A real expert shouldn’t be judged only based on the number of years of experience she has, but also skills. The CEO of BUB WORLD Shigeyama Ai might have made her foray into the nail biz less than 10 years ago, but nailists from Japan and Korea—some with more than a decade of experience—have sought her expertise on her range of gel products, A.I, which has been lauded by nailists and beauty maestros. It’s no wonder then that her clientele includes some of the biggest stars in Korea, including Girls’ Generation. We sat down with her to get more juicy info on her products.

On A.I. products
A.I. products has a lot of colours and types, including metal, sand, stardust, twinkle, aura and shell. There are more than 200 colours, and [this allows you to] express limitless designs. It’s easy to use not just by professionals, but everyone. It’s long-lasting and safe to use. It’s hypoallergenic, and has gone through a lot of thorough testing by the relevant Korean authorities. Speed is very important [for professionals], and A.I. products take very little time to apply and design. The colours are cute and feminine, so a lot of women like them.

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Biggest mistake in nail care
The most common mistake when it comes to nail care is cuticle removal. Cuticles have to be handled by professionals who have been trained in cuticle care. It’s a very sensitive area. If you cut too much, the nail skin will come off and it can even lead to bleeding. You have to be especially careful when using the cuticle scissors. Hygiene is important as well. You have to go to a store that is hygienic and clean. For example, in my shops in Japan and Korea, I have different designated areas for treatment and applying of polish. Another important thing is the tools. Tools have to be santised with heat before and after usage. The nailist also have to sanitise their hands, as well as the customers’ hands before starting the treatment.

Summer nail trends
The latest trend for this summer is shell design. It’s very feminine and mystic, and when you go outdoors in the sun, the designs will shine even more. Also, similar to last year, floral patterns are popular this season.

Inspo for designs
I get inspo from fashion, from runways to accessories. I refer a lot to the colours and designs, as well as fashion books and street fashion. For example, I came up with the idea that I could put lace on nails using gel products [based on the Valentino dress that Tiffany wore].

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Working with celebs
Celebs are different and unique. I would discuss the concept of the album or drama with the company and refer to my shop’s designs to come up with the best design for the celeb. So I would work based on that concept for the next few months.

The legend of how she got famous
This is a legendary story that I always tell everyone. Girls’ Generation’s Tiffany actually puts pearls on all 10 of her nails. One television programme showed a photo of her nails and the hosts were asked to guess how much her nail art cost. That was how my designs got famous, so I particularly like that nail design. It’s popular every season. At that point of time, it was a new thing, though it’s now common in Singapore and Korea.

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Nails are part of the wardrobe
Fashion is only complete with manicured nails. Even with beautiful makeup, nice hairstyle and pretty clothes, it is not complete without nice nails. It is a privilege that women can haveto express themselves in a tiny space on the nails. Just like fashion designers who use different fabrics for their clothes, A.I. products allow nail artists to express themselves through nail design—like a wardrobe for the nails.

A.I. products are available in Singapore at The Glamourous Factory. Wanna experience Shigeyama Ai’s skills? Book an appointment with Head Nail Artisan Foo Yee Sin, the first Singaporean to be trained by the nail maestro.

Thumbnail photo: BUB WORLD Facebook page