Achieve Flawless Nails at Home with Tips from Celebrity Manicurist and Salon X-tend Ambassador Julie K

Ever wondered how celebrities always seem to have perfect nails, no matter where they are? We caught up with the fabulous Julie K, celebrity manicurist and educator, to get the inside scoop on the latest nail trends and her absolute favorite DIY nail product: Salon X-tend LED Soft Gel Nail Extension System.

Julie Kandalec is a renowned celebrity manicurist and educator known for her innovative designs and expertise in nail art. With years of experience working with top celebrities and fashion shows, Julie has become a trusted name in the beauty industry. Her passion for creativity and dedication to her craft make her a sought-after expert in nail trends and techniques. Julie’s work can now be seen in major publications, beauty campaigns, and regularly on the fingertips of Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, Rose Byrne, and many more.

Below, Julie spills all her expert tips and tricks, making it clear why she’s head over heels for this game-changing innovation. Get ready to be inspired and learn how to nail your at-home manicure like a pro!

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Q: As a celebrity nail artist, what initially drew you to the world of manicures and nail design?

Julie K: It’s so interesting because as a kid, I’ve been doing nails since I was 12. I was obsessed with miniatures, like dollhouses and anything small. I was always creative, painting and such. It was only natural that I combined my love for miniatures with my creativity. As I got older, I realized I could travel and do nails, which blossomed into a desire to work at Fashion Week and beyond.

Q: Did you ever flip through magazines thinking, “That’s what I want to do one day”? Could you have ever imagined that you’d be on these photo shoots one day?

Julie K: I’m dating myself, but Instagram wasn’t even a thing when I started. I used to think the manicurists for campaigns worked in-house at companies like KISS or Neutrogena. I didn’t even know freelance nail artistry was a career path.

Q: How did you get from wanting to do nails to actually doing it professionally?

Julie K: I was living in Ohio and knew I had to build a portfolio, so I almost moved to LA. I had connections with photographers and started building my book. In February 2010, I was in New York during Fashion Week and just knew I had to be here. There’s so much more to that story, but that’s for another interview!

Q: What are some exciting nail trends you’ve seen on the red carpet and at celebrity events this year?

Julie K: Lots of press-ons, which makes me super happy! We’re seeing square tips, nostalgic 90s trends, jewels, and chrome. These looks are so fun and stand out in photos.

Q: When you’re doing a celebrity event, what’s the process like?

Julie K: I almost never know what they’re wearing in advance. I read the room to see what makeup the talent is wearing and understand their general aesthetic. I present a few looks by sketching them out, so the talent can visualize the design. This helps build trust and ensures they’re comfortable with the look.

Q: Let’s talk about the KISS Salon X-tend Nail Extension System.  It’s so exciting that you are the brand ambassador! What makes this system stand out to you in the world of DIY nail art?

Julie K: Working with celebrities, you can never be fast enough or prepared enough. Salon X-tend nails are so fast and easy to apply. Everything is in one kit, and they’re pre-sculpted, giving the look of hours of work in minutes.

Q: How does the KISS Salon X-tend System compare to traditional nail extension methods?

Julie K: They’re pre-sculpted, pre-polished, and pre-designed, which is fantastic. Not everyone knows how to do nail art or has the right products. Salon X-tend nails are strong, easy to apply, and last up to 14 days, which is amazing.

Q: Is the curing process difficult for DIY users?

Julie K: The lamp is ergonomically designed for DIY. The flash cure feature allows for adjustments, making it foolproof. The full curing process ensures the product is set properly, which is crucial for longevity.

Q: How did your partnership with KISS come about?

Julie K: I’ve used KISS products for years, even before I started doing nails professionally. As a kid, my friend and I would buy KISS press-ons at the drugstore and polish them with her mom. It’s a brand that’s been a part of my life for a long time.

Q: What are your top expert tips for using Salon X-tend?

Julie K: Use both sides of the file in the kit. The black side, used in an X shape, gives the nail plate extra grip. Pay special attention to the cuticle area, as it’s like the root of your hair and needs more grip. Ensure you follow the full curing times: one minute for sheer colors, two minutes for darker ones, and the flip for French tips.

Q: Should you size up or down if the nail tip doesn’t fit perfectly?

Julie K: Size up and file down the sides. A slightly larger tip is flatter and fits better. This prevents the nail from popping off, ensuring a longer-lasting manicure.

Q: How do you remove Salon X-tend nails?

Julie K: Use the KISS Glue Off, which has a chisel tip. Apply pressure to the tip while softening the back of the nail with Glue Off. This helps the product work faster, making removal easy and efficient.

Q: Any exciting projects to tell us about and anything we can look forward to in the future?

Julie K: I’m teaching a course in the fall and planning to involve KISS products. The Met Gala and Cannes Film Festival was amazing. I’ll be at a Mastermind in Bali teaching nail pros June 11-18. Plus, we’re donating products to students in Jamaica this summer. Lots of exciting things ahead!


$22.99 | kISS

Follow Julie K’s journey on Instagram (@julieknailsnyc) and stay tuned for her upcoming projects and tips on mastering your at-home manicure with KISS Salon X-tend!

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A post shared by Mia Santiago (@miasantiagohair)

The post Achieve Flawless Nails at Home with Tips from Celebrity Manicurist and Salon X-tend Ambassador Julie K first appeared on BEAUTIFY.TIPS.

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