I think it’s fair to say that nail art is like makeup for your hands, but that could also be me justifying my obsession with nail wraps.
I first discovered the joys of nail wraps when I was visiting Seoul two years ago. During one of my days off, I made a last minute decision to go squeeze in a matinee show of K-live at Lotte FITIN. I could not have imagined that my excursion would change my life.
Because on that rainy afternoon day, sitting in a large auditorium which could very easily host hundreds of hologram concert goers, I was among the elite 5 (and the only 5) people there to be entertained by digital projections of staged performances by Psy, 2NE1 and of course, BIG BANG. So the big question is…
Where have you been all my life, G-Dragon?!?!
He epitomizes everything I aspire to be as a woman. The grace! The femininity! The pout! And he wears make up so much better than I do. That lipstick shade he’s wearing in the picture, if I put that on, it would only makes me look like I was on the verge of a very poetic and bed-ridden death due to the consumption. He’s just pretty. So pretty. So very, very, very, unfairly pretty.
But before I would experience this life-altering revelation, I had some time to kill and check out the mall. Now, if you’ve never had the pleasure of being ‘over-serviced’ by the ajummahs (Korean term for older women who are not family) manning various sales kiosks, you might be a little shocked at how aggressive they can be. In my case, I was literally grabbed by the arm and dragged over to a booth for a demo of a nail wrap. My Korean is more than a little rusty so I was taken aback to be manhandled and be… forced an impromptu manicure?!
I don’t know what she said but she took my right hand, and held up a small nail shaped color swatch and then applied it on my index finger. I liked it. In spite of my aggravation at the pushiness, I super duper liked the nail look. So I bought a few. It turned out to be Incoco “Nail Applique” and when I came back to NY and looked it up, Google faithfully told me that my big find from Seoul was actually made in Clifton, NJ – just across the river from where I live.
Since my nail wrap awakening, I have been devouring various nail appliques, wraps, effects, nail tattoos, or whatever the different companies choose to market them as. In addition to Incoco and its sister brand “It’s a Nail!”, I’ve also tried Sally Hansen Salon Effects, Jamberry Nails, Tattify wraps and of course, the full range of nail stickers from k-beauty brands.
Incoco remains my favorite. I found the other wraps and stickers to be too stiff, affecting the adhesiveness of the wraps. There would be small gaps between the sticker and the nail and they drove me nuts. The stiffness also made it difficult to file or trim them for fit. Incoco is different because it’s made from actual nail polish and looks most like nail art, not some stickers from a grade school activities book.
So now part of my beauty routine includes doing my nails. After a double cleanse, toner and essence, I throw a mask on and while it works its magic, I pour myself a glass of wine and do my nails with some G-Dragon rapping incoherently in the background. And to think, I have one very annoyingly pushy (but clearly effective) sales ajummah to thank for my nightly affirmation and much envied nail styles.