Nails have long been a symbol of beauty and elegance in various cultures across the world. However, in Brazil, nails have taken on a whole new level of significance. Brazilian women are very dedicated to nail care, not only in salons but especially at home.
Known for their love of vibrant colours and intricate designs when it comes to their nails; from bold hues to glittery accents, Brazilian nail art is celebrated for its creativity and originality. The nail culture in Brazil has become so noteworthy that it has even become a tourist attraction, with visitors seeking out nail salons and technicians to experience the trend for themselves.
Nails as a Symbol of Brazilian Culture
Nails have held a significant place in Brazilian culture for centuries. The Aboriginal population already used pigments extracted from nature to adorn their bodies, so it was only natural that those customs got absorbed into the daily lives of Brazilian people. During the colonial period, the slave trade brought a diverse mix of cultures to Brazil, each with its own customs and traditions too. Add to that the huge influx of immigrants during the 18th century, and it’s no surprise that Brazil is a big melting pot of creativity and diversity.
The Evolution of Nail Care in Brazil
Brazilian women have been doing their own nails at home since the beginning of the 19th century, with salons becoming popular a bit later than Europe (1920’s, as opposed to Europe’s late 1892). And even so many techs have been working successfully in salons since the beginning, the Brazilian government has only recognised and legally protected the profession in 2012.
In a country where nail lacquer is still prevalent over any other type of nail coating, women attend the salon weekly for their appointments, and it’s not rare for some to pop in for a change of colour twice in the same week.
Also, because nail polish in Brazil can be bought for very little money, it is accessible to many and used as a form to escape austerity in the poorer parts of the country.
Because the use of lacquer is dominant, Brazilian women have over the years developed their own method of painting nails, which is very interesting and produce beautiful results. It consists in flooding the cuticles whilst painting, and using an orange wood stick, cotton and acetone to clean up the surrounding skin afterwards. This ensures that the isn’t a gap between the product and the proximal nail fold, and that will potentially make the service last longer (WARNING: this is not a practice done with gels, only with nail lacquer).
It has been big on social media lately, with the hashtag brazilianmanicure trending, and many beauty journalists writing about experiencing the service.
From DIY to Professional: The Evolution of Brazilian Nail Art
Professional nail art has been a growing popular trend in Brazil for just over a decade.
It has always been customary for Brazilian women to do some sort of DYI nail art at home during the World Cup, Carnival and special events for example, but it wasn’t until the early 2010s that it really exploded in popularity.
The introduction of new types of nail coatings plus the upskilling of the profession opened so many possibilities.
Social media also played a significant role in the trend’s rise, as Brazilian women began sharing photos of their elaborate nail art designs on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. As the trend grew, nail art became a cultural phenomenon, with entire magazines and TV shows dedicated to the topic.
Just like in the rest of the world, celebrities and social media influencers also help popularize nail art styles. Many Brazilian celebrities and TV personalities are known for their elaborate and eye-catching nail designs, which are often shared on their social media accounts. As a result, fans and followers seek to emulate their favourite stars by trying out the latest nail trends.
There is much anticipation ahead of what the celebrities will have on their nails during carnival for example, with both local and international brands sponsoring them to use their products.
Brazilian Nail Artists: Quality and Attention to Detail
Brazilian nail artists have gained a reputation for their attention to detail and quality of work for many years, with some having become celebrity favourites in Hollywood in the 80’s and 90’s (it’s not just waxing that was exported to California).
The last 10 or so years have seen an increase in the Brazilian market for different types of nail coatings and extensions, which pushed the profession further and required upskilling.
Many techs have travelled to Europe and America in order to improve their craft and compete in global events, and to bring back that huge plethora of knowledge back to the country. Nail events are huge in the country with the presence of major names in the international circuit.
At the moment the industry keeps growing as a whole, and we are seeing many brands trying to dip their toes into Brazilian waters and their talent.
Booming Nail Industry in Brazil: Economic Opportunities and Creativity
Nails have become big business in Brazil, with the country boasting the second most profitable nail industries in the world. Nail salons and technicians are ubiquitous throughout the country, with both high-end and budget-friendly options available to consumers. The industry has been estimated to be worth over US$2 billion in Brazil, employing hundreds of thousands of people.
However, the self-care part of the industry still represents its biggest slice, with most women being taught how to care for their nails in their teenage years, and many still cannot afford the innovations brought recently to market.
The nail industry has become a significant contributor to the Brazilian economy, providing jobs and income for many. It has also created opportunities for entrepreneurship, as many nail technicians have started their own businesses or franchises. Additionally, the industry has become a popular tourist attraction, with visitors seeking out to try the Brazilian manicure method.
According to numbers in 2010, Brazil contributed 10.1% of the global revenue for sales of nail products, losing only to the US (16.6%). That was a whopping US$405 millions and represented a growth of 6.9% from the previous year.
The growth of the nail industry in Brazil has provided economic opportunities for many, while also showcasing the country’s creativity and innovation. Overall, nails in Brazil serve as a testament to the country’s passion for beauty, creativity, and self-expression, and they continue to inspire and captivate people around the world.