kai conversation (artist series) with celebrity manicurist queenie nguyen
we are delighted to bring you this week's kai conversation with celebrity nail artist, queenie nguyen. with over 15 years of experience beautifying the nails of a-list talents including jessica alba, alessandra ambrosio, ashley tisdale, margaret qualley, and carey mulligan, among others, queenie's expert artistry is much more than a manicure. her trendsetting nail work has been featured in vogue, harper's bazaar, refinery29, elle, cosmopolitan, people, c magazine, the hollywood reporter, and vanity fair - to name a few. queenie is not only an exceptionally talented nail artist, she is also a long-time kai devotee who incorporates kai into her signature services. join us as we get a closer look at queenie's world and learn her tips for hollywood-ready hands.
can you tell us about your background and experience as a nail artist, and how you started working with celebrity clients?
i’ve been working in the nail industry for almost 15 years and started to focus more on celebrity clients and editorial work since 2018. since then, i’ve worked on ad campaigns, commercials, magazine covers, award shows, fashion week and many more.
how and when did you discover kai?
i discovered kai in 2016 when i used to work for a salon in beverly hills and we used kai signature scented lotion specifically for a deluxe treatment and it was one of the salon clients’ favorites. i remember how long this particular scent lingered on me after each service so i would always try to recommend this treatment to clients so i could have that scent on me all day. later on, i looked up on kai website and discovered more products from the brand that i would love so much until now.
what are your go-to products from kai and how/when do you use them during your process?
my number one go-to product from kai is the *rose body glow. this is my absolute must have in my kit for work. i use this on all my celebrity clients as well as models on photoshoots on top of the body butter. i especially love how this luxurious dry oil leaves the skin looking radiant and glowing without being too oily.
my second must have from kai is the *rose body butter. i was on the search for an exceptional body butter that is not greasy, yet ultra-moisturizing on the skin and then i found kai *rose body butter. i massage the body butter onto the skin and the cuticles around the nails once the polish is dry to seal in the moisture.
kai *rose eau de parfum is the third product that always in my kit. i’m very particular about scents that are associated with my services. this particular rose scent is very personal to me as i’m such a huge rose scent lover. i like to use all rose scented products from kai for my services because it is uniformed and familiar to my clients. it’s a great way for clients to remember me once i leave.
what inspired you to start incorporating kai into your vip manicure services?
personally, i remember people and events through fragrances. so i wanted to choose a particular scent that i love and comfortable using in my services. luckily, i came across kai and all of the rose scented products from kai are easy to breathe in without being too strong and overwhelming. additionally, i’m extremely passionate about hand/nail care so the clean ingredients in kai products pair very well with what i seek in skin care for clients. also, i love the simple, yet chic packaging that kai products come in. they add a beautiful touch to my work set up.
how do you use kai in your own personal self care routine?
personally, i use products for clients that i myself also use. i can’t express how much i love using the kai *rose body glow and body butter in my daily skin care routine post shower. when i’m on the go, i keep the kai *rose hand cream in my purse to moisturize my hands after hand sanitizer.
can you share any memorable experiences or feedback from your celebrity clients regarding the use of kai products in their manicures?
many of my celebrity clients always grab the *rose body glow bottle to see what it is once i spray on them. they love the scent but also told me that the beautiful glow lasts a long time on them for special events that they attend. at photoshoots, my celebrity clients love that the body glow keeps their skin glowing and hydrated on
could you walk us through the process of integrating kai into a client’s manicure, from preparation to the final result?
before i start a manicure, i spray a little of the *rose eau de parfum onto the towel so that the scent lingers in the air throughout the service. next, i proceed with nail shaping, cuticle exfoliation and polish. once the polish is dry, i use the rose body butter to massage onto the hands and around the cuticles for hydration. last and certainly not least, i spray the *rose body glow on top of the body butter to lock in the moisture and leave the skin glowing as the end result. i make sure to not overspray the body glow as a little goes a long way. i gently dab the oil onto the skin without rubbing and dragging the oil to avoid the skin looking super oily.
how do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations in the nail art industry, especially when working with celebrity clientele? any trends you’re loving now?
i stay up-to-date with the latest trends by keeping an eye out for major fashion trends during new york fashion week, paris fashion week, milan fashion week, etc. because these trends tend to affect beauty trends later on. i also pay attention to social media trends on tiktok and instagram for the latest nail trends and then custom to my style for my clients.
currently, i’m loving all things fall/ winter. some of my favorite trends right now are:
- deep shades: i’m seeing the comeback of rich and deeper shades like red, burgundy, plum, brown, burnt orange and olive green
- minimal chrome: instead of the loud chrome colors, i’m seeing a lot of subtle use of chrome in colors as well as designs. white chrome is very popular to use on top of many colors to add a beautiful sheen. minimal chrome nail designs will also be very popular this winter and holiday season.
- velvet nails: one can create the velvet nail design by using magnetic formulated colors with a magnet to create movements and shapes on top of the nail. the end result is a unique shimmering interactive nail look that shifts with the hand movement under certain lighting.
- embellishments: as the holiday is approaching, i think there will be a lot of fun embellishments on the nails such as nail jewels, studs, gold foils nail looks showing up on social media as they add an additional elevated touch.