The manicurist to the stars talks her favorite summer nail color, grooming Lady Gaga’s puppy for Bazaar and her foolproof nail regimen from Formula X.
Interview by Olivia Perez
Images by Greg Mitola
Olivia: How did you get into doing nails?
Mar y Soul: I’ve been working in beauty and fashion since 2004 and saw a need for nails on photo shoots, and one day on set, I decided to step in and help. My colleagues at the moment, [hairstylist] Chuck Amos and makeup [artist] Edward Cruz, loved my work and told me that I should focus on nails on set. I took their advice and, with passion and hard work, here I am today!
O: What's your signature nail style?
M: Every manicure is special in its own unique way. I like to create a special experience with every client. Nothing beats a custom look designed for your skin tone and inspired by your style and personality. Perfection is key when I’m dressing nails.
O: What is your favorite color for summer?
M: I LOVE a classic white nail for summer. I suggest Formula X’s White Matter—sealed in with their [three-step] System, of course!
O: What is your favorite nail design?
M: Negative space nail art and graphic shapes are always fun and easy to teach how to DIY. You can begin small and gradually get more creative, incorporating tape for fun, flawless designs.
O: What tips do you have for girls who do their nails themselves?
M: Don’t apply too much polish. Try and always do two thin coats of polish so that your polish can dry more quickly.
O: What are some of the most memorable nails you’ve ever done?
M: Definitely the time I gave Lady Gaga nearly four-inch nails for the cover of Harper’s Bazaar. It was an unforgettable experience being Lady Gaga’s hands for the day. To make it an even more unique experience, we also touched up her pup Asia’s nails. Asia had to look fabulous—after all, it was her first cover!
O: What are your tips for long-lasting manicures?
M: Your nail prep prior to painting color is key. I always use the System by Formula X because it includes a step for cleansing your nails with Witch hazel, Vitamin E, and Cucumber Extract. By cleansing before you paint, you can gently rid your nails of any oil and residue.
O: Tell me a little bit more about the Formula X system.
M: The System by Formula X is a three-step manicure essential kit which will change your life. Use the System and get a long-lasting, salon-quality manicure at home or take it with you when you get your nails done. It not only helps your nails grow, but it also ensures your manicure is sealed and shiny for at least eight days
O: How did you get involved with Formula X?
M: I started my relationship with Formula X before it was on the market. I helped test the products and gave my expert opinion in development, and I also introduced Formula X to all of the top beauty editors. Now, I’m their Brand Ambassador.
O: How does Formula X differ from other nail products?
M: A no-compromise formula means you get everything you want in nail care— invincible long wear, incredibly saturated color and ultimate high-shine.
O: What do you want to achieve with your career in the next five years?
M: I have so many things in the works that I cannot yet speak about. My goals are to continue traveling around the world working with my clients, researching the best ingredients and eventually becoming an inventor of my very own nail care products.
The Cleanse step features an essential salon secret. It's infused with witch hazel, vitamin E, cucumber extract, and other ingredients to help rid nails of oil and residue and optimize base-coat adherence. This step is really important and takes no time, thanks to Formula X’s specially-designed brush.
Apply the Prime coat. It’s a multi-tasking basecoat that works to help prevent staining and acts as an adhesive layer, allowing color to take hold for a lasting mani. You can literally feel it gripping the nail.
Pick two Formula X shades (we did Intensity and Unmistakable) and paint each nail, alternating colors.
Use an additional third color to accent the nail. We used Power Source to create a diagonal design across the nails.
The gel-like Shine top coat will leave you speechless when you see how fast it dries and how shiny your nails will be!