With the hype of the nail art craze in full force, we’re currently lusting after the fun cat-inspired designs by L.A.-based nail artist, Yoko Sakakura—who has decorated the digits of celebs including Madonna, Estelle, Génesis Rodríguez, and Willow Smith.
Sakakura is the owner of Nails by Yoko, a jewel box of a nail salon located inside the DreamSkin Spa, which opened last September in Beverly Hills, Calif. Scroll through her Instagram feed, @nails_by_yoko, and you’ll find hundreds of snapshots of her bright, fearless, out-of-the-box nail art, which includes pineapples, palm trees, zodiac signs, and one of her most popular designs: realistic cat decals, sourced from her native country, Japan.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Sakakura was fascinated by colors since age 5, when she held her first markers—and got in trouble for coloring in her nails with them. Eventually pursuing her dream to move to California, she worked at Marie Nails, and trained under the creative director. Later she became the manager at their Melrose location in L.A. “The best advice I’ve ever received from her was to stay humble, stay motivated, and practice more than other manicurists,” Sakakura tells InStyle.com.
Every appointment begins with a mini consultation with clients to dream up a custom design. With precision and patience, she then cleans fingertips and presents a color chart, along with cases of charms and stacks of decals to choose from. Text and phrase designs are also often requested (can you say, “Meow”?). After applying polish (Sakakura loves Essie, Orly, and OPI brands), the unique design is placed and then finished with scented cuticle oil and rich hand cream.
Whether Yoko’s inspiration stems from nature, shopping the latest Hello Kitty products at the Sanrio store, or a taking a yearly trip to the Tokyo Nail Expo, we just can’t get enough of her ever-changing designs. Follow Nails By Yoko on Instagram for your daily dose of manicure madness and book an appointment (starting at $15 for services), at nailsbyyoko.com.