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Essie's Celebrity Manicurist Carla Kay Talks Most Flattering Shades, Groom Manicures, and 'Something Blue' Polish

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Nail polish is just one element of wedding day beauty. But with the abundance of nail art and an encyclopedia of nail colors out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Carla Kay, a manicurist for essie, gives us her tips for bride manicures, groom polish, and whether bridesmaids need to match.

Racked: Essie's Ballet Slippers is like the Chanel No 5 of nail polish, a consistent bestseller every year. What is it about this color that makes it stand out from all the other pinks in the world? How did it become so popular for weddings?
Carla Kay: Ballet Slippers stands out from the rest because it's such a classic sheer-pink shade that goes well with every skin-tone. The color application is also incredibly smooth and flawless and always results in a sophisticated and clean nail look. It's a favorite among brides everywhere for these reasons.

Racked: Other than Ballet Slippers, what shades do you think are universally flattering, no matter your skin tone or nail type?
CK: Another shade that I love is essie's Like Linen —it is also a very flattering color that works for all skin-tones and nail shapes. It's a beautiful, soft creamy neutral and a great color for just about anyone.

Racked:As weddings get more modern, some brides like to get creative with wedding day nail art. Would you recommend doing something fun and wacky for your big day, or sticking with something traditional that looks good in photos?
CK: I am a fan of the classic manicure when it comes to wedding day nails. If brides do want to add a little something extra to their manicures, I will add a very tiny subtle rhinestone or sparkle to the nails on the ring fingers. However, I personally think a sheer classic shade is the right complement to the entire bridal look.

Racked: What are some cute nail looks you'd recommend for bridesmaids? Is it important for everybody to match?
CK: Should the bride and the bridesmaids have matching nails, or should the bride try to stand out on her big day? The bride and bridesmaids definitely do not have to match and the bridesmaids can be a little more daring than the bride, too! I think they should still incorporate the classic pink or beige tones, but a matte finish or more opaque look is a fun way to add a little flash without competing with their bridesmaids' dresses.

Racked:The cake is eaten and the honeymoon's over... how can you get your manicure to last as long as possible after the big day?
CK: For a fresh manicure that will last long after the wedding is over, apply essie’s Apricot Cuticle Oil on a daily basis and maintain a chip-free look by applying essie’s No Chips Ahead topcoat to the nails every two days. This will keep nails hydrated and chip-free throughout the honeymoon!

RackedHis and hers matching bride and groom manicures: great idea, or terrible idea?
CK:I think it's a great experience for the bride and groom to share a “his and her” manicure appointment – however, only the bride should actually have her nails polished. The groom should stick with a “maintenance” manicure where they clean, condition, shape and buff the nails without the shiny nail polish look!

RackedDo you recommend matching the bride's manicure to her pedicure?
CKBrides do not have to be so matchy-matchy. In fact, a pedicure is a great way to have fun with color – and is even the perfect opportunity to bring in that “something blue!”

Racked What are the top colors you're seeing brides wear this summer?
CK: I am seeing a lot of color this summer! Like I said above, a pedicure is the perfect excuse for bringing a pop of color into the bridal look. Blue and pink are both very popular choices among this year's brides. I love essie's Bikini So Teeny—it's a lustrous sky blue shade that looks good on both pale and olive skin tones—and also Cascade Cool, a creamy carnation pink that looks great on toes. Of course, oranges, greens and bronze tones are all very popular too!
· Why Is Essie's Ballet Slippers Polish Such a Popular Wedding Color? [Racked]
· All Weddings Week Coverage [Racked]