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The Best Nail Shop in Korea

February 5, 2015

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This video may not be of utmost interest to everybody buuuuuuuuuut I finally made a video about my nail artist in Korea! She runs the best nail shop I’ve ever been to in Korea. Sunny is an amazingly talented artist. I found her a couple years ago when I was fed up with my nails easily chipping after paying for a manicure. I like to say she is a nail designer because I’ve gone to many nail shops in Korea that can’t think creatively. They can copy from a magazine or picture but if I say to them, “I want pink and blue and something adorable but edgy” they have no idea what to do. Many places just panicked and would insist that I pick something from their sample set even if I didn’t like anything. ANDDDDDD I was speaking in Korean, so it wasn’t a communication issue, it was just a creativity issue. When I found Sunny (and I should say when Soozee found Sunny via a Korean blog) she had done Lee Hi’s nails as well as Fergie when she was living back in NYC. The first time I went to her I showed an example picture of what I wanted but mentioned that I wanted a kind of rock look. She used a tiny brush to draw an awesome black skull on top of my fantastic neon yellow nail job. She even tossed on some lovely glossy black star stickers and that was it…I was in love!

Since then Sunny made my watermelon nails, cupcake striped nails, polka dot rainbow nails, winter ice queen nails…and what’s amazing about it is that she hand paints them on the spot. Sunny has since left the nailshop she worked in when I first found her and she went on to open up her own private studio. It’s a one-on-one customer situation so you don’t feel rushed or awkward. Sunny speaks Korean and English and I think some Japanese too. If you send her some example pics of what you’re looking for she’s able to practice a bit in advance if it’s complicated. Sunny has an amazing arsenal of jewelry (which you may have seen on my instagram feed) and you can give her a price range limit of what you want to spend and she will bling you out accordingly. Did I mention Sunny also has her waxing specialist in brow and body? What can’t she do. I’d also like to mention that Sunny didn’t pay me in anyway to make this video, I just really love her work and think she deserves the attention.

Sunny only works with gel nail polish or if you want, you can get gel tip extensions. Leigh and Soozee has gone to Sunny as well and they just get just gel polish. I get the full tip extensions since my nails blow chunks. I have terrible tiny forever breaking nails. So no, those long gorgeous nails of mine are not mine. Hahaha *sobs into a pillow* Anyone else got terrible weak nails?

Gel Polish and Gel Extensions

Okay, so I really want to demystify the concept of getting gel tip extensions because I was super nervous to get them done myself. I’m really a “paint your nails at home and be too impatient for them to dry” kind girl. Also I was hesitant to get extensions because I heard they are terrible on your nails BUT THEN I found out not all extension are the same. I did so much googling guise…so much. So gel tips are only applied to the ends of your nails while traditional expansions are applied over your whole nail. I had a terrible experience with these once. For my friend’s wedding I bought stick on nail extensions and applied them at night the day before her wedding. I woke up around 2 am in agony because it felt like my all my nails were being ripped off. The stick on nails that covered the whole nail was trying to warp my nail to the shape of the rigid plastic and I hard to immediately remove them. Let me assure you getting gel tips is nothing like this!

So first Sunny gives me a basic manicure. Then she picks out nail tips that fit my finger nail shape so they aren’t too wide or narrow. She then glues the tips on with special nail glue. My whole nail, including the new fake tip, is then coated in a clear gel polish and is hardened layer by layer under little UV lamps until they’re strong enough to be real nails. They look like my real nails at this point. Sunny then shapes them and cuts them to whatever length I want, and after the tips are totally finished Sunny decorates them. I really like getting extensions because it’s over a month of perfect nails. If I got them filled (which means touching up the gap of polish that grows out from my cuticle) they would just keep going for another month. So as your nail grows they grow with it, and I trim the length at home with sharp clippers. Then I file them into the shape I want. Also, gel polish dries almost instantly with the UV light so there is no concern of chipping or smudging my polish. Once the design is done it just lasts until my nail grows out. To me, it’s worth the time and money to have perfect nails for months. I’m sure you have felt the rage of getting your nails done at a salon only to have it chip the next day, cause I sure have. If you’re not interested in extensions, gel polish works the same way as normal polish except that it’s way stronger and also doesn’t chip. The only downside to gel polish is that is has to be specially removed or you have to wait for your polish to fall off in one piece as your nail grows out naturally. To me, that’s no problem at all!

