For the first time, the popular makeover show, “What Not To Wear” with Stacey London and Clinton Kelly on TLC featured a manicure makeover. New York-based manicurist Julie Kandalec, who had worked with London on previous photo shoots, was called up to take on what was described to her as “crazy nails.”
“When I got the call from the show, they said they thought she was wearing gel on her nails but we know in the industry when they say gel, it doesn’t mean gel,” said Kandalec. “My first thought on seeing her was that this girl is so pretty. Then, I saw her nails. In 16 years I have never seen nails like this. They were the shape of a bell -- three times as wide and thick as a nail typically--and painted day-glo yellow with gel polish. She was a beautiful girl but with those yellow nails, no matter what she wore all you noticed was her nails.”
The woman, Tristen, was reluctant to change them until Kandalec eased her into the transition by showing her options for tasteful but still distinctive nail art.
“I pulled out all my gemstones, all my glitter and I explained that we can make them different but we need to bring them in a little bit, we’ll still keep the length and we’ll still make them standout,” said Kandalec. In the end, it took Kandalec five hours to reshape and thin the nail and to create the makeover.
“I tried to file the first nail and it took me 30 minutes. I had to take acetone and cotton to thin it first to get through it with a file.”
London selected Primrose Hill Picnic by Butter London, a beautiful bright pink, and Kandalec made sure that Tristen still had trademark nails by painting one finger on each hand in lilac and adding glitter and a star-shaped charm. “She had told me that her middle name was Star,” said Kandalec.
To shape the nail and to secure the nail art, Kandalec also used Ibd clear gel and ibd Intense Seal.
“This was the first time they ever featured nails and it really shows that beauty is not just hair and makeup anymore—nails are an accessory. I was told that this episode was their number one episode in ten years of doing the show. Nails really do matter.”