This Negative Space Nail Art Has Us Rethinking Sustainable Manis

When I first laid eyes on Japanese nail artist Maco Kawasaki’s Dusen Dusen inspired nails on Instagram, a lightbulb went off. Sustainable manicures have always been, in my mind, about the products used. Is there conflict palm oil in your polish? Does your nail polish remover contain petroleum-derived ingredients? What about the one-time use products — like emery boards and toe separators — that often make an appearance at the salon? But Kawasaki’s negative space driven design got me thinking about how we can make nail art last without investing in stronger top coats and long-wear aerosols.

You can confine your design to a box — which can be freehanded by a skilled artist or achieved at home with tape. You can go for a single design, like a rainbow emoji or a socialist rose (whatever floats your boat), in the center of your nail. Or you can pick a pattern, like polka dots, to freckle your bare nail. You can even apply a top coat only to your design, instead of the whole nail, to make outgrowth less obvious.  

Invigorated by this new-to-me concept, I took Web Editor Brianna Carney to one of our all-time favorite artists, Meghann Rosales of Nails Y’all, to reinterpret Kawasaki’s art for a farewell manicure before Brianna moved to NYC. Surely moving across the country is the best test for a long-lasting mani, right?

As she went from packing to staying with friends to settling into her Brooklyn apartment, the playful, modular boxes moved up her nail until it was time to move on — which, sounds just a tiny bit more poetic than polish chipping away or noticeably creeping away from your nailbed, no?

💅🏽 Photography by Hannah Koehler. Styling by Meggie Copeland. Wardrobe provided by the amazing Oddballl Vintage. Earrings via Lele Bombe. Makeup by Magdalena Antuña.  💅🏽