Emi Kudo is the go to manicurist for many of Hollywood’s leading ladies. She’s worked with Angelina Jolie, Penelope Cruz, Kendall Jenner, and Emma Stone to name a few and her work is often seen on the front covers of Vogue, Elle and Vanity Fair. I caught up with Emi to find out exactly what we can do at home to create the ultimate DIY mani, and I asked her how she became one of the industry’s leading manicurists…..
‘In 1995 I was working in a facial salon in Japan as an Esthetician. One day the owner of the salon said to me ‘Emi, I see that from now on, the nails will take over the beauty industry. So why don’t you you take some nail classes, and do the service for our clients? She was right. The nail industry has grown so much since then.
I’ve been in the industry 22 years, and my first big break was when Janet Jackson requested me for her music video ‘Call On Me’. It was one of the last million dollar projects for a music video.
To get the perfect DIY manicure at home you need to have a collector brush and some acetone in a pump bottle. Clean the cuticle area and sidewall of the nails with it. Don’t be afraid to get it on the skin. If that happens, you can always correct, and any good nail polish will clean away easy, while bad ones leave a stain.
The 5 Step DIY Manicure
- Use the finest nail file on your natural nails. I use 240 grid. This prevents chipping the nail polish you wear and the nails themselves.
- Soften the cuticle with cuticle softer. I receive many expensive cuticle removers, but I’m telling you the truth, my favourite is Blue Cross mixed with Jojoba oil.
- Push the cuticle, to make it the shape of the letter ‘U’ and be careful to keep the shape tidy.
- Smooth up the nail surface, edge and finger tips with a fine buffer. I will buff the buffers with a nail file before I use it, so it won’t scratch the nails.
- Clean the nail surface, not only with alcohol, but with gel cleansers, or nail surface cleansers. Most of the store sold rubbing alcohol is 70% volume which is not enough to completely remove oils from the nail surface. It’s better to try Nail product companies for a good nail Cleaning Solution. Then you’re ready to paint!
When painting the nails, I have some top tips I recommend for correcting mistakes:
-If your brush work came out uneven, wait until your first coat is dry. Don’t brush over the half dried nails. This will make a ramp. To smooth up the nail you can always use something like Smudge Fix from London Town USA. You can also use a corrector brush to correct mistakes.
-I also love to mix jojoba oil in acetone too. This prevents the skin getting dry and white, when I clean the sides of the nails, as well as soaking gel nails in acetone mixed with the oil to help removal. Mixing a good oil in blue cross and acetone! That’s my go to trick!
To see more of Emi’s amazing work, make sure you check out her Instagram. (Emi Photographed Above with Janet Jackson and Olivia Munn)