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Beauty Nostalgia: Reminiscing With…Jin Soon Choi

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Beauty Nostalgia is a weekly column on Beauty Counter in which we ask influencers, tastemakers, and some of our favorite industry experts to wax poetic on thesticks, salves, and sprays that helped shape who they are today.

The Pro: Jin Soon Choi, founder of Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spas.

The Product: “When I was growing up in Jeongseon, a province of Gangwon in South Korea, a few times each summer, all of the girls in my village would get together and color our nails with balsam flowers. We picked the flower petals, leaves, and cat pulls from our gardens or the schoolyard, then added alum powder and smashed the ingredients with a stone until it became an orange paste. Then we applied the paste on each fingernail, wrapped our fingertips with pieces of plastic, and tightened the plastic with thread. Sometimes I went to sleep with the wrap on, so I could get a super strong color, but that also stained the skin around my nails. The only shade we made was an orange color, similar to a henna tattoo. We were most certainly not fashionistas! It was a natural way of getting my nails done, and it lasted until my nails all grew out—there is no comparison with a gel manicure! It was my favorite thing to do, and it was a big part of my childhood; I will treasure this memory forever. I recently found out that a face shop in Korea has developed this as a product, [but] my JINsoon Coral Peony polish is a similar color to the one I wore as a child.”

Photo: Courtesy of Jin Soon Choi

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