When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, or if you’re Jin Soon Choi and have flower petals, crush them to make a nail stain. The South Korean custom of crushing Balsam rose petals, applying the paste to nails and wrapping them in the flowers’ leaves until they leave a wash of color, was a favorite pastime for Choi and her girlfriends in the South Korean village she grew up in, and the inspiration behind the first summer collection of her namesake nail polish line.
The girls would go to bed with the concoction on their fingers and wake up with color on their nails that would last until it grew out. “It was believed that if the color stayed on your nails until snowfall, you would marry your true love the following year,” says Choi.
If you were to bottle up Choi's childhood DIY polishes, they would look exactly like the collection’s two shades Blush and Crush ($18 each; jinsoon.com), a barely-there baby pink and a bright translucent red. Much like on humid summer days when anything but air-dried hair and dewy skin seems too heavy, this duo of soft, flower-inspired tints are summer’s alternative to bold, opaque manicures. The tints may not include actual Balsam rose petals, but do leave a slight, unassuming rose scent behind once dry.
You can wear the two colors together to create a pretty orange hue that’s reminiscent of the shade Choi created as a child, or alone if you prefer the two classic shades. Marriage proposals can’t be guaranteed, but the subtle polishes are a surefire way to show off your manicure throughout the season’s balmy temperatures.