Black women love to experiment with the latest hairstyles, eye-popping nails, and cutting-edge fashions. If you have the goods to deliver the best, you can build a loyal clientele.
For expert manicurist Kia Stewart, who is popularly known as Lux K, nail design is where her hustle and artistry merge.
At her Brooklyn, New York-based nail studio, 1209 Wellness Nontoxic Studio, she treats a diverse clientele to a nail experience like no other. If you’re lucky enough to get one of her tri-weekly appointment slots, you will leave with the nail shape and design of your dreams.
Outside of her unmatched creativity, wellness and safety are top priorities for Stewart. She prides herself on using vegan and nontoxic Japanese gels to create her one-of-a-kind nail designs.
We spoke with Stewart about her journey as a nail salon owner and trusted expert.
What was your introduction to nail design?
I was introduced to nail art all my life. As a native New Yorker, the nail salon is a staple. From airbrush art to the delicate flowers they drew, I was always looking at ways to make my overall look unique. The most impactful introduction was on my trip to Japan in 2017. That trip changed the trajectory of a nail appointment for me.
What is your first memory of getting your nails done?
I believe I was 14 years old when I had a regimen for my nail care. The main motivation for my summer youth job was to keep my nails and hair done, and [to support] my sneaker habit. I love getting my nails done, picking colors, the vibe of the nail salon when you see people come in one way and leave feeling special. It’s always been moving for me.
What inspires your nail designs?
Lux K is known for flipping images from art pieces like Nike sneakers to architecture and making it make sense on nails. Life in general and the way I see the world aids my art. But I am always highly inspired by the client. I see how they dress, colors they love or hate, life experiences they value, and I curate it with gel polish. This is a major reason I do not repeat designs. Each set is that person’s unique moment and customization.
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