East Coast vs. West Coast: Manicure Edition

Jon Soon Choi - P 2015

Jon Soon Choi - P 2015

Celebrity and editorial manicurist Jin Soon Choi breaks down the differences between New Yorkers' and Angelenos' nails.

People are always finding ways to pit New York City against Los Angeles. The latest topic? Manicures. "New Yorkers are more about solid colors; West Coast people like nail art," says veteran celebrity and editorial manicurist Jin Soon Choi.

"Because it's springtime, everybody is getting mostly colors, not nail art [in NYC], with a regular shiny finish," says Choi, who has her own eponymous nail lacquer line and paints nails for Vogue Italia, InStyle, Prada and Dior Beauty. Some of New Yorkers' favorites of late: Jin Soon's Kookie White and Doux, which are both neutral twists on nude, and bold feminine shades like her vivid orange Enflammee and magenta Faroche (each $18).

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On the other hand, Choi sees Angelenos going for French manicures — not just the classic, white-tipped French, but reverse French and colored tip versions. Negative space designs are also popular. The length is also different: "The West Coast loves longer nails, and New York City is more short to medium length, with round to roundish-square shapes," she says.

The influence, says Choi, may be each city's main industry. "The difference is in L.A. you're more celebrity-driven, so it affects you more. New York is more fashion-driven." Likewise, she breaks down celebrities themselves by musicians versus actresses. "It's a similar idea," she says of the latter being more New York in their manicure preferences while singers, especially the more hip-hop–inclined personalities, go for the L.A. aesthetic.

But, says Choi, "Crazy stiletto nails aren't in anymore — even with the celebrities."


A photo posted by Jin Soon Choi (@jinsoonchoi) on