After moving to New York from Tokyo nearly two years ago, Mei Kawajiri spent five months working at famed nail salon Valley before deciding to go freelance. Smart move. Her knack for translating pop culture (SpongeBob! Jay Z lyrics!) into cutting-edge manicures quickly attracted the attention of trendsetters such as nail-art-obsessed blogger Hannah Bronfman. Good luck trying to get an appointment with her now. (Get a taste for some of her designs on Instagram: @ciaomanhattan2012.) Follow the step-by-step instructions below!
Difficulty Level: 1 (out of 4)
Drying Time: 10 minutes
1. Squeeze a dime-size amount of nail glue onto a plastic plate.
2. Grab a pair of tweezers; pick up a stud (you can try Flat Back Nail Art Square Metal Studs, $2/100; wiinoshop.com) and dip the back side into the glue.
3. Beginning with your pinkie nail, place the stud in the center, and carefully adjust it with your fingertip. When you’ve completed all fingers, add a shiny topcoat to seal.
You could also watch this video to learn how to create Kawajiri’s rock stud manicure.
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