When I was in high school, I had a religious beauty routine that included a standing nail appointment. Very picky about where I get a fill and design, I made my mother travel from our suburban cul-de-sac into a more urban community. I didn’t want to go to the frou-frou spa where your manicure included a brown sugar scrub. I didn’t think they could give me the funky designs I wanted.

I thought I needed to go the Asians.

Now that I’m older I have completely abandoned that way of thinking. I still travel far to get my natural nails done but for a very different reason — I support black-owned spas.

In Chris Rock’s examination of the black hair industry Good Hair, he profiles how blacks rarely take part in the creation, distribution, or ownership of black hair care. Yet, we collectively spend millions — possibly billions — of dollars every year to maintain it. Well what about our nails?

Some of the best nail technicians I know are black. In the Midwest, many women provide nail services out of their homes and create some of the most intricate nail patterns I have ever seen. So why is it that we have not truly capitalized on this industry?

OPI Serena Williams Glam Slam Collection

The songwriter and businesswoman, Tameka “Tiny” Cottle, opened Tiny’s Nail Bar in Atlanta because of her love of a good manicure. Serena Williams momentarily put down her tennis racket and hit the books to get an esthetician license. Since then, she and OPI collaborated on the Glam Slam collection — a nail polish inspired by her. Recently, the singer Monica announced she is partnering with Orly for a new nail lacquer line.

Business ventures and collaborations emerging within our community show the market could be ours for the taking.

What do you think about the black presence in the nail care industry?

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  • tinaboo

    also, in the DMV area, Salon Couture (in Forestville, MD) does some niiiice work.

  • I have been doing my own nails for about a year now. What made stop going to the nail salon was that I was tired of paying $25 for a mani-pedi that lasted only a couple of days. I taught myself how to do my own designs and I get good feedback, so I know I have skills. I also keep my money in the black community by paying myself. And if I make a mistake, at least I know I didn’t waste any money.

  • bluebird

    Fantastic news about black owned nail shops because as others have posted, black women are funding the Asian-owned nail industry, while they enjoy building their wealth off blacks, only respecting the $. And the $ Asians receive from servicing black beauty needs stays in their own community. I have started doing my own mani-pedi’s, started taking nail, skin, and staring taking hair supplements to strengthen my nails. I’ve saved $ & kept $ in my own pocket. From now on, I will support black owned beauty and nail salons.

    Be part of the solution and not the problem.

  • TheUSSKimberly

    i would love to visit a black owned nail salon in the atlanta area
    i cant find a black nail tech or black owned nail salon that has technicians that do simple elegant nails
    my nails are natural and i dont like super intricate designs and cant find someone to do a good job
    i ususally do my own nails or visit the asians
    if anyone know of a place other than tinys which is over an hour from my house so i never have been please let me know
    [email protected]