Fashion Manicurist Talks Nail Trends

by | Jul 28, 2015 | Beauty, Fashion


Photo: Courtesy of Teresa King

From ad campaigns for Chanel and Alexander Wang to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, Teresa King has done it all- with a bottle of nail polish in hand.

King, a professional manicurist, has been behind the scenes for countless photo shoots and fashion shows, perfecting cuticles and nail beds and dictating (whether she knows it or not) the season’s most desired colors and trends.

Downtown Magazine had the opportunity to sit down with King and discuss the current summer nail trends, the upcoming fall colors and the do’s and don’ts of nail care.

Summer Trends


Photo: Courtesy of Teresa King

Brights: “The biggest colors that have just been repeating themselves have been turquoise blues and neon oranges. I’m definitely seeing the light blues the neon oranges- the bright for summer.”

Red Toes: “The red toe is just a classic and it never goes away and most of my clients on set, in person, everybody wants a red toe. It’s rare for me to get someone to ask for any other color on their toes. It is a classic and it looks good with everything. It goes with every skin tone you can always find a red.”

Jellies: “There’s that new jelly trend. Which is really not a new thing because butter LONDON had jellies like way back when I started working with them like 5 years ago,” King said. “But it’s basically a very sheer nail polish. They are touting it as jelly the new trend, but it’s been around forever. A lot of trends come and go and people don’t even realize it’s been around before. The crackle nail polish that was big a few years ago that was around back in the 80’s. But people forgot about it.”

Tribal Nail Art: “As far as nail art goes for the summer, personally I have been getting asked to do a lot of tribal stuff. And that has been kind of strange because nobody before ever asked for tribal. And I did this one set of Aztec nails and posted it on Instagram and now everybody wants it. So I have done maybe a dozen iterations of it on people in different colors because for some reason it appeals to everyone and its very summer. It is a little bit tropical, it is a little bit different, and it is not like hibiscus flowers.”

Fall Trends


Photo: Courtesy of Teresa King

Nude Nail: “The nude nail just never goes away. It is a staple. Every single Calvin Klein show for my whole life has been the nude nail. So the nude nail for trend for fall and winter is just a classic, it is never going to go away.”

Merlots: “Your reds, your burgundy’s’, I believe the pantone color right now is Marsala, so I think like going into fall/ winter its going to be more of a not a brown dark gothy but more of those merlots, those burgundy’s, those Marsalas, that kind of color. I think that’s going to be very popular.”

Black Nail: “Black nails are coming back. I have been getting so many more requests for black nails, and from women who you would never think would wear a black nail. Again, it is something that used to be associated with the Goths or the Emo’s but the black nail has become so much more chic- especially in New York. When I travel a lot of times, especially in the Midwest, I see different trends going on. A Midwest woman is not going to wear black on her nails, but in New York it is very chic and it transcends age. I have a lot of women saying to me, ‘I can’t wear this shade of red because I am too old or I am too young’ and I think that’s complete bull. I think any woman can wear any shade they want to wear. It doesn’t matter. And I think any woman can pull off the black nail. If its done well, if you are well manicured and your nails are well prepped and well filed you can pull off a black manicure and so I do think coming back into the winter months again the black nail is going be big again.”

Shape Trends


Photo: Courtesy of Teresa King

Natural Shape: Ideally the shape of your nail should mirror the shape of your cuticle line. That is the most attractive shape for your nail on your hand. Most people don’t know that. So if your cuticle area is more square then a more square nail will be more attractive on you. If it’s more round, a round nail. If it’s more almond, then an almond nail.”

Dramatics: “I am seeing a little bit less of those really crazy dramatic stilettos that were really popular the last couple years, especially because Rihanna and Gaga and everybody were wearing them. But they are not practical for everyday life so a lot of everyday women tried them for a little bit and found out they weren’t really workable. A little bit shorter stiletto is a little bit more workable which is really just more of an almond or pointed almond. And now we have something too called the ‘coffin’ or ‘ballet slipper.’ Which kind of comes up square, but comes up to a kind of point shoe up at the top. Kind of like oval then has that very square top. It is literally a coffin or a toe shoe shape. That is more popular with women who wear their nails longer.”

Squoval: “The women that wear their nails short it is still the squoval. It is that square with the rounded edge-that’s what most people are wearing. It is just because its more practical it works with most peoples lifestyles and a lot of my private clients they are working with their hands constantly so we don’t want something that is going to require a lot of upkeep or maintenance or is going to break fast.”


Cuticle oil: “My number one thing that I tell everyone my clients: cuticle oil. 100% cuticle oil every night at bedtime. The reason I say at bedtime is because during the day we wash our hands 50 million times, we are constantly touching things. So at night time when applying the cuticle oil you want to get it all around the cuticles into the skin and also all over the nail plate and really rub it in. So it’s going to keep you from getting all those hangnails. It is going to help with that especially during the winter months, you know everybody cracks and bleeds or gets those really bad hangnails and once you get it the need to start picking and peeling happens to most people. So that helps to avoid any of that. And I tell everyone my personal favorite brand is CND solar oil and if your one of these hyper organic naturalist- you can actually use olive oil. So that’s my number one tip.”

File: “My number two tip is when you are filing, file only in one direction. Don’t saw back and forth like a lumberjack. You want to file only in one direction because when you go back and forth your splitting the ends of the nail and that’s why so many people come to me and say ‘why are my nails peeling at the very ends, why are they cracking at the very ends?’ it is because you are sawing back and forth and you are causing micro fractures in the free edge of the nail. So one direction then go back the other direction.”

Hangnails: “Please clip your hangnails. Get a good like Tweezerman, they call them cuticle nippers but don’t cut your cuticle, but if you do get a hangnail clip it immediately. You want to clip it down close to the skin but you don’t want to dig into the skin, you don’t want to make it bleed. You just want to take it so it is not going to get caught on your clothing, your jewelry. So you are not going to be tempted to pick at it and make it worse. If you get it right away when it first starts to form it is gone, it is done and you don’t have to worry about it.”


Acrylics: “I hate acrylics. I hate those chicklet acrylics that are just like sitting on top of the nail they are so hideous. They are just awful they look like hooves to me. They are like hand hooves I hate them. So that’s something that really drives me insane.”

Cut your Cuticles: “A lot of these nail technicians are cutting cuticles- which is against the law in New York State and in most states in the country. The only thing that is allowed to be cut is a hangnail. You are not allowed to cut a cuticle- it is considered minor surgery in the state of New York and it is illegal in most of the 50 states.”

Trade: “Don’t trade shoes with your friends or family. Don’t trade shoes. Because when we walk around all day in our shoes our feet are sweating, whether it’s a cold day or a hot day, your feet are sweating and it’s dark inside your shoes. Bacteria likes to grow in dark moist places, so when I trade my shoes off with you if I have athletes feet or if I have a foot fungus or anything it is going to transfer. So I know women love to trade shoes with their friends, their family. But I have heard horror stories about people getting foot fungus from each other.”

-by Audrey DuVall

Downtown Magazine