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10 Australian creatives on where they get their IG-worthy manicures

IMAGE VIA @FLEX.MAMI/INSTAGRAM
WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

“When my nails are done, my alter ego comes out. No matter what I’m wearing, I always feel put together and hot with a new set.”

There are few feelings better than having freshly done nails. Post-salon trip, I always possess a sparkly confidence (and have an immediate desire to take an obnoxious amount of hand photos).

A new pair of talons really does wonders for the ego – you feel pulled together, shiny and sexy. It’s the key to unlocking your inner hot girl, and can make even the most mundane outfit noteworthy.


For more hair and beauty features, check out our Beauty section.


There are certain people I follow on Instagram who, unlike me, seem to always have their nails in perfect condition. The type of people who have a regular manicurist they go to, and who match their nails to their outfits.

Eager to pick their brains on all things nail-related, I asked 10 Australian creatives to reveal the secrets to their Instagram-worthy manicures.

Christina Karras, freelance writer

 

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A post shared by Christina Karras (@christinalkarras)

What is your go-to design?

When in doubt, I love a brightly coloured French tip – the variations are endless.

What is your go to place?

I normally go to my trusty local salon, Nelson Nails in Williamstown, where the technicians are so patient and do an amazing job with my requests. It’s often a really fun collaborative process where I bring in a photo from Instagram or Pinterest, and we work out how to get it to come to life.

But I’m planning to book my next appointment with Caitlyn Iskra from Horni Nails, who does incredible hot girl nails that I’ve been obsessed with from afar for ages.

What designs are you loving?

I think I’m going to do a blue snakeskin tip next! Mannequin Hands in Sydney is the ultimate for nail inspiration and press-ons.

How does getting your nails done make you feel?

When I started getting more creative with my nails a few years ago I joked that it bought out my hotter alter ego, but now they are an extension of my personality and overlook lewk.

@christinalkarras

Sabrina Todas-Telianidis, artist and vintage clothing seller

What is your go-to design?

My go-to design would have to be a colourful French tip but made extra with bright colours or by having some hand painted nail art on top (like a zebra print) as well as some diamantes!

What is your go-to place?

@peachi_nail_bar on Instagram is my go to girl for my nails! She is so creative and has insane nail art skills! Every time she does my nails she kills it and there’s no limit on what she can create.

What designs are you loving?

At the moment I am especially loving the croc print nails (featured in my photo). These are so cool because you can create such cute colour combos and I never ever get bored of them because they are so interesting.

I’m also loving the tribal print trend because it’s super edgy and so funky to layer on top of a french tip or plain colour! I’m always a fan of bright colours that stand out so all of the summery nail trends and colours are really catching my eye.

How does getting your nails done make you feel?

Getting my nails done makes me feel super creative, It’s such a fun process and I love coming up with ideas with my nail artist. After I get them done I can’t stop taking photos of them!

I feel like having your nails done is like an accessory and it adds so much to any outfit you create, I absolutely love creating outfits that match my nails! Having my nails done honestly makes me feel even more confident and unique.

@sabr.ii.na

Mannequin Hands, nail artist

 

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A post shared by Victoria Houllis (@mannequin.hands)

What is your go-to design?

My go-to design at the moment is a bold base, a little airbrush glow and some chrome linework or 3D blobs!

What designs are you loving?

Chrome finishes with gems, 3D blobs, beautiful sheers in pastel lilacs and greens or sheer brown and airbrush aura glows!

What is your design process like?

Sometimes clients have a look they’re loving and we bring it to life together, sometimes there’s a few elements or colours clients want involved and I fuse them together and sometimes I get full creative control and I play around with new products or techniques I’m hanging out to try!

How does getting your nails done make you feel?

Doing nails makes me feel connected and creative. My regulars are an incredible bunch of people and I feel like I’m always enjoying and learning with every interaction. Having my nails done feels like catching a little glint in the light whenever I look down and type on my phone.

@mannequin.hands

Red Shiraz, content creator

 

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A post shared by Raquelle 🧚🏼 (@red_shiraz)

What is your go-to place?

I change up where I go very often but @nayas.beauty.bar is fab for nail art.

What is your go-to design?

My go-to design is definitely French nails!

What designs are you loving?

I’m loving all the bright summer colours.

How does getting your nails done make you feel?

When my nails are done, my alter ego comes out. No matter what I’m wearing, I always feel put together and hot with a new set.

@red_shiraz

Vanessa Li, content creator and entrepreneur 

 

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A post shared by Vanessa Li (@vanessaa_li)

What is your go-to place?

As an Asian-Australian creative and entrepreneur myself, supporting Asian-owned businesses is always front of mind for me. My go-to nail tech (and dear friend) is Viv from VW Nails – she is the authority on all things nail art and is so incredibly good at what she does.

