Welcome to 10 Tips — a series highlighting NYLON’s favorite nail artists, their journeys in the industry, the trendsetting moments they create, and their best advice for nail enthusiasts of all skill levels.
Jin Soon Choi is one of those most in demand manicurists in the fashion industry. You’ve definitely seen her work, even if you didn’t know it, in the fine details of photoshoots, in runway shows, and on red carpets. She’s who many of the biggest names in fashion, (Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and Christopher John Rogers, just to name a few) trust to put the finishing touches on their collections’ beauty looks. She’s painted the nails of just about every model, on the runway and off, including Chloë Sevigny, Bella Hadid, and Kaia Gerber. While she has the versatility to create every look, from the most simple, nearly-bare nails to modern art-inspired, colorful nail art, no matter what, she delivers her signature elegance to every manicure. In a world with a never ending churn of nail trends (blueberry milk nails! Tooth nails!), Jin has an impeccable knack for making every look she creates sophisticated and enviable — even Doritos nails, as seen at Alice and Olivia.
With four JINsoon Spas in New York City, a high-end nail lacquer line, and the best cuticle oil out there (Primrose + Honeysuckle Healing Cuticle Oil, our 2023 Nylon Beauty Hit List winner), Jin really knows nails. So, we asked Jin for her 10 best tips on everything, from embracing your own creativity to the perfect manicure prep.
Jin’s Best 10 Tips For...
1. …finding your personal aesthetic:
“I think it's kind of within you, but you still need to develop your style. My theme is elegant simplicity. So when I create [nail polish] colors or nail art, I get inspired by American pop artists, like Ellsworth Kelly or Mark Rothko. I basically try to put their work on my small nails. I’m very inspired by all modern art painters, that's my aesthetic.”
2. ...creativity in collaboration:
“I love the process of it, creating something from scratch. I mean, I work with all the top people and I was always amazed by how creative they are and I got to automatically learn in the process. Marc Jacobs, I have worked with him for a long time, he's so brilliant. You just stand next to him and you get that energy. That is really the best part of doing it, and then I kind of discover my own creativity, too. We bounce back to each other with ideas. When you are a creative person and you have someone stimulate you, your creativity comes out even more.”
3. ...trying nail art at home:
“If you don’t think you can use other nail art tools, a way of making really cool abstract looks is with a sponge. I love using sponges. Like, you can make ombre with a sponge. They are so cool. You may think you’re making mistakes — but then it’s not a mistake. It becomes like instant art.”
4. ...trends to avoid:
“I think it is some shapes rather than colors that you might avoid. Some people are trying way too hard to make flair nails work. I guess some people like it, but it isn't necessary. They’re not balanced and not practical.”
5. ...embracing simplicity:
“You don't have to be garish to be sophisticated. Simple can be luxurious. Simple can be fashionable. Simple can be glamorous.”
6. ...the perfect manicure prep:
“The first thing you have to do is to push back the cuticles so you can see the line really well. If you have bad cuticles, when you apply nail polish it's going to be all over them. Then, any oil or lotion residue needs to be gone, so make sure you take it all off with either alcohol or non-acetone nail polish remover. Then, you can put on a nice base coat that has good bonding properties.”
7. ...never-fail polish shades:
“I love timeless, classic shades. Reds and sheers. The shade, Audacity — it’s a deep burgundy, it’s not like a typical hot red — but on everyone and on every skin tone that color looks so good, it looks very expensive. It really gives that look. That, or Dew — it makes your nails look so fresh.”
8. ...getting stronger nails:
“For everybody who wants to have a healthier nails the number one thing you can do is moisturize — like you do for your face. Why is face care so important? Why body care is so important? Because your skin everywhere gets dry. So, cuticle oil does a lot and you cannot skip hand cream.”
9. ...(nearly) naked nails:
“When you don't have anything else, just apply top coat. Put cuticle oil on, top coat, and you’re good to go. It looks healthy.”
10. ...2024’s next big trend:
“Sheer rosy nails in a jelly finish are going to be a huge trend. The look is both delicate and sophisticated. The translucent, glass-like finish is all about creating a soft, diffused effect adding depth and dimension with light and airy finishes. We did this rosy nail look on all of the models for the Michael Kors SS24 runway show — it’s the perfect example — but we’ll also see other jelly pastel colors like lavender, light blue and light green.”