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My Instagram: Nina Park

As the cold weather semi-permanently settles in, so do the office-wide flu symptoms, murky puddles of slush, and a perpetual state of snow boot depression. Oh, and dry, cracked hands and nails that are impossible to keep up with. But fret not. We reached out to Allston’s mani savant, 32-year-old Nina Park (, who puts her hands through the ringer as a member of the roller derby league Boston Derby Dames, an English teacher at TechBoston, and a nail art Instagram star with more than 16,000 followers.

Q. What do you do to take care of your hands?


A. I’m constantly washing my hands because I’m at school, but I combat that by using natural coconut oil from Trader Joe’s on my nails and cuticles. I have a little eye cream container that I reuse and scoop coconut oil in there and take it around with me. It’s easy and everywhere. I also use the Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover to push back my cuticles. And then I use whatever I can find, generally the Bath and Body Works body cream.

Q. What are the nail trends you are seeing this season?

A. Every fall I always get into the really really rich jewel tones. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of negative space, but I’ve been eyeing rich burgundy and navy blues. I’ve also been seeing lots of tiny studs and details that you can put on your nails. There’s this website called Daily Charme that sells tiny triangles and crystals that you can put onto polish. It’s really easy and beautiful.

Q. What do you mean by negative space?

A. It means you leave a certain portion of your nail blank. I use tape to block off part of the nail and then paint the rest of it. When you pull off the tape, you have a window into your natural nail and give it a really fresh, clean look.


Q. Is that complicated?

A. I think if you’re going to do a lot of tiny details, yes, but literally you can just use Scotch tape on your desk and block off a small corner or section. Then take it off before your polish starts to dry, and you have a wicked beautiful clean space. It’s something everyone can do.

Q. What’s changed about your Instagram account over the past few months?

A. Once I realized I could control lighting and there was such a thing as optimal lighting, it’s changed a lot. I’ve noticed I’ve gained a lot of Boston followers recently and we can talk about nails and where we go and where we’ve been.

Q. Speaking of Boston, have you seen a change in the nail art game here?

A. I haven’t personally, but I have seen a lot of people e-mailing me for inquiries for nail art. I know people are in Boston and I know they want the art, so I know it’s a need. And if someone else knows there’s a good place for nail art, please tell me, because I’d like to go there to get my nails done.

Q. Do you let other people do your nails often?

A. I consider myself to be a collector of manicures. Whenever I travel I try to find the best nail art in the city. I don’t travel a lot during the school year, but when I was in New York a bunch of times over the summer, I went to Vanity Projects. Now, they’re artists.


Rachel Raczka can be reached at