When the inspiration well runs dry, where else to turn to but Instagram? The platform is chock full of influencers and celebrities churning out daily drool material, but when it comes to nail inspiration, skip following the celebrities and follow celebrity manicurists on Instagram instead. Because if Beyoncé trusts in them to do her nails, they must be doing something right.
Though celebrities may be the ones who make certain nail art popular, it's the people behind the polish — and generally behind design, color choices, etc. — you want to follow. Because, TBH, celebs rarely make an entire post dedicated to their nails, and while you're stuck pinching, zooming, and squinting to the see the design, the manicurist's entire feed is that exact work. (Plus all the things they do for editorial shoots or even on themselves — aka the well never runs dry.)
To make it even better, the posts often include *all* the details you're looking for: Like a close up, the polish brand, and, if you're lucky, expert tips and tricks. So, whether you're obsessed with J.Lo's neon-green nails (courtesy of Tom Bachik), Khloé Kardashian's mega-long French tips (thank you Chaun Legend), or Joey King's nude shimmer (shout out to Thuy Nguyen), there's enough varying inspo to go around. Below, nine celebrity manicurists worth adding to your daily Instagram scroll.
One of the top celebrity manicurists to follow doesn't even post most of the work she does on clients (though they include high-profile celebs like Zazie Beetz, Florence Pugh, and Zoë Kravitz). Rather, Betina Goldstein posts what she does on her own nails most the time, meaning they could actually be your next DIY inspiration. While some of her creations are clearly more expert level, others, like her now-famous tonal ombré manicure, are easily recreated at home.
Even if you don't know of Tom Bachik, chances are you've already been lusting after his nail designs for quite some time. J.Lo's crystal nails at the 2020 Super Bowl? Bachik. Selena Gomez's glitter-bomb nails in her "Rare" music video? Yep, Bachik. Or even all the way back to Kim Kardashian's mega-long white tips at the 2018 Met Gala? Still Bachik. And his Instagram feed documents it all. So, next time you're wondering the shade or want a closer look at say, Lana Condor's mani, head over to his page and you'll probably find out.
Classic colors and patterns get a modern update on Thuy Nguyen's page. The manicurist — who works with Joey King, Lucy Hale, and Gabrielle Union — uses a good deal of neutrals and tonal colors to create simple yet eye-catching designs. Sometimes that means her manis are a few black lines across bare nails or a single rhinestone at the base of each cuticle, but you can find bolder designs like tortoiseshell prints and iridescent rainbows, as well.
New York-based Mei Kawajiri likes to have fun with her designs. While her work on stars like Dua Lipa, Hailee Steinfeld, and Blake Lively are more tame with the occasional rhinestone, pattern, or neon color, her other work — as seen on her Instagram — is full on art. Some of Kawajiri's recent manis feature Spongebob characters on every nail while others have actual miniature teacups and Starbucks cups adhered to them. And although some of her designs may seem unattainable, it's enough inspiration to pick and choose certain aspects you can incorporate into your own look.
There's no denying the Kar-Jenners (mainly Khloe and Kylie) have started major nail trends. That's in large part thanks to Chaun Legend. The manicurist — who also works on Normani — has done some of the top trending nails styles seen on Instagram: velvet-esque nails, French tips, neon colors; basically, you name it and he's done it. If you've been looking for long (like inches long) acrylic inspiration that's not *too* unrealistic for everyday life, Legend is the one to follow.
When it comes to nail art, sometimes less is more — and Alicia Torello's ultra-minimal work proves that. It's also no surprise some of her celeb clients include Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence, who don't typically rock an entire rhinestone-encrusted mani. Instead, Torello's aesthetic is practically a millennial's dream, with free-floating dots, lines, squiggles, and a few kitschy elements like cow print and watermelons sprinkled in, as well.
On the other hand (sorry, couldn't resist), some nail design is all about going big or going home. So, that's when you — and Beyoncé, and Kesha, and Hailey Bieber — turn to Britney Tokyo. The LA-based artist doesn't shy away from bold design; rather she adds baubles, charms, and gems to most of her pieces — and sometimes, all at once. She describes her style as Tokyo meets Hollywood, and a quick peek at her feed explains why: The cuteness and playfulness of Tokyo is blended right along with the money-magic, fame-obsessed nature of Hollywood.
You know her, you love her, it's Cardi B's now-legendary manicurist. As Cardi B soared in popularity in 2017, so did Jenny Bui for creating the rapper's out-of-this-world gem appliqué nails. And a quick scroll through the designer's Instagram shows that even three years later, she hasn't slowed down on the rhinestone front. If you don't want to just follow Bui on Instagram, next time you're in New York hit up the salon Cardi B used to frequent because it's still there and Bui is still working.
The stylist behind most of Janelle Monáe's manis (including the rhinestone-lined look from the Oscars) also works on the hands of Harry Styles and Madison Beer. Designs from Sreynin Peng are usually bright and funky, with intricate patterns and bold colors. But every once in while the manicurist keeps things short, simple, and sweet. And sometimes, she even blends both aesthetics together as seen above (minus the short).