For some, the love of nail polish and manicures starts young. Maybe it was the first time you ever sat in a salon chair, or the first time you watched your mom polish her own toes. For Tina Tozzi, the star of the most recent episode of Refinery29's Macro Beauty series, it was on her 13th birthday, when she was gifted her first set of acrylics.
"I watched a lot of Dennis the Menace as a kid; there was this character that antagonized everyone by tapping her nails across the countertop," Tozzi recalls. "On my 13th birthday, my big wish was fulfilled, and I've been tapping on countertops ever since."
Throwing all concerns of function out the window, Tozzi has since held a more-is-more nail art aesthetic. In today's Macro Beauty episode, all of Tozzi's manicure dreams are realized as she lands a 2 1/2-hour appointment with A-list nail artist Yoko Sakakura (who's worked with stars like Miley Cyrus and Issa Rae) for a celebrity treatment featuring all the add-ons imaginable: gel extensions, a custom airbrushed design, rhinestone crystals, and even nail piercings.
The closeup process begins with Sakakura cleaning Tozzi's natural nails with alcohol and pushing back the cuticles, then using a drill file to remove any dead skin from the nail bed. Then she sizes each nail and applies the gel extensions. Once all ten gel tips are applied, they cure under a nail lamp and are ready for design.
For art, Sakakura uses an airbrush-style polish application, and toggles between black and white spray paint to create a galaxy-inspired design on each fingernail. Then she adds stars, silver sparkle, and 3D crystals appliqués over each nail for even more drama. Lastly, for the big finale, Sakakura adds a "piercing" to Tozzi's pinkie nails by drilling a tiny hole in the gel extension and using a tweezer to slide a tiny silver hoop into the hole to create the look of a charm.
In the end, Tozzi is elated. "I absolutely feel like my best self with these nails on," she says, admiring her new galaxy nails. "Yoko was incredible, kind, gentle, and really easy to work with and fun to talk to. She has such great stories and I'm envious of all of the celebrity hands that she's touched — and now mine live along them."