So that’s my little story on gel extensions and Sunny’s nail studio. I’m curious about your experiences with gel polish and extensions! Also, I don’t actually know anyone else that gets extensions done so I’d love to hear some stories!

Sunny’s Contact Info

I usually Kakao Sunny and set up an appointment about a week in advance.

Kakaotalk ID: sunkuku

Email: [email protected]

Cell Phone: 010-6449-6692

Sunny’s Blog (with links to her Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr) Sunkukuart

Pricing As of 2015:

Basic gel manicure: ₩45,000
French/Gradation: ₩60,000
Artwork: ₩60,000 – up depending on if you want jewelry or not
Gel Extensions: ₩80,000 + (basic, french, gradation, artwork, etc)

Directions:

서울특별시 마포구 서교동 395-191 홍익그린빌 B-01 Sunkuku Studio
Seoul, Mapo-gu, Seogyo-dong, 395-191 Hongik Green Ville, 1st Floor Basement

1. Get off at Hapjeong Station on the green line and exit #3 or #4. The street that leads to Sunny’s studio is located right between both stops, so check the map I included.
3. Walk straight down the street until you see a tall black and white checkered Nexus building. (I attached a picture of the Nexus Building)
4. Turn left on the side street JUST before the checkered Nexus building. If you pass the checkered building you just missed the street!
5. Sunny’s studio is a basement flat. You’ll see a small square sign on your right side alerting you to her studio on the wall of what looks like just a driveway for two cars. It’s under a villa so if you walk down the driveway you’ll see a door and a sign for her studio. It’s quite dark so don’t miss it!
6. Knock on that door and you’re there! ^^

We’ve got a few extra scenes from the day as well, if you’re interested. AWW YEAH! NAILS!!!!

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The Best Nail Shop in Korea

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  1. My friend and I did a search for nail shops in Korea and Sunny was the first to pop up! THAT’S How awesome she is. My friend and I went to Sunny and I have to say she is amazing! We both got the gel nail extensions and this is my first time having nails this long but its totally worth it! We both had a style in mind that we wanted and Sunny went beyond our expectations! I absolutely love her work and she is a great person! It does take some getting used to with these nails but I absolutely love them! If you are in Korea, I HIGHLY recommend Sunny!

    2 years ago
  2. When Martina said the appointments were one on one I expected buuko bucks for the visit. However, the prices are almost exactly the same as the nail studio I go to in Texas (that’s always crowded). I would love to get my nails done up by this talented lady!

    2 years ago
  3. Hey Martina! No one seems to have any idea how to do gel tip extensions, but I really want to get them so bad. I was wondering if you knew or could possibly ask & find out from Sunny when you happen to get the chance (I know that’s really a lot to ask, but it would mean a lot to me) the brand & line of gel tips she uses as well as the band (name/type) of the “glue” she uses to secure the gel tip to your nails. I’d kinda suck to take the time to do my nails all fancy-like only to have them fall off in someone’s hand while I’m giving a handshake, or fling off and hit someone in the face…not that it’s happened to me or anything…..O.o :)

    2 years ago
  4. I need to go here if I ever get to go to Korea XD

    2 years ago
  5. Question!!! you’ve got the estimated prices above for the nails… so as an example how much did you pay for yours in total? I want to get gel-extensions plus pretty nail art next years when I’m in Korea :)

    2 years ago
    • Although I’m not Martina, when I went to Sunny I got nail extensions and art pretty similar to Martina’s winter nails and it ended up being 180,000 won. I gave her a tip too, so it was a little more, but the tip isn’t necessary. You can tell Sunny how much you want to pay and she can alter the amount of nail art she does. I definitely recommend the extensions though, I love them!

