Walking into Trending Nails feels like a visit to any nail salon: welcoming staff greet you at the door, cozy chairs line the wall, and warm water bubbles away in the foot spa. The one big difference at Trending Nails is the smell – there are no strong chemical fumes that are common in salons that do acrylic nails.
Artificially enhanced nails have been popular for decades, often among young women desiring the perfect look for weddings or other special events. All of the products that build nail extensions are glued on using a gel-based solution, which is very sticky and claws itself into the nail bed. This ensures a long-lasting product, but can cause inflammation or even permanent damage to the nails when removed.
Trending Nails owner Jean Kim was inspired to find a healthier option after her teenage daughter began experimenting with nail treatments. “I was sure my daughter was going to lose her nails by the time she was thirty years old,” says Jean.
Doing her own research, Jean discovered a product called dipping powder. The powder is glue-based, which is natural and mostly organic. The nail is first polished and then dipped into a fine antibacterial power. This builds an artificial nail that sits on top of the nail bed, gently adhering to the surface and causing no lasting damage.
“Why does beauty have to sacrifice your health,” asks Jean. “We’re all here to look nice and feel great, but there are better alternatives.”
Ensuring her customers feel great when leaving the salon is one of Jean’s primary goals in running her business. Trending Nails takes extra care with clients, including long massages and reflexology. Jean knows how important massage and gentle touch can be, especially for elderly clients who may not receive any physical contact in their daily lives.
Jean sees her salon as a place to build community rather than a beauty parlour. The salon strives to provide a positive space where people can indulge in some self-care and have a long chat with the nail techs. “People reveal things to me that they might not normally reveal to anyone else,” says Jean.
Jean’s training and skills are wide-ranging, from an honours degree in education at McGill University, to a career in the health and fitness industry. Her interest in esthetics came about after a volunteer medical mission trip to Tunisia where she was assigned to feet – clipping nails and doing foot care for locals in a small desert village.
“I just remember being amazed at how different they looked after they had their feet done,” says Jean. “They felt so fresh and taken care of, and I realized it takes so little to make someone look dignified.”
Her caring personality pairs well with a strong business sense, to which she credits her parents. As a child of South Korean immigrants, Jean was often called on to assist in various family businesses. She can remember doing a lot of translating for her parents, who did not speak English at the time.
Now the owner of two Trending Nails locations (the first in Pembroke and the second on Richmond Road near Lincoln Fields), Jean loves the flexibility that comes with the job. As a parent of six children, finding work-life balance is essential for her own self-care.
“We are so busy in our lives, and just constantly go from one thing to another,” says Jean. She sees Trending Nails as the place where people can take time away from the hustle and bustle, and her clients always leave the salon feeling fabulous.
Clients who walk into the salon are sometimes surprised to find that Trending Nails does not offer any acrylic or solar gel services. Jean hopes that providing education on the damage caused by acrylic products will encourage customers to choose healthier alternatives. She also looks forward to further developments in the nail industry that will allow businesses to offer organic products that equal the strength and durability of the dipping powder.
In the end, Trending Nails is not just about beauty – it’s about long-term health and vitality.
1355 Richmond Road