At Alyssa Did My Nails, a pint-sized nail emporium tucked inside Vino Salon Studios in Boca Raton, customers book weeks in advance for the long-lasting manicures owner Alyssa Sullivan embellishes with hand-drawn art (stencils and stickers are never used). Designs are usually brainstormed a day in advance, and nail art appointments average an hour and fifteen minutes, but may take longer if extra detail is required. The self-taught nail vet excels at intricate art and painting tiny characters. Gel manicures with nail art range from $60 to $120. 2100 N. Federal Highway, Boca Raton; 561.702.8492; @alyssadidmynails
Featured Trend: Negative space. Nails were painted black at an angle then topped with varying lines and shapes in a bright white polish. The background is clear, which Sullivan says is great for growing out nails.
Brittney Gatins, who co-owns Lush Nail Studio with her sister at Flutter Lash & Beauty Boutique in Stuart, favors floral designs, which come naturally to her and are easy to freestyle. Adept at all nail art, her clients especially like holiday designs and request whatever is au courant. The nine-year nail practitioner, who often has to rebuild the nail beds of newer clients who have been subjected to harsh chemicals and bad practices, uses products that are healthy, durable and will maintain the strength of the nail. Appointments range from 45 minutes to an hour, and gel manicures can last up to three weeks. 735 SE Kindred St., Ste. 114, Stuart; 772.800.5346; @lushnailstudio
Featured Trend: Sartorial style. Paying homage to Lilly Pulitzer’s iconic, Palm Beach-inspired prints, this manicure was achieved with two contrasting coats of bright polish then dotted with hues of blue, green and pink.
Highly skilled in the subtle nuances of nail art, Margate’s Fresh+Filed owner Melissa Robillard favors an abstract look, which doesn’t require perfection and allows her talent to shine through. An advocate of ongoing education, she enjoys testing out new techniques and products and encourages her clients to bring in inspirational imagery of nail art sourced from Pinterest or Instagram. Sessions include a chat about achieving optimal nail health. Expect an additional 15 to 20 minutes for nail art per service, and prices range from $13 for simpler designs to $25 and more for complex styles. 5400 W. Sample Road, Ste. 18, Margate; 954.448.9657; @nailsbymlh
Featured Trend: Marble. White polish was applied to a teal gel polish then smudged to create a marbled effect. Delicate, gold embellishments were then adhered and finished with a glossy topcoat.
Tips for keeping nails healthy and playing with nail art at home:
AS: Nails aren’t bulletproof; they can break. I always tell my clients to treat their nails like fine china, not a solo cup. To stave off peels and breaks, wear gloves while washing dishes or cleaning around the house. File nail breaks as soon as they occur, and keep nails and hands looking nice with a moisturizing lotion.
BG: Remove gels safely by lightly buffing off the top, shiny layer of topcoat. Dip a cotton pad in pure acetone and wrap nails in foils, then soak for 7 to 10 minutes. When the gel lifts, use a cuticle pusher or a wood stick to push it off the nail then wash your hands in warm, soapy water.
MR: Make sure nail polish is dry before starting any art. You don’t need fancy tools—Amazon has great brushes for a great price. Practice, practice, practice, and don’t get discouraged. Each time you mess up, it’s a lesson in itself. If you follow a nail artist on Instagram, reach out and ask them what they did or used; most are more than willing to answer questions and share their techniques.