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.) Watch the above video to learn how to create Kawajiri's rock stud manicure, and get 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 (we like IBD 5-Second Brush-On Gel Resin, $4; sallybeauty.com) onto a plastic plate).
2. Grab a pair of tweezers (Tweezerman's Pink Perfection Slant Tweezer, $22; sephora.com); pick up a stud (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.