Pedicures are on the democratic end of fashion: No matter what size you are, what shape you’re in or how much money you have, you can sport a gorgeous set of painted toes.
With a few minutes and an inexpensive bottle of lacquer, every woman can make a style statement.
“A pedicure is temporary, it’s personal and it’s no-commitment. It’s a quiet pick-me-up,” says Crystal Clark ( crystalclark.com), a Raleigh native who opened Nail Yeah salon in North Raleigh’s Midtown area, after moving home from New York, where she did celebrity nails, including those of singer/DJ Solange Knowles.
“It’s a little burst of energy. You get that glitter polish and it makes you happy.”
It’s makes for a happy bottom line, too.
The nail-care industry hit $1.6 billion in sales last year, Time magazine reports. That includes services and products such as subscription services (a kind of nail-of-the-month club), Shellac manicures and at-home gel kits. Sales of nail polishes were $768 million in 2012, a 32 percent gain over the previous year, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
“Everyone is doing nail lacquers. That’s one of the reasons we wanted to get back into that line; they are very on-trend again,” says Clare Sokolsky, marketing director for Color Me Beautiful brands ( http://bit.ly/CMBpolish), which reintroduced nail polishes to its beauty lineup after dropping them 18 years ago. “We got requests from customers who wanted it.”
It’s the perfect time to expand your pedicure options, because toes have come out of hiding after months inside boots, socks and shoes.
“There’s unlimited things you can do,” says Haley Tran, manager at Polished salon ( ipolished.com), which has Charlotte locations in Ballantyne, Myers Park, SouthPark and South End.
Here are some ways to tickle your toesies.
Focus on the big toe: Use one color or nail design on your big toes and another on the remaining little piggies. Tran says she gets lots of requests for the “one-off,” which lets you try an “out-there design” on two toes and go conservative on the others.
Stick it: Try adhesive nail foils that take the place of polish. University Nail Pax ( shopUNP.com) offers collegiate-themed stickers for 37 colleges. Its N.C. State University foils feature the school initials and red and white polka dots; other local colleges aren’t available yet. “Our goal is to be licensed with 75-100 universities across the country by the end of 2013,” owner Erik Paxman says.
Go Hollywood: Get a “Rock Star” pedicure, which uses glitter, sparkle and rhinestones as an update to colors from neutral to bright.
Play with pattern: Tribal designs are big, Clark says, including animal prints, stripes and polka dots. She does them freehand, but you can use stickers.
Pump up pastels: Break away from traditional corals and pinks and go for the season’s on-trend lavender, mint green and aqua shades.
French farewell: “A French manicure looks very dated,” Clark says. “The bright white and hard pink are very safe.” Try a softer pink and white. Or use beige on the nail and purple or green on the nail tips, Tran suggests.
Mix and match: Go to the opposite end of the color wheel to make your manicure and pedicure coordinate without matching. Salmon on toes and mint green on hands is one option. Or try purple and butter yellow or aqua and orange.
Go to the matte: Non-shiny polishes are on-trend, Tran says. Start with a dark polish, for instance, and then go over it with a topcoat to make it half-matte and half-shiny.
“Nails are enjoying their 15 minutes right now,” Clark says, “and not showing any signs of losing their popularity.”
Sheon Wilson ( sheon@SheonTheStylist.com) is a personal stylist and makeover expert in Durham.