New trends in nails are sharp and colorful

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Fingernails are on point at Salon Fabulous in Lincoln Park.

Forget about square-shaped pink and white French tips. Right now nails are all about glitz, glitter, colors and shapes. With the influence of nail-forward celebrities like Rihanna, Adele, Taraji P. Henson and Lady Gaga, women are getting into wild, polished looks.

“We get women from all walks of life,” says Salon Fabulous owner Marcella Kolbusz, who also works there as a nail technician. “From stay-at-home moms, factory workers, teachers, principals, all walks of life, and it’s cool to learn things from other people that are different. We get Goth, punk ... and we accept everybody here.”

When she first opened her shop in 2009, Kolbusz says most people were asking for natural-looking nails or the French manicure. She also had hair cutting and styling stations in her shop, but the nail services grew so much, she says, that she eventually dropped hair services and came to offer only manicures and pedicures.

“We’ve gone from that to new glitter acrylic, and now we have color-changing acrylics and different shapes of nails. (People asked for) typical square when we first started, and now we’re doing the stilettos (sharp point-shaped nails) and edged nails, different styles,” says Kolbusz, who says she’s even seen an uptick in men coming in to get their nails done. Most of men get clear shellac, but some who are drag queens by night may get the full blinged-out set.

“I left (the salon) for about five months and I came back and I had to learn about five new things in the five months I was gone,” says Kolbusz. “That’s how quick styles change.”

To apply these couture claws, Kolbusz glues a nail tip on and then cuts it down to the desired length and shapes it. The acrylic color starts off as a powder, but when it’s brushed on, the nail takes a gel-like form. Kolbusz says they make their own acrylic at the salon, so they have the ability to match colors of bridesmaid dresses and other custom requests.

Sarahi Lorenzo, owner of Favi Nail Salon in Springwells Village in Detroit, says three-dimensional flowers and gemstones are very popular, too.

“What people are asking for right now are stones (that cover) the whole nail,” she says, adding that nail trends change just like clothing fashions.

She says the pointy stiletto style is good for folks who need to use their hands, so long as they aren’t trying to type.

“A lot of people want the stiletto shape because they say it’s super easy to use, people say it’s the easiest because you can even pick up coins from the floor with that shape,” she says, adding with a laugh that picking up things off the floor is the hardest thing to do with acrylic nails.

Functional fashion, for some

“I just like having long nails,” says Natasha Vranic, a co-owner and hair stylist at Royal Oak’s Craft Salon. She says she usually goes every two weeks and likes her nails to have a theme. She’s done lace inlays, Harry Potter, Ouija board, and money themes. She says having long nails doesn’t interfere with her job, and can even be helpful.

“I use them to section out hair sometimes. They’ve become like extensions of my hands. I can reach into tight places ... I just can’t pick change off the floor,” she admits.

Vranic usually goes to nail tech Amber Wilhelm at Salon Fabulous. The salon recently started being open on Mondays to accommodate women in the service industry like Vranic.

Olivia Downing doesn’t let her coffin-shaped nails get in the way of her drawing henna designs. The 16-year-old offers free henna at Salon Fabulous Mondays and Wednesdays. All her tips and donations for applying henna will fund her upcoming missions trip to Haiti.

“It will be a medical trip, so our main focus will be on treating the people in the village,” says Downing, who went to Haiti in 2004 and will return this summer. “We will also be fixing the schools, teaching the kids English and just sharing the love of Jesus with them.”

Kolbusz also uses her well-manicured hands to help others, too. While she’s not certified in American Sign Language, she does know it, and every other Sunday she signs the sermon at Metro City Church in Taylor.

Team fab

Kolbusz started learning nail art and technique as a student at Western International High School in Detroit. She got her license to be a nail tech through the school’s vocational program, but shortly after high school she started a career at Chrysler.

“I wanted to throw my hands up ... why am I here? I’m going to be here forever,” she says. “They offered a buyout and I took the buyout and bought this little building called Fabulous. Now my goal here is to help people strive and do good for themselves.”

She says many of her receptionists end up wanting to become nail techs, and she helps them. Salon Fabulous offers an apprenticeship program and booth rental, so women can be their own boss. Kolbusz trains her apprentices to work for her. Her hope is that after two years they will start training others to build their own franchise of Salon Fabulous (but that hasn’t happened yet).

According to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, a licensed manicurist must be at least 17, and have completed either 400 hours of training at a licensed cosmetology school, or trained as an apprentice for no less than six months at a licensed salon. Apprentices can practice on the public after completing a quarter of the required hours.

“There are other options than college,” she says. “I’m not against college, but it’s not for everybody, let’s be honest. There are lot of artsy and creative people and where do they have an outlet? My ultimate goal right now is to train as many people as I can do to nails so they can just kill it out there.”

“I think everyone deserves a good nail service,” says Kolbusz as she works alongside her employees.

The salon is decorated with with homages to fashion icons like Marilyn Monroe, Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn. This keeps the mood light and reminds customers and employees to “be fabulous.”

“(Marilyn and Audrey) inspire women just to be bold and be themselves and be the best them they can be.”

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Twitter: @melodybaetens