      2 years ago
  6. Wow that is so awesome *U* She is amazing and your nails always look so good and totally you, Martina. I keep my nails short and i rarely paint them because i’m so rough on them and they’re pretty weak.

    2 years ago
  7. I love your nails (so does a lot of pple obviously)the watermelon are killing me with their cuteness. If ever in the area I will definitely give Sunny a call and tell her you guys told me about her and her amazing work!!!

    3 years ago
  8. I work as a nail artist and I was always curious if it would be hard to find a job as one in Korea. Does someone know about that?

    3 years ago
  9. I wish I’d known about her while I was living in Korea, I’d have been there every month. Is it difficult to book an appointment? How far in advance would appointments generally need to be booked?

    3 years ago
  10. So just noticed that you stuck your hands under the UV drying machine…is that safe?? I know most places make you put on fingerless gloves if it’s a true UV gel polish (ack, I don’t know the technical terms) to protect your hands from UV rays. I’ve never gotten a design but I love gel manicures but get them on particular occasions or if I want to splurge, usually I just paint my own nails. If only they weren’t so pricy…(I think anything over $35 is pricy LOL, I’m cheap).

    3 years ago
    • As a licensed aesthetican, I can say that there are both UV lamps and LED Lamps. UV is a stronger so is faster at curing the gel polish, so it’s DNA damage (the main cause of skin cancer) is close to that of when you drive a car down a road, which is very little. LED lamps are not as strong as UV lamps, so the cure time is longer, but the damage is even less. You would have to pull your hand in the LED light 180 times to equal that of one 15 minute tanning bed session.
      Basically, while either light doesn’t do that much damage compared to that of going outside without proper protecting, it is still a good idea to protect your skin. Its not needed, but for people who are worried about it, having sunscreen on your hands ahead of time is a good idea, since not all places have finger-less gloves. That way, you will have peace of mind and beautiful nails.~

      2 years ago
  11. I can’t believe what she’s charging for that. If I was in Korea, I’d be making an appointment *today*. Awesome find, Martina.

    I’ve been super into nail art the past year (doing it myself, that is). It’s pretty much the only reason I use instagram. Hey, if any of you are ever in LA and want some awesome free nail art, just let me know!^^

    3 years ago
  12. Love to see vids from both you guys, but feel like Simon is owed a little airtime. How about some updates on the basketball (our shared love!) scene? A little tour of some courts? I remember Simon saying he plays at the US airbase, are you not finding good pick-up games elsewhere? Anyways, maybe not enough nasties are interested in this topic but I’ll be moving out there in about a year and would be good to know what the happie-hap is.

    3 years ago
  13. I’m so excited that you shared this – already made an appointment with her!

    3 years ago
  14. That’s actually not so expensive at all! I was expecting 3 times that price!

    3 years ago
  15. Very interesting! This is actually different than how they do it in Japan, so I’m surprised! but i thought since she’s using tips it would be quicker?? I get my nails done fairly often, and I’ve had some really complicated art too, but i’ve never been in there longer than 3 hours… and it’s usually about 2-2 1/2 hours… wow. 5 hours sounds painful T_T

    Martina, if you come back to Tokyo, i will take you to my nail place!!

    3 years ago
    • We realized that we kind edited that unfairly because 5 hours was for my nails AND Leigh’s nails plus the longer time it took Sunny to film with us.

