as we kick off the month of may, we are beyond thrilled to bring you this week's kai conversation with one of the most highly sought after hollywood celebrity manicurists, queenie nguyen, whose celebrity clientele includes amanda seyfried, kristen wiig, emma roberts, kate hudson, carey mulligan, saoirse ronan, january jones, elizabeth banks, kaley cuoco and mandy moore among others. nailing hollywood's artist extraordinaire, queenie, has worked in the nail industry for more than 12 years and specializes in natural nails and contemporary nail art. her incredibly impressive trendsetting nail work has been featured in eminent publications such as vogue, harper's bazaar, refinery29, elle, cosmopolitan, people, c magazine, the hollywood reporter, and vanity fair - to name a few. she also worked on beauty and fashion campaigns for dior, new york & company, prada, aldo and piaget. queenie is not only an exceptionally talented nail artist, she is also a long-time kai devotee who truly embodies the kai "breath*life*flow" way of life. we hope you enjoy reading her fascinating interview below, and we highly encourage you to check out her beautiful, inspirational feed. lastly, please stay tuned for a very exciting giveaway collaboration to be announced soon!
what are you seeing as the most popular contemporary nail art trends for this year?
1 - colorful ying yang - this year, more bright colors will replace classic black/ ying yang nails in the summer. the bright colors are more fun and unexpected.
2 - emilio pucci-inspired - pucci-inspired nail art allows people to have fun with bright colors and are also abstract enough to DIY at home without the pressure of perfection.
3- neon/french tips - this is a great way to rock neon colors in the summer subtly.
4 - mismatched nail designs - when in doubt, create different fun deigns on all fingernails so that you can rock all at once. mismatched nail designs are unexpected and spontaneous.
5 - floral & fruit - daisies are so popular for the summer and this year, people love pairing daises with french manicures. this is the same case with cherries. they pair nicely with the classic white french manicure for a pop of red.
could you please provide us with some tips for keeping hands and nails looking best as we approach the summer season when people are running around outdoors at the beach & pool, and the weather is warmer?
during the summer, i think it is very important to wear body sunscreen and spf hand lotion. apply a thin layer of the spf hand lotion to avoid it being over greasy and this way, you can reapply throughout the day to be protected from the sun. i also highly recommend using cuticle oil to hydrate the cuticles from being overdried by the sun. additionally, wear a layer of nail strengthener to help strengthen the nails and cuticles from being dried out by hand sanitizer and chlorine in the pool.
what has been the accomplishment that you are most proud of during your career?
i've been working in the nail industry for about 13 years and i think my most proud accomplishment is to see my work on the red carpet and magazine covers. there's something just so rewarding to see the end result of a beautiful collective work from a group of talented professionals. i consider myself very blessed to be able to meet many talented people in the industry i am in and the continuous lessons that i learn in every single job that i work on. i'm proud and grateful for the trust that many celebrities and brands have placed in me.
what facial products can be used on hands? we've heard that you have some tips on ways to use facial products so that they benefit the hands and nails.
1 - facial cream: hands are one of the first parts of your body that show signs of aging and i think it's important to take care of them as much as how you take care of your face. i never waste products and i tend to use whatever is left over from the face to apply to the hands.
2 - face scrub: if it's gentle enough for your face, it is definitely gentle enough for your hands specifically. be sure to scrub away the dead skin before applying moisturizer.
3 - face oil: face oil is generally not as heavy as body oil so i think it's great to use it as cuticle oil as well. that way your cuticles are hydrated without being too greasy during the day.
4 - face mask: i love masking my face and i usually use this time to mask the top of my hands as well. a hydrating mask will help hydrate and condition your hands just as much as it helps hydrating your facial skin.
are there any special vitamins you recommend or foods to eat that help keep nails as healthy as possible?
i'm a firm believer in a healthy lifestyle; which includes a combination of healthy food choices and exercising. that alone makes a huge difference in how your body functions. additionally, i usually take women multivitamins, liquid collagen and drink lots of water.
tell us about DIY nail art and any suggestions you might have for this. also, do you have any recommendations for nail care at home?
DIY nail art can be really fun and therapeutic to do at home. i would definitely watch nail art tutorials available on youtube and via social media like instagram or tik tok. then, invest in proper nail art tools that can help you create art easily. with practice, you'll have a lot of fun doing your own nail art at home. with nail care, i also suggest investing in quality nail tools and creating a habit to do your nails either weekly or bi-weekly to shape the nails and trim any hangnails. it takes time but it can be relaxing if you dedicate time for self care. don't rush so that you can take the steps necessary to give yourself a proper manicure.
can you tell us your expert input on natural nails versus enhanced nails?
i'm a huge fan of natural nails. i wear natural nails myself because i truly believe that it is healthier for you. there are so many nail brands in the market now that are nontoxic so you can opt for those to ensure the health of your nails if you decide to wear color. i always wear a nail strengthener under regular polish to protect and condition my nails. if i decide to wear gel polishes, i usually opt for a hybrid type of gel polish that can be soaked off easily like CND so that i'm not over soaking my nails in acetone and to avoid scraping during removal. in regards to nail enhancements, i prefer soaked-off gel extensions over acrylics personally because they tend to feel more natural on your nails and are less damaging.
how are you taking care of yourself and your loved ones during this time of the pandemic? are there certain things that are proving to be sources of motivation/ inspiration? if so, please feel free to share.
i'm a workaholic so i'm constantly moving and thinking about what is next for my career and during the pandemic, i finally had the chance to stop and appreciate what i've done so far. i think it is very important to be proud of your achievements in the past so that you are motivated for the future. i'm very blessed to have a lovely circle of people that truly care and checked on me during the pandemic. to me, time is so valuable and you can't take back lost time so i want to dedicate my time now to spending it with the people that i love. additionally, i find myself now learning to slow down to appreciate the smallest things in life.
how do you embody kai's "breath*life*flow" lifestyle?
self love is so important to me and i'm learning to prioritize and put myself first in certain situations. self care can come in many forms and i'm learning to embrace as many practices as possible. besides dedicating time for my daily and weekly skin care routine; i also take time to care for my mental health. i love listening to business and entrepreneur podcasts to learn and motivate myself internally. i also dedicate time during a busy work week to take deep breaths and clear my head. i tell myself that everything will be ok at the end of the day and it is ok to make mistakes because that is part of growing in life.
what color nail polish are you wearing right now?
my go-to nail polish is Chanel "Ballerina." it is just so natural, chic and makes me feel very put together.
oh my, it is very hard to choose a specific kai product obsession as i love everything from the brand but i have to say, i'm obsessed with the kai *rose scent itself. i've always loved the smell of roses but the kai *rose scent is just so special and unique. with that being said, all kai *rose products make me feel so happy and so personal because i feel like i embrace the rose scent as my own personal scent.
what's your beauty secret? or must-have beauty product?
i have quite dry skin due to constant hand washing so moisturizing is my key beauty secret from head to toe. but i think a big part in making sure that the skin is deeply hydrated is by exfoliating first. i truly think that by removing the dead skin, the skin will absorb other hydrating products much better. i'm quite diligent about my exfoliation routine each week and i think it makes a difference to create a routine so that it becomes a continuous habit.
thank you... queenie!