Bogota, Colombia-based nail tech Heidy Aristizabal majored in art and painting in school, but her passion for color soon led her to fall in love with nail art — something that has been happening on a larger scale throughout the country.

Heidy Aristizabal

Heidy Aristizabal

“Right now in Colombia, clients are taking risks and using their nails as another accessory and as a way to express their personality,” says Aristizabal. “This demand is pushing professionals to keep up with the latest trends that are popular in different parts of the world and is even inspiring them to be creative and set their own trends. A wide range of nail services are offered in traditional hair salons, but increasingly you see salons that are dedicated to hands and feet. Nail spas and nail bars are also popping up in all the cities of Colombia, giving nails the same importance as other treatments for hair and skin.”

Being a manicurist is no longer considered a trade, but a profession, she notes, and salons require a manicurist to have training and a license.

Aristizabal’s specialty is creating designs that combine colors, textures, and patterns or paintings over natural nails — and she uses the same tools an artist would use to paint on a canvas. “I use a palette for mixing colors, brushes, and lacquers,” she says. She rarely uses acrylic paint, preferring traditional polish for its purity, opacity, and vibrancy. “I love to recreate colors I see using polish. I find inspiration in fabric patterns, works of art, movies, illustrations, and animated cartoons. My clients’ tastes and interests inspire me to explore their personalities in order to achieve the best design in that moment.”

Nail art has become something of a cultural phenomenon in Colombia, according to Aristizabal. “Nail art is no longer a fad and is now part of fashion. A lot of women like to do their nails at home. It’s a way to spend an afternoon with your friends or spend some ‘me’ time replicating designs they see on social media or on tutorials on YouTube,” she says. “This has created a culture around nails and that’s why a part of my project, H la Cosedora Nail Art, is focused on teaching the best techniques for creative women to successfully do nails.” She teaches via workshops and her YouTube channel (search “H la Cosedora”), where she answers questions and gives advice.

You can see examples of her work on Instagram (@hlacosedora) and find tutorials on her YouTube channel.

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