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18 posts tagged "Jin Soon Choi"

Jin Soon, The Lacquer Line


The nail industry is all about innovation as business continues to boom for the next big thing in polish. But Jin Soon Choi is still a purist. “I’m not really a fan of gel systems,” she admits about the latest craze in at-home mani maintenance. And nail art? She can do without that, too. “You can be trashy [these days], you can have that,” says the nail pro with over 25 years of experience primping and polishing on-set of Italian Vogue shoots and backstage at shows like Doo.Ri and Prabal Gurung, pointing out that while she doesn’t begrudge anyone a good time with crazy designs and custom-created stickers, she’s looking to deliver something else to the varnish-crazed masses: high fashion. “High fashion doesn’t do glitter. But [it] is all about color—beautiful color—and high gloss without shimmer. I want to challenge [people] with a classic but more modern way of thinking about high fashion.” Cue Choi’s first foray into the world of merchandising. “It’s all about timing,” she says, explaining why she’s finally decided to branch out from her successful salon and editorial business with her own lacquer line—”and kinda my age,” she continues (the shockingly youthful Choi turned “5-0″ this year).

There was a niche that needed filling, too, of course, as creating “just regular nail polishes” with expert formulas and classic colors seems to have fallen out of favor in these days of shock value nail accoutrements. So Choi decided to put “high fashion” back into the equation with two new color ranges: The Quintessential collection features shades like Coquette (a rich red), Audacity (a deep wine), Risqué (a blackened cherry), Nostalgia (a pink beige), Muse (a sheer pink), and Tulle (a transparent nude)—colors that “will never die” and will “always will be in,” according to the nail artist. She’s also left room for some seasonal excitement with the A La Mode collection, which includes six hues named by some of Choi’s favorite runways stars. “Each color kinda shows their personalities,” she explains of shades like Caroline Trentini’s Austere (a dark olive green); Guinevere Van Seenus’ Metaphor (a deep hunter green); Hyoni Kang’s Charade (a true teal); Jamie Bochert’s Auspicious (a dusty lavender); Karlie Kloss’ Debonair (a dark purple); and Coco Rocha’s Rhapsody (a deep dark gray). Additionally, there is a high-gloss topcoat and a stellar base coat that is bolstered by biotin, diamond particles, phycocoral, and keratin amino acids to keep nails strong and relatively sans chips. Choi’s double-patented formula is also “five-free.” “A lot of [brands] are three-free—no toluene, formaldehyde, or [dibutyl phthalate]. But [my line] has no camphor and no formaldehyde resin, too.” Choi’s offering will make its fashion week debut at Theyskens’ Theory next month, and until then, she’s keeping mum on her favorites. “I cannot say anything because this is my first baby, my creation—so I love everything!” (Us too.)

Jin Soon nail lacquer, $18 each, available August/September 2012 at

Beauty Etiquetter: The Unspoken Rules Of Neon Nails At Work


Beauty Etiquetter is a new column on Beauty Counter in which we address your beauty protocol predicaments with candid advice from industry experts and those in-the-know. To submit a question, email celia

The Quandary: In today’s world of anything-goes nail lacquers, are neons acceptable at work or better left to the weekends?

The Expert in Residence: Jin Soon Choi of Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spas in New York

The Advice: “It depends on the type of work you do. If you work in a formal setting, such as a conservative law firm, you may not even be allowed to use those shocking colors on your nails because they might be in violation of the dress code, whether written or not. If you work in a less formal setting, I would suggest moving toward a pink neon versus yellow, green, and blue neon polish. People are more familiar with pink colors for nails, so it is not such a big aesthetic leap to enhance a classic color to its neon version. In general, I recommend testing out bright polishes on casual Friday or right before you leave for vacation while wearing your cute, colorful summer dress so it looks like a part of your outfit. It’s also important to wear neon nails with clothing that has more pattern and color to it. This way, a glaring contrast between what you’re wearing and your nails can be avoided in any setting.”

Photo: Luca Cannonieri/

Mother Knows Best


Mothers may occasionally drive us batty (and can be more critical of our wardrobe choices than anyone else in our lives), but they tend to also be a pretty wise bunch—particularly when it comes to beauty matters. With Mother’s Day right around the corner (put your flower orders in now), we asked some of our favorite beauty insiders to share the wisdom, tips, tricks, and secrets their own maternal figures have passed along to them. The overlying advice? When in doubt, D.I.Y.

Pati Dubroff, Clarins celebrity beauty artist

“My mother always taught me not to forget the neck, the skin behind the ears and the chest when applying masks, face creams, even eye creams. Anything left on the fingertips goes beyond the face. Recently an actress who is my same age remarked that my neck was ‘holding up well,’ and I’m sure it’s a result of this practice.”

