Rina "Rins" Francisco Alcantara has always loved nail art but she couldn't afford to shell out P15 per nail for the service. So she did what any artist would do. Rina learned how to paint her own nails with original designs.
Rins first tried nail stickers, which were also a bit pricey, and nail stamping using pre-designed plates. But she found these two methods limiting. She wanted more for her nails. She learned how to create lovely designs using acrylic paint.
"I'm an artist. I express myself through my nails. Nail art is a statement," says Rins, who blogs at Simply Rins (www.rina-alcantara.com).
A clarification though: Rins is not a nail technician. She does nail art on her herself and uploads the photographs on her blog. She earns money from her craft when she is asked to conduct nail art seminars by nail spas and salons and when these establishments buy her designs. Some salons and spas have tried to "steal" her designs and Rins has dealt with them like a professional.
"I have a lawyer for these things," she says.
She accepts special assignments for nail art, usually for weddings at about P2,000 per head. Rins also does nail art for kiddie parties. But mostly, this is just a hobby for Rins as she helps run the family-owned business.
What Rins hopes to do is inspire nail art enthusiasts (she tells me that there are a lot of them all over the world) to try nail painting or even come up with ideas based on the designs that she has posted.
When I interviewed Rins, she was sporting a design called "Crossed Out." When I remarked that I liked the design, she said it was something simple. When I looked at her blog, I saw that she described it as a "fallback for days when you run out of ideas."
She used two coats of Dazzle Dry Joan's Armor as base. For the design, she used Liquitex Basics acrylic paints and a stripper nail art brush. I figured white would be too loud so I opted to mix white and a little amount of yellow oxide.
She tries to come up with a new design every; more than once during Christmas or Valentine's season.
"I've made over 200 designs since I started posting nail art on my blog," she says.
I asked Rins how she paints her right hand with her left without shaking and she reveals that she has made a lot of sacrifices along the way in the name of art.
"My hands, especially my left hand, were shaky. I challenged myself to work on my weaker hand. I concentrated on how to avoid shaking, which I think is the ultimate hindrance to painting with a non-dominant hand," she explains.
She loves coffee but Rins cut down on her caffeine consumption so that her hands would be less shaky. She also avoids carrying heavy loads. Dessert and sugary stuff are also no-nos on days that Rins will be painting her nails.
Rins' top nail art designs for 2012 based on page views, social media shares, and comments are:
1. Porcelain Look
This was shared 15,000 times on Pinterest. The look featured four nails on each hand painted blue and the accent finger painted with a design usually found on blue-and-white porcelain. Rins did this to match her blue dress when she attended the coronation night of a beauty pageant.
2. Heart Patches
This design was for Valentine season. Rins wanted to come up with something that would be reflective of a broken heart without the design looking sad.
3. Dripping Rainbow
This was Rins' tribute to a friend who is always cheerful. This also received a lot of raves on Pinterest.
4. Black Cats Galore
The design featured a drawing of a black cat on a yellow base (Dazzle Dry Sahara).
5. Blue Wave
The design was supposed to be an ombre manicure with ripples but many people viewed it as blue roses. This was one of Rins' favorite designs and she remembers wearing it for a week.
6. Night Before Christmas
This design showed a snowman and trees covered with snow.
This colorful design was difficult to execute, says Rins but is one of her favorites.
8. Rose Buds
Black roses on a white background was also difficult to do. Rins admits that before this, painting roses wasn't one of her strong suits.
9. Bunch of Flowers
Flowers on a black background was very popular design. Rins says this was recreated many times by many enthusiasts using different colors.
10. Counting Sheep
"I am nocturnal and I can relate to it," says of the design featuring sheep and numbers.