Everyone’s had a bad manicure. Not everyone has had a great manicure. Enter: Miwa Kobayashi. Her holistic and natural approach to nail care is, to say the least, refreshing. She is meticulous. Whether you like glossy, perfectly painted claws, or if you want some hand-painted nail art, she “nails” it every time!
Miwa strays away from traditional techniques that, although are common practice, are not beneficial to nail health. For instance, instead of cutting cuticles, she uses removal gel that safely, hygienically, and naturally softens and deteriorates the skin surrounding the nail. Cutting often times removes too much or injures, leaving skin and vulnerable to germs and dangerous infections.
I have actually had the privilege of knowing Miwa for upwards of 4 years. She is a highly intelligent, ambitious, generous, and hilarious woman. I was excited when she let me bully her into doing this interview. So, I sat Miwa down to pick her brain about her techniques, history, and inspirations.
Where in Japan are you originally from?
I’m from Niigata. It’s diagonally north of Tokyo.
How did you get started doing nails?
When I was teenager, I used to work at fashion building called “Shibuya 109″ in Tokyo. I had the opportunity to see all the amazing nail art there. That pushed me to get into doing nails.
What were some of the first nail art trends you noticed?
Tropical designs were very popular that time. Lots of palm trees, dolphins, hibiscus flowers, and anything island inspired.
I’ve had you do some crazy designs on my own nails! Remember the time I had you paint the mini Bud Light can, motorcycle engine, and even had you put real snake skin on them?! Thanks for putting up with me.
Are you kidding?! I love the challenge! Although, that snake skin did take some work!
What was your motivation for moving to Los Angeles?
When I was 19 years old, I went to beauty school in San Diego. Naturally, I fell in love with California. I always wanted to have experience of living in the foreign country, learning different cultures, and meeting people from all over the world. After school, I returned to Japan to built my career. I had my own salon and school. Then I moved back to the US as planned.