Nails of New York: Tinna Empera
A conversation about nails, Icelandic style, and the inspiring world of editorial fashion with hairstylist and makeup artist Tinna Empera.

Our founder Elle met Tinna Empera just across the street from Paintbox during her first visit to Laicale salon. She's since become a regular and loves Tinna's cuts, colors, and blowouts. Elle was fascinated when Tinna told her about beauty school in Iceland (Tinna grew up in Iceland, where beauty school encompasses four years of training) and asked her if she'd be willing to tell us more in an interview for our Nails of New York series—and luckily she was.

Why do you paint your nails?

Having my nails done makes me feel put together and completes my look. My clients give me a lot of compliments when I have my nails done, and I like to stay on top of this because clients notice small details like that. I've been trained to pay special attention to details through my work on set and in editorial. It gives me personal satisfaction to see manicured nails as I style hair, especially since I am looking at my hands all day.

Tinna photographed outside of Laicale Salon on Crosby Street.

Do you have a favorite color, or a look you love to wear on your nails?

Red has been my go-to color since I started wearing nail polish as a teenager in Reykjavik. Considering how isolated Iceland is, girls there are really fashion forward. They're very into dark colors and red and black. I typically wear a burgundy polish, but if I'm not wearing red, I'll go for a beige nude. I like that it's soft and feminine and that it makes my fingers look longer.

In terms of shape, I've tried an almond shape before, but now I'm back to a more natural, soft oval shape. I had never tried nail art before Paintbox—I loved it, and my clients loved my Shade Shifter manicure, too. The red-to-black fade was subtle and beautiful. I actually used to have acrylic nails, but I got really sick of the upkeep and decided to take them off this past summer.

Tinna wears Shade Shifter from the Paintbox FW'14 collection.

Nails of New York: Tinna Empera

Where do you find inspiration?

I started working in a hair salon at fifteen, but I had known since I was thirteen that I wanted to be a hairstylist. So at fifteen I started training in the salon—just making coffee and shampooing hair. I fell in love with the environment, the people, and the magic that the hairstylists were creating. I went to school for hair and makeup in Iceland. After makeup school, I got really into the editorial fashion world and became obsessed with magazines, blogs, and finding a way to work within that industry. That's why I moved to New York—to get more experience and meet new people. I'm still so inspired by magazines. My favorites are V, W, i-D magazine, and I love photography books. My mom is a photographer in Iceland, so she has the best collection of art books. David LaChapelle and Tim Walker are two of my favorites. But I also find inspiration every day on SoHo's streets or riding the L train into Manhattan from Brooklyn.

Nails of New York: Tinna Empera

Book an appointment for a cut or color with Tinna (in Iceland, all stylists are trained in both) at Laicale and see some of her beautiful editorial work on her website.