      3 years ago
  16. I went to South Korea on vacation a year and half ago and wanted to get my nails done while there. I asked Martina where she got her nails done and she recommended Sunny. It was a wonderful experience, but Martina is right that it is a much longer process (I am comparing to the methods used in LA). I had a gel manicure done and it was pristine for four weeks before I had to take it off due to the growth line (Martina had some awesome suggestions to combat this). The method used was ten layers of polish compared to the max four I get in the USA and took three hours. I received many comments on my nails when I got home and it was a hoot responding to the question, “where did you get your names done?”, with “I got them done in South Korea”… Naturally many commented that was too far. I would definitely recommend the experience :)

    3 years ago
  17. I’m way to selfconscious about my hands to have any one look at them :) My nails are terrible, always breaking and stuff. -.- So I normally give them just a clear coat to make them not break as much, and then make sure people just don’t see my hands.
    When I was still working in the Netherlands (before I came to Korea), I’d work either cleaning or in the order picking business, opening and closing boxes all the time. If there is any worse combination for your nails (or hands in general), let me know :)

    Cheers

    3 years ago
    • Get some nail hardeners and that will help! They also go on clear so it’s exactly what you are doing now except your nails will be harder and stronger!

      3 years ago
      • I did, however with the nail hardeners my nails were harder but then they started chipping T_T That was the point were I decided that I gave up. :)

        3 years ago
    • working with plants leaves my nails full of dirt 24/7 and chips them because i forget to wear gloves lol soil is really bad for your hands because it dries them out and it’s possible to get reactions to microorganisms

      3 years ago
      • Hoi Sarah,
        I actually did a summer of field work, where we were sampling ditches in a peat area, so stuff like collecting mud and plants. Although I didn’t quite got my fingers clean, my hands were suprisingly great. The mud totally worked for me :)

        Just curious, but what do you do with plants?

        3 years ago
  18. I’ve never been able to keep finger nail polish on. I hardly ever where it, and when I do it chips so quickly. After it chips, I can’t help but pick at it until it’s all gone. Number one example, I painted my nails the morning of my Junior prom because I knew it wouldn’t last if I did it any sooner. Only a couple hours in to prom my nail polish was completely gone. The longest I’ve managed to keep my nails painted was a week. That was the week of my senior prom and I was so proud of myself. Maybe I should look into gel polish. However, I’m not big about getting my nails done by other people. Even for both of my proms I did them myself. I hate to pay for something that I could just do myself.

    3 years ago
    • Gel nail polish requires UV lamps and special polish so in this case it might be easier to get someone else to do it for you. You can even ask them not to do a manicure and to just paint them if you don’t like them handling your nails. Also, my normal nail polish used to chip really quickly too but then I got some good advice that changed everything: 1) the quality of polish really does matter if you want it to last, so cheap polish does come off faster 2) it’s better to do 1-2 thin layers of polish. Apparently the thicker the coat the sooner it chips off!

      3 years ago
  19. Want!

    3 years ago
  20. I’m like a stalker of Sunny on IG because I love her and her art so much! Would definitely go to her studio on my travel to Seoul :)

    3 years ago
  21. As a nail technician and artist in the UK this makes me super jealous! My clients never want any art other than a flower every now and then or a snowflake at Christmas time!

    Do most of Sunny’s clients have nail art/do a lot of people in Korea have nail art?

    If Sunny ever wants to take on a Brit as an apprentice I’ll be on the first flight over!

    3 years ago
  22. Now I need to find out how to teleport to Korea… (well I know where I’ll be going once I go to Korea)

    3 years ago
  23. Thank you so much for posting this and the detailed directions and price breakdown! I’m going to be there in a few weeks and have been wanting to get my nails done by Sunny when I get there but wasn’t quite sure how to go about finding her! This has been so helpful, thanks heaps!!

    3 years ago
  24. Thank you so much Martina!!! I am coming to Korea in April. My fiance and I are getting married (traditional wedding at a traditional Korean house/palace) in May and I will totally go to Sunny to get my nails done for the wedding! (Also thinking of going to the lash extension place you suggested some time ago) Thanks!!! ^^

    3 years ago
    • COOOOOOOOL!!!! Sunny does a lot of wedding nails as well. :D Please send me some pics later on after your wedding (if you don’t mind) so I can see you and your husband all decked out!!!

