Nail artist Maria Vlezko from SoNailicious is on the speed-dial of Australia’s leading editors, fashion designers and brand managers, who all flock for her immaculate nail designs. We talk exclusively to this incredibly talented artist, entrepreneur and business woman about why nail art is taking off suddenly in Australia, her go-to brands and where she finds her inspiration.
You have a nail art company SoNailicious. What do you do on a daily basis?
Everything! Literally. Because I’m a nail artist, entrepreneur and also run an online resource for nail art lovers, SoNailicious.com. So in addition to creating nail designs for editorials and photo shoots for different brands and projects, I’m also responsible for managing all aspects of the online empire that is SoNailicious. I manage our international and interstate team of contributors, designers and photographers, plus, often create content and nail designs myself for SoNailicious.com and it’s educational & retail extensions.
Do you think nail art is becoming more popular in Australia?
Certainly. Australian culture is very casual and relaxed. It’s all about beach and sun, so the heavy old school nail art didn’t quite find a large audience here. But the ‘new wave’ nail art, which is more down to earth and minimalist, is becoming very popular.
You have been at Beauty Expo doing nail art workshops. What did you teach attendees there?
I taught some of the most popular nail trends and techniques. At the ‘Trend Edition’ masterclass I taught how to do neo French, mixed media and negative space manicure. The ‘Marvellous Stones’ masterclass was dedicated to 4 different stone effect nail art techniques – white marble, malachite, jasper and turquoise.
Your designs are stunning. Where do you get your inspiration from for your nail art?
Thank you! It can be anything really… A beautiful sunset, ocean or curious-looking building I’ve seen whilst travelling. I have a passion for travel and find this one of the best sources of inspiration – seeing new places, new colours and new unusual shapes.
What nail polish brands (and other products) do you prefer to use?
All professional brands, like OPI, Essie, Mavala, Orly, Caption are great to work with. But there are also a large group of great quality indie polish brands that are as good as pro brands but they offer totally different colours and effects. I like Cirque Colors, Sea Siren and Kester Black. Because I use nail polish everyday, I prefer to use brands and products that are 3-free and 5-free. My own health and health of my clients is my priority.
For nail care, I like Orly and Mavala products, they are in my opinion some of the most effective.
What tools do you recommend for precision nail artistry? And why?
A great nail art brush! If you have the right brush (that suits your nail art style) you can paint pretty much anything on your nails. It makes such a huge difference. Now that I only use my own, custom developed brush with the perfect bristles and length I can paint easily paint the finest patterns. Before, it was quite a challenge to create detailed nail designs with fine lines.
If you could only have three things in your nail kit, what would they be?
A fail-proof top coat, Essie Good To Go, highly effective nail strengthener, ORLY Nailtrition and my own nail art brush.
What are the biggest nail art trends right now? (And what is your favourite?!)
Negative space, mixed media, marble manicures and chrome nails. Mixed media is my favourite nail trend because you can combine all trends and techniques in one design.
What nail shape is on-trend right now? Oval or square…?
All nail shapes are in, as long as it suits your lifestyle and your hands.
What colours are hot right now?
For Spring, bright, fresh, clean colours. Somewhere in between neons and pastels. Think bright aqua, lemon yellow, sky blue and bubble gum pink. These colours look fantastic paired with white. Also, rose gold is trending. Pair it with nude or grey for an understated chic manicure or with contrasting brights, i.e. rose gold and bright mint, for a statement look.
If a person is just starting out in nail art, what are three skills they should master?
First of all, French manicure. If you can do free-hand French you can do anything… Next learn how to paint straight lines and finally, how to apply a top coat without smudging it all.
There are some amazing effects you can create with nail art, what are a couple of your favourites?
At the moment, you can pretty much use anything for nail art. NO kidding. For instance, you can do totally wearable manicures with dry flowers (real flowers!). There are also plenty of more traditional effects such as studded nails, shattered glass, foil, chrome metallics, holographic, beads and flakies. My favourite are foil and shattered glass effects.
Do you prefer finger nails looking all the same? Or all different? (and how do you decide).
As long as the finished set looks good. Some designs look great if the same pattern is done on all nails while others look better for mix’n’match looks. It really depends on the brief and the client’s preferences, colour palette and occasion.
Can anyone get into nail art? What are the skills a person needs?
Absolutely! The main skill is creativity. Right now, anything goes. You can paint a couple of stars on bare nails and that would be your ‘negative space’ nail art. You can glue on some beads with threads and there you go – ‘Bracelet Nails’! On professional level, however, of course, you must be a good manicurist to begin with. It’s one thing to play with your own nails at home and another thing to create a beautiful yet practical and long-lasting nail design that your client will enjoy wearing.