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CELEBRITIES like Rihanna and Serena Williams change it more often than they change their hairstyles. From the bright and bold to the sparkling and outrageous, the designs can be as varied and creative as the imagination allows.

Nail art. It has now become the fashion accessory of choice. The simple and relatively inexpensive exercise of lacquering one’s nails has grown into an art form that can easily be synchronised with an outfit, and even one’s state of mind.

A few of Suva City beauty salons have picked up on the growing fad and now have their own arsenal of polishes, nail brushes and nail technicians.

Random surveys conducted last week found that at least two have taken nail art to a very serious level.

Overall, nail art enthusiasts in the Capital City are small but growing. Costs for nail works range from about $10 to $95 and this is dependent on the extent of the services and the products used.

“Many who come are only interested in getting French tips, until they are shown are palette of designs,” said Manju Prasad, the manager at ProfessioNAILS, a specialist nails salon at Level 4 of the TappooCity complex.

“They are surprised when they find that there are also gel nails, which are better alternatives to acrylic nails because they are more flexible and look more like natural nails.

“Our initial clients were tourists and the young, working women but we are now drawing a wider cross-section of women.”

Jade, a hair and beauty salon, is another major player in the local scene of nail care.

Jade’s technician, who preferred anonymity, said nail art was very popular, especially among working women.

“Most of the time though, our clients only realise there are a lot of options when they are shown the full range of nail care services we provide,” she said.

Basic manicures remain the most sought after though, she said.

Ms Prasad of ProfessioNAILS agreed. She said most clients did not know about gel nails and polish until their options were explained to them.

“The prices are not so different but the results are of much better quality because gel nails have a glossier luster,” she explained.

Ms Prasad said ProfessioNAILS was a worldwide franchise, and, consequently, a high standard was expected of them.

“While some of our nail artwork are quite popular, our nail technicians are also trained to paint customised designs,” she said.

“There are some who do not care for sparkles in their tips or a glossy finish, and would instead prefer to have words or slogans on their nails.”

She said they were confident the demand and interest in professional nail care and nail art would grow, and this was partly the reason they brought a consultant from Vietnam to train their nail technicians.

In fact, she said it was the demand by their Nadi outlet’s Suva clients that prompted the business to open an outlet in Suva. It’s a clear sign that this cutting trend is no fickle fashion fad, she said.

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