Toronto Fashion Week is in full swing, and Essie Weingarten, founder of nail polish empire Essie, is in town for the occasion, as her nail company is involved with seven fashion shows taking place. With her nails done in bold red Essie A-List ("I'm in sheers all the time, but this is a Canadian red!" she says) she took some time out to talk about how she got started in the business, manicure tips and upcoming trends.
"I was a nail freak as a little girl. I loved to go to the beauty parlour with my mother, where women used to go sit with rollers under the heat lamp. If I was good, my mother would let me get my nails done. The colours available at the time were boring so I would take the nail polish my parents would buy me if I was a good girl. That is when the passion for nails really started. And it's now a dream come true. I started the business with 12 colours, and now we have a world of colour."
"I've been able to fulfill a dream of changing how women think about nail polish. Now, if your nails are naked, you're missing your most important accessory. It used to be that you only did nails for special occasions. But everyone looks at your hand; they look at eyes, shoes, and they look at your hands. If your hands are not well manicured now, it speaks volumes about you. You can be so well dressed, but if your nails are naked, I don't care who you are, how elegant your clothes and jewellery are, if your nails are not done you're not dressed."
"What other cosmetic do you have that you can enjoy without a mirror? We spend a lot on eyes, lotions, and lips but can you enjoy those yourself? But with nails, you can be sitting in any meeting, walk out of the shower and look down at your toes and feel good."
"Express yourself with colour — try it on toes first, and once you get used to it on toes then try it on your hands. Nail polish can take any outfit you have and make it new."
Use cuticle oil regularly and push back cuticles, don't cut them. "The more you cut, the more it grows," says Essie. As for nail colour, "Apply a base coat, two coats of colour and a top coat — with two minutes of dry time in between each coat — it really makes a difference."
For spring 2012: "Neons are everywhere!" To get the brightest pop out of the Essie neon collection, launched March 1, 2012 (Essie says that neon pigments are a bit finicky), after applying your base coat, apply a layer of an opaque white such as Blanc. Then add two coats of neon colour. The neon product will dry matte. Leave it matte if you want that texture, otherwise, add shine by applying a top coat.
"I see everything coming back to more normality," she says, of the current popularity of nail art. And after seasons of not matching, "We're going into a season where we're matching tips, lips and toes."
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