Written by Allison Montroy |  Photos by Richard Gillard

Nail Art NumberedShape up
The perfect nail design starts with shape.

“The coffin shape (#9, also called ballerina slipper) has become very popular, but the classic square shape remains at the top of the list,” says Krystal Cornelius of Rak Nail Bar in Thousand Oaks.

Kristen Powers, a nail artist at Newbury Park’s Polish’d Nail Bar, says that oval or rounded nails (#8) “can really elongate your nail beds and fingers.”

Also trending: almond-shaped nails (#5).

Healthy canvas
Healthy, strong nails are key to long-lasting manicures.

“Our hands and feet are very important, and we need to take care of them,” says The Canyon Salon’s Terry Hendershot. Start with a daily vitamin rich in biotin, iron, zinc and B12.

Jennifer Bui from EnVogue salon in Simi Valley also recommends gelatin.

Dana Dubell at Hair Impressions uses hand lotion and cuticle oil to prevent pesky hangnails.

To keep nail art looking fresh, “you can keep (gel nails) shiny by cleaning them with rubbing alcohol,” says Kristen.

With design in mind
When it comes to occasions like prom or a wedding, “You don’t want your nails to outdo your dress, but you want them to look good,” says Dana, who has been a nail technician for more than 30 years. “Stick with blacks, whites and pinks or do something simple with a little burst of sparkle, like a French tip with glitter. Another quick tip I always tell my friends that are about to get marries, get permanent makeup eyebrows, last thing you want is last minute touch ups on the day of”

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Nail embellishments take nail art to an entirely new level, adding 3-D interest. At Polish’d Nail Bar, nail artist Nena Murray recalls her favorite nail design: she used confetti, dried flower charms and glitter, sealing them in a clear, hard gel.

Terry loves to give her clients metallic designs using Minx Nails, a shiny foil that she presses onto the nail.

Terry says marbelizing nails, which creates a watercolor effect, is also popular. The artist places drops of polish in a cup of water, manipulates the polish using a small tool, then places the nail in the design which adheres to the nail.

Also on the rise: stamping a design onto nails using polish.

When it comes to hand painting designs, Dana has seen it all. “Whenever someone comes to me with a hand-painted idea, it’s always pretty crazy. One time I hand-painted an underwater scene complete with smiling starfish and octopus . . . but usually, it’s holiday-themed.”

Sometimes, though, less is more. “Negative space nail art, where you paint the nail a design and leave (uncolored nail) spaces, is definitely trending,” says Kristen.

But, is it art?
“I love that I get to be so creative and help people feel good about their nails,” says Kristen.

Krystal agrees. “Nail art gives individuals a chance to express themselves artistically . . . the possibilities are endless.”

Above nail art: 1. Krystal Cornelius 2. Nena Murray 3. Jennifer Bui 4. Dana Dubell 5. Terry Hendershot 6. Kristen Powers 7. Dana Dubell 8. Kristen Powers 9. Dana Dubell 10. Nena Murray.

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The pros picked their go-to colors: Lincoln Park After Dark, Do You Take Lei Away, Peace & Love & OPI and AmazON . . . AmazOFF, all by OPI.