The Spa and Beauty Expo was more nail-centric than I anticipated, since I barely saw three polish brands at IMATS last year. There was a celebration of nail technology, old and new, with most of the popular salon brands making an appearance.
My personal highlight was obviously meeting Jeff Pink, the founder of Orly and the creator of the French manicure. I was incredibly lucky to hear Jeff tell his story surrounded by Orly polishes, and even snagged him for a photo op, next to a painting of him by Francoise Nielly painted in colours matched to Orly shades:
In the mid-70s, Jeff founded Orly (he named the company after his wife) and came up with the French manicure in a time when women were religiously matching their nails to their outfits. Hollywood actresses would spend wasteful hours waiting for their manicures to dry between scenes with different outfits (if only they had quick-dry top coat!) – however, the classic French manicure, with a white tip and a your-nails-but-better sheer pink on top, was versatile enough to match every outfit. This was in a time when white nail polish was unheard of! Originally called the not-so-catchy Natural Nail Look, Jeff renamed it the French manicure on the plane back from fashion shows in Paris, where everyone loved it. After numerous celebrities (including Barbara Streisand and Cher) wore French manis on TV shows, the look took off, and even today, it’s extremely popular, with a billion variations on the design.
Orly’s nail protector was also developed around this time, a low-tech solution to nail strengthening – physically reinforcing the nail using short fibres in a base coat (kind of like bar glitter, really!). Jeff also introduced Orly’s famous rubberised Gripper Cap in 2002 to help with stuck lids. It actually uses technology derived from Ferrari steering wheels! My favourite Orly innovation though is definitely Orly Bonder, hands down my favourite base coat (I’m running out and stupidly forgot to pick up a bottle at the Expo – this actually makes me feel mild panic).
A more recent innovation I got to play with is the Tink’d by Beyonails inkjet nail printer, which debuted at the Expo last week. I’m not easily impressed by nail art innovations, but this is a biggie!
After you paint your nail with a base (white is best, but colours can turn out OK too), you pick a design from the machine (there are hundreds of preset designs, or you can load any photos you want). Then you clamp your finger under the printing jet, adjust the printing area to your nail (there’s a camera inside the printing area so you can see what’s happening), then hold really still while the printer sprays on your design. After about a minute where you can’t actually feel anything happening, you unclamp your finger, apply a top coat, and you have an incredibly detailed design on your finger!
I chose to print the photo of the boyfriend he hates the most on three nails. In hindsight I should’ve used a white base. I also printed two of the preloaded designs – a star pattern and a cute dinosaur, which both turned out well on my green gradient.
Michelle of Once Upon a Cream printed her baby on her nails – it’s a tad creepy, but definitely shows the potential of this machine!
It can also be used to print designs on stick-on nails – check out the results!
The price is beyond what an individual could afford, but the speed, detail and scope of customisation would be a good reason to visit the salon, especially for those of us who can already do nail art, UV manicures and treatments at home.
And finally, here’s some nail shopping porn for you guys: some of the nail stalls at the Expo!
Bio Sculpture brought in master gel artist Tomoko Namba – unfortunately I couldn’t make her workshop after the Expo, but watching her work was fascinating.
The big guns – OPI, Orly, CND, Gelish:
The Ruby Wing Nail Depot, where you could get manicures done – they had a massive range of colour-changing scented polishes (this really tested my self-control):
Switchfunky, which stocks Ruby Wing and Color Club:
There were also Laylas, but NO ZOYA. I really think there’s a conspiracy going on to force all Aussie ladies to get US mules – it’s bloody impossible to buy Zoya here!
Excitingly, IMATS Sydney is coming up near the end of September, I can’t wait! Back to regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow 🙂