      3 years ago
      • :D Sure!!! Actually, you could come if you would like. Both of us have been fans for years and would be delighted if you’d come!

        3 years ago
  25. I was so stoked to see this! I have been admiring your nails for ages! Now if I could just find a salon in my area that would do them… Im allergic to the binders in acrylic nails so I am currently suffering with my short, stubby, easily ripped or broken nails. So annoying. Most salons will do gel polish, but finding one that does gel extensions anymore is really hard. Wish me luck! ;-)

    3 years ago
  26. I don’t usually like getting my nails done, but I’d love them done by Sunny!
    Your nails always turn out super cute.

    3 years ago
  27. I have been waiting for this video ermagerd Martina your nails are always so gorgeous and I love them!

    I actually got a at home gel kit and then used the wrong polish as a base coat. Basically ruined my nails for a bit, but it’s all ok now! (to all those DIY people- please pay very good attention to this)
    I really like those gel extensions! I’ve been blessed with long nails in general, but not having to worry about chipping the top part of your nail when you slam into a wall (it happens) is so convenient!

    Though I’m afraid I’ll keep doing my own nails until the tree in my yard suddenly starts growing money..

    3 years ago
  28. I naturally have short, stubby fingers so I normally grow my nails long (they’re naturally strong too so sometimes they just bend instead of break) but they grow so fast that nail art just looks ugly after two weeks because half my natural nail is exposed and I’m too lazy to get them filled. But also, having naturally long nails shaped with a gel polish and having extensions are a completely different feeling and I’m more partial to natural nails. I’m part of the Gyaru subculture and 3D nail art and extensions is certainly a fixed feature of it so if you want some inspo you can google or tumblr “gyaru nails” :)

    Loving your snow queen nails and I think the watermelon design is one of my favourites that you’ve had!

    3 years ago
  29. This might just have to be a part of my “To Do” list while in Korea ;-; Me and two friends are traveling to Seoul this summer, so the chance is actually there ~

    Oh man, it would’ve been awesome if we could hang out sometime ;w; Just go out to eat or something
    Don’t know what your summerplans looks like – but would you possibly be able to hang out sometime between august 24. and june 5. ?

    I feel stupid asking.. but you guys were so nice to be around at the Norway Meetup so I’d love to meet you again ;-; (My twitter: @Rosaladwastaken)
    (Maybe you could even learn how to bake kanelboller?)

    3 years ago
    • Just realised how amazingly I messed up the months cx Sorry ’bout that .-. Correction: June 24. to July 4.~

      3 years ago
  30. I got gel nails done for when I was graduating high school. The problem with the gel nails were that they seriously left my nails so soft and brittle and it is bad enough that I have a history of chipping nails :/

    They used to advertise gel nails in Vancouver a lot. Like you’d see them in cube stores all the time, and there’d be ads for specialty stores. But now, there seems to be decline.

    3 years ago
  31. OMG ALWAYS WONDERED WHERE YOU GOT YOUR NAILS DONE! you’re like my nailspiration, martina! stay fab!

    3 years ago
  32. I do my own gel nails ^^’ i have the magic machine at home and glitter and colors :D

    3 years ago
  33. Yes!! I’ve been waiting for this video!! \(*^*)/
    Quick question! IF I were to walk in a nail shop and ask for this type of nail art, what do I ask for? What’s the name of it? If anyone knows, that would be great!!

    I’m a little nervous since I know some places are better than others…but I don’t want to experiment haha! Maybe…JUST MAYBE I can get my boyfriend to buy me my first nail art!!