François Nars, founder of NARS Cosmetics

“Blush is one of my favorite products and it’s because my mother used to be so fond of it. She would never leave the house without it. And if she ever didn’t have blush on, she would pinch her cheeks. It always made her feel better.”

Alexandra Balahoutis, founder of Strange Invisible Perfumes

“My mother introduced me to authentic Turkish rosewater. She would always make sure I had a bottle and encouraged me to mist it on my face and hair. I don’t know if she even knew of the powerful antiaging components of rose, but I still use rosewater every day. And my great grandmother who lived to be 104 always told me to wash my face with buttermilk.”

Cynthia Chua, founder of Strip Ministry of Waxing

“One of the best things [my mom] has taught me is this wonderful remedy of myrrh oil for a mouth abrasion, which always works almost instantaneously. She also taught me to drink a glass of hot water infused with lemon first thing every morning to aid your liver in flushing out unwanted toxins from your body.”

Vincent Longo, makeup artist and founder of Vincent Longo cosmetics

“My grandmother always had the most beautiful-looking skin and gorgeous silver hair; it was long down to her buttocks and she would keep it braided and wrapped perfectly around her head. I remember how every morning before braiding it she would wash it and then comb a little almond oil through. She would then take an extra dab of almond oil and rub it over her face. To this day it’s my favorite product for my hair and skin and one of the only ones I always use!”

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Ten Steps For The Definitive DIY Pedicure


News flash: Winter boot season is over. This weekend, we put our lace-up oxfords in storage and now there’s no looking back. To spruce things up for the days of T-straps and peep-toes ahead (click here for 24 pairs of our favorite summer sandals), we consulted legendary manicurist Jin Soon Choi, of Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spa in New York City, and April Foreman, an L.A.-based manicurist whose well-lacquered clients include Drew Barrymore and Jennifer Lopez, for some at-home advice. Here, a rundown of the essentials you’ll need for professional pedis, no trip to the salon needed.

Step 1: Set the Mood

We don’t like to get too froufrou about pedicuring at home (no palm tree toe dividers, please), and neither do the experts. When setting up her personal space for nail painting, Choi just prefers to fill the air with Brazilian or African tunes—Bebel Gilberto and Oliver Mtukudzi are on her playlist—and light a NARS Acapulco candle. “I love cocoa and vanilla scents; this one is magical.”

Step 2: Perfume the Waters

Nothing preps your feet for a pedicure better than a good ten-minute soak, says Choi. She likes to add essential oils, like Napa Valley Bath Co. Organic Lavender Essential Oil, into the lukewarm water. In a pinch, a bit of Epsom salts or even hand-softening liquid dish soap also helps remove dirt and soften calluses, Foreman adds.

Step 3: Use Salves and Stones

Buff thickened skin with a pumice stone (Choi’s tool of choice is Tweezerman Pedro Callus Stone since “it has a long handle and is easy to use”) and apply a healing foot balm, like the ultra-nourishing Napa Valley Bath Co. Lavender Hoof Cream. Foreman also likes Kerasal Exfoliating Moisturizing Foot Ointment, which combines salicylic acid with glycerin to slough and hydrate your feet at the same time.

Step 4: Get in Shape

File rough nails into uniform shape, push back the cuticles, and rub in a few drops of olive oil—yes, olive oil; it’s rich in antioxidants to protect delicate skin from sun exposure.

Continue Reading “Ten Steps For The Definitive DIY Pedicure” »

Prabal Gurung For Sally Hansen, Take Two


Last year was the season of the nail, as far as we’re concerned, and with three days of shows under our belts so far this week, it’s safe to say that pro tips will continue their dominance for Fall. Prabal Gurung can consider himself among the vanguard when it comes to fashion’s collective lacquer love as the designer partnered with Sally Hansen on a high-profile polish collaboration back in September. To show his continued dedication to the cause, Gurung has decided to go for round two with the mass market nail giant, debuting his second varnish collection at his show this afternoon. Among the five-piece range are Dorian Grey (a muted slate); a palette of pinks, reds, and oranges in Madame X, Ballet Rouges, and Courtesan; and Crinoline, a creamy pale pink that manicurist Jin Soon Choi used as a base at the show. But it’s what she put on top of it that really impressed us. “It’s inspired by Asian painting styles and calligraphy,” she said of the speckled black ink spills she hand scrawled onto individual nails with Sally Hansen’s Midnight in New York. “We thought about doing moon manicures but many people have done that already,” she explained of the printed polish’s inception, adding that she “wanted the nails to be as creative as [Prabal's] clothes.” To which we say, mission accomplished.