and cheese platter items. It’s a treat every time she comes to switch it up!
What are some cool summer nail trends we should look out for and try?
Chromes are very in this summer. If you want to play it safe, sheer chrome nails are Hailey Bieber’s go-to. They are chic and match with all kinds of outfits but add some extra sass to your style. For something bolder, go metallic! Silver chrome will give you that mysterious, fashion-forward look on summer nights out. Another trend our clients have turning out this summer is textures I remember I used to ask clients to add a simple gem or ever a mix of matte and shiny finish and everyone would go with a simple French manicure. But today we have evolved with our clients and they’re loving raised and elevated nails. Rhinestones and crystals will take your nail game to the next level. Experiment with a gemstone decal on an accent nail. If you want to go all out my personal favorites are dried flowers and dollhouse decals!
What’s your go-to nail care tip?
Hydrated nails are strong nails! Your cuticles—the skin at the base of your nails—are very delicate. They are also the site of nail growth. So, if you manage the area by regularly moisturizing with cuticle oil, your nails will grow out stronger and healthier. Equally important is avoiding drying products on your nails. Limit the amount of acetone you use on your nails and opt for an e-file instead.
Share three words to describe your current style.
Comfy, simple and chic.
What outfit makes you each feel most confident?
It changes all the time! Because our line of work can get messy, we feel our best in something simple and put a lot of attention to our accessories and nails. When we do get polish on our clothing, we turn out a tie-dye. Some of those pieces are my favorite because they have character and a story. But mostly, being stylish for us means coordinating colors and creating silhouettes. We’ve also been loving sheer mesh and silk fabrics!
Can each of you share 2-3 of your favorite places to shop for clothes right now?
Nomin: My go-to’s are Nordstrom and Zara. I’ve been loving the neon colors in Zara’s new collections.
Nomundari: The Free People on Randolph near our salon has a great selection, but really I shop anywhere! I love to customize my clothes, so it’s mostly about the fabrics for me.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
A painter is only as good as her brushes! I’m excited to share our new gel polish line, Tokyo Gels has taken off. Our products follow the Japanese philosophy of meticulousness and care. We continue to work closely with chemists in Japan to create the healthiest and longest lasting polishes possible. We’re so excited to bring our vast color range to the American markets, so follow @tokyonails.gel and check out tokyonailschicago.com to keep up with our journey!