    3 years ago
  34. I’ve gone through a period of strictly DIY nails where I would spend hours on my own nails- I had a shoe box full of different colors and tools- but after a few months, my nails turned so soft and brittle that I had to stop using nail polish for a while. I gave away most of my colors and haven’t really painted my nails since, but now you’ve made me curious about gel manicures! Those tip extensions would be perfect for my sensitive nails.
    I’ve heard of gel polish before, but hadn’t really considered it since you can’t remove it yourself and I thought that would be really inconvenient. The price seems pretty hefty as well, compared to non-gel manicures… then again the gel would last a lot longer…
    But since I have no moneys, I guess I’ll go back to doing my own nails and watch them chip. sniff

    On a side note, who wants to bet that Sunny will be overrun (in a good way!) by Nasties after this video?

    3 years ago
    • Try it with the Seche Vite top coat! It dries super fast and you can put it on while your nails are still “wet” as long as you have enough product on the brush so the brush doesn’t smear any artwork. It also is one of the best top coats in regards of preventing chips.

      3 years ago
    • I don’t put on nail polish cos my nails are quite brittle and soft even without that shit on it.

      3 years ago
  35. Omg!!! Love your nails!!! I had to stop getting my nails done bc they break so easy and my nail bed was sooo thin and tragic.

    3 years ago
  36. Do you know about BUB? She does SNSD’s and Ailee’s nails and is actually from Japan. I’ve read a lot about her as Tiffany’s nails are becoming a big trend and I would DIE to have my nails done by her or just any korean nail artist!

    3 years ago
  37. Martina, besides super jealous I’m not in Seoul to do this, I’m really curious how you’re able to remove lenses with nails this long? If I look at my fingers from the palm-side, my nails can’t stick out further than 3-4..max 5mm or I literally can’t take out my lenses without painfully scratching my eyeballs >< Do you have any special techniques??
    I feel like this was a weird question.. ☞☜

    3 years ago
    • If you fast forward to this at 3:55, it features XiaXue, a Singaporean blogger getting her nails done. She demonstrates how to take your contacts with your two middle fingers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6Bq0ejLprc

      3 years ago
    • Not a weird question, I actually answered it on instagram in the comments once! I use my thumb more than my first finger to gently swipe the contact towards the corner of my eye and then I do the normal pinch out but using more of my lower fingers pads instead of the tips. That’s weird to explain but it totally works without any poking. Basically don’t use the tips of your fingers straight on!

      3 years ago
      • Haha no I understand! Or at least I think I do LOL I’ll definite try using this way once my nails grow out to where I would normally file them down! Thank you~^^

        3 years ago
  38. I’ve been wanting to get some cute designs on my nails but am unsure about gel polish manicures. How are Soozee’s and Leigh’s natural nails after taking the polish off? I have naturally hard nails and have never needed acrylics or extensions. So I’m worried about gel nails ruining my nice natural nails. But many places here in Japan only do all those fabulous intricate designs with gel polish manicures/gel nails.

    3 years ago
  39. This seems awesome, but… isn’t the UV light maybe not he best thing for the skin of your hand? D:

    3 years ago
    • Assuming they follow the same regulations as lamps in the UK/USA then they shouldn’t be able to produce enough UVA to cause any damage.

      3 years ago
    • I actually rub sunscreen into my hands before going juuuuuuuuuust in case! ^^

      3 years ago
  40. I WANT COOKIE NAILS WITH LITTLE FACES NOW! *Throws tantrum* WHY am I in Norway and not Korea?! *Stares at her own sad nails*

    3 years ago
    • COOKIE NAILS. WUT. Please explain further and with more detail. :O

      3 years ago
      • I’m imagining those sushi dolls you can get, you know, with the different faces? Imagine different cookies with small, cute faces on your nails! Does that make sense? It’s like your nails would be a combination of a cartoon and cookie jar :D

        3 years ago
        • Right now I feel like the mad hatter in Alice in Wonderland. I’m supposed to study for my oral exam tomorrow and I just scared several students with my squeals -_-

          3 years ago