What is your go-to design?

I can never go past a natural translucent pink base topped with abstract swirl nail art (featuring different shades of neutrals and a stark white). I love playing with negative space and abstraction and find minimal nail art designs tend to work seamlessly with any outfit.

What designs are you loving?

Whether it be abstract swirls, multi-shade French tips or a mix of both, minimalist nail art designs will forever have my heart. If I want to try something new, I often go to Pinterest to save inspiration images for my next appointment.

How does getting your nails done make you feel?

Three words: Super. Put. Together. As someone who is always in-front of the camera, or out and about, the feeling of having a fresh, not-overgrown set of nails is really something.

@vanessaa_li

Flex Mami, content creator, author and podcast host


What is your go-to place?

I’m forever loyal to Mannequin Hands. These pincers are hers and hers only.

What is your go-to design?

These days my go-to design is what I’d describe as an extraterrestrial, topographic-chic opulent metallic moment.

What designs are you loving?

Anything layered and textured that looks like an alien would wear it to a formal.

How does getting your nails done make you feel?

FANCY, PREMIUM AND WELL MANICURED. Pun intended.

@flex.mami

Grace Bishton, fashion showroom manager

 

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A post shared by Victoria Houllis (@mannequin.hands)

What is your go-to place?

Vic from Mannequin Hands is my nail angel I can’t ever imagining having my nails done anywhere else. She’s the most artistic and talented woman in the business and I feel super lucky to be a client.

What is your go-to design?

I don’t really have one, just anything that catches my eye on Instagram in the weeks prior to my nail appointment. It could be anything from fabrics, art, prints to other nail accounts etc.

What designs are you loving?

I love cute patterns that translate well from work to weekend wavy checkerboards, squiggly lines. I also always love a good gold decal on top of my fave colours, which at the moment are emerald green, dark brown and electric blue or a sunshiney yellow.

How does getting your nails done make you feel?

When I have my nails done I instantly feel like the most fun version of myself, it also makes me feel way more put together.

@gracebishton

Madison Finn, hairdresser

 

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A post shared by Madison Finn (@madisonbymadison22)

What is your go-to place?

My favourite place to go to get my nails done is my friend Tamah’s business @beautybiatcheenails. I love it because her hours are so flexible and she really caters to you and your mood. Sometimes we get drunk, sometimes we just relax… but trust me there’s never a dull moment. IT A VIBE!

What is your go-to design?

I mostly match my nails to my outfit on the day, but if in doubt ombré is always HOT.

What designs are you loving?

I think I just became obsessed with gems, and next time I’m going to get as many as I can.

How does getting your nails done make you feel?

Getting my nails done feels like it tops off any outfit, like you always on hot girl shit! Trackies, hoodie and nails = hot. Makeup, dress and nails = v hot. Jeans, T-shirt and nails = sexy, if you ask me.

@madisonbymadison22

Ashwarya, musician 

 

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A post shared by ASHWARYA (@ashwaryahhh)

What is your go-to place?

I always go to @lingsartportfolio to get my nails done, and the best thing about Ling is that no matter what crazy idea I put forward, she always kills it. She’s created some insane sets of press ons for me (I love press ons btw because of the reusability).

What is your go-to design?

My go-to designs at the moment have been abstract 3D shapes with clear gel.

How does getting your nails done make you feel?

I love how a fresh set of nails can act as the statement piece of your whole outfit, which is why I love matching different nails for different looks. Even for music videos and live stuff, nails are so interesting to look at in motion.

What designs are you loving?

I think the whole perception of nail art is really changing. There’s so much amazing inspo out there, from 3D nail sculptures to nature-inspired designs.

@ashwaryahhh

Sabrina Leina, stylist

 

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A post shared by Sabrina Leina (@sabrinaleina_)

What is your go-to place?

Where I live (Oakleigh) there are quite a few, so I try to support local by trying them all! Recently I’ve reached out to some independent nail artists, so hopefully there will be some interesting collaborations coming soon!

What is your go-to design?

Square shape, one colour and LONG – I always have an internal conflict of transitioning to short nails but once I get in the chair I can’t seem to say no to the tips, I need the drama!

What designs are you loving?

I have grown up obsessing over Japanese 2000s nail art; extreme, 3D, chunky yet so intricate and perfect. I have come across a few Melbourne-based gel/press-on nail artists that have been creating some really imaginative and textural designs so it’s exciting to see it take off here.

How does getting your nails done make you feel?

Put together (even when everything else is falling apart).

@sabrinaleina_

For advice on how to tell your nail tech exactly what you’re wanting, try this.

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