The L'Oréal Paris Consulting Nail Expert regularly tends to the tips of a host of A-list stars, but his early career aspirations skewed more racetrack than red carpet. Bachik originally went to school for graphic design with the intentions of a future in custom painting. "From race car and motorcycle helmets to hockey masks, I loved design, dimension and crazy graphics. But with a child on the way, the starving artist lifestyle wasn’t how I wanted to raise a family," he explains. "At a dinner one evening, a cousin suggested the beauty industry and specifically nails as nail art had become a major trend. With a little research and recognizing all the amazing opportunities the industry had to offer it was as simple as changing my canvas." I caught up with the talon-ted Bachik to learn what inspires him, his nail pet peeve and tricks for scoring the best at-home mani ever.
Amber Katz: What's been most exciting about your career thus far?
Tom Bachik: I think the most exciting part of my career is all the unique opportunities and challenges I am presented on a daily basis. From celebrity clientele to fashion editorials to traveling the world to represent the industry, it’s always new and exciting.
AK: What's your all-time favorite look you've ever created either for editorial or the red carpet?
TB: I have to say one of my all-time favorite looks was one I created early in my career. The model was very geisha-esque; white-faced and rich red lips. Nails were enhanced with tips in a long almond shape and taking her pointer finger, I carved out a heart from the tip. For the picture, the model then placed the finger up to her lips so as to see the red lips through the heart carved in the white nails. It was very simple but clean and chic, and I think that’s what made it so memorable and iconic.
AK: What's your nail pet peeve?
TB: Thick, fake nails of any kind are my pet peeve. Artificial nails should only enhance the look of nails that may not be flattering naturally, making them thin, elegant and beautiful. Also, I’m not a fan of duckbill nails – a style of nails that get wider as they fan out at the tips.
AK: What is your favorite nail shape to create?
TB: For me it’s about how the nails complement and bring balance to the hands. I love a narrow oval-esque shape nail with a little bit of length to help bring a feel of poise and elegance to the hands. But on the flipside short, softly-shaped, meticulously manicured nails also look beautiful – a deliberate feeling of strength and power.
AK: Can you please share some tips on DIY shaping/filing?
TB: I recommend using a file that is 180 grit or smoother (the higher the number the smoother the file) – too coarse a file can lead to separating and peeling of the nail down the line. Here’s a filing technique I learned from nail competitions. Once you create your length, perfect the shape by holding hands up with nails facing you, palms away. This will allow your eyes to naturally follow the horizon as a guide so the shape will be even and consistent from finger to finger, hand to hand.
AK: How about tips for at-home polish application?
TB: I think one of the best tips I can give is simply to support your hands on something. This will keep them stable and help prevent shaking. Whether you are more comfortable with turning your nails toward you or holding your hand flat with nails away from you, placing your hand on something to support it will make a big difference. When applying the polish, think of the brush as a mini paint brush. Start by applying the brush in the middle about 3/4 back on the nail toward the cuticle. Then push the polish back as close to the cuticle as possible without touching then out to the edge of the nail. Keep the brush flat for a smooth even coat. For each side of the nail, use the same technique but slightly angle the brush to follow the shape of the cuticle then out to the free edge.
AK: What are your thoughts on shimmer, glitter, metallic vs. sheer or cream polishes?
TB: All of the above? Haha –I think each of those have their place. As we see more texture in fashion, I believe we will see more texture/dimension in nail color. Sometimes it’s best to go with a beautiful cream, but sometimes we want a bit of sparkle and metallics will continue to evolve in nature but remain a staple for a while to come.
AK: What's next for nails?
TB: I think nails will continue to evolve. Plan on seeing more dimension and texture in color. Nail art is becoming so popular, and I believe it will continue to grow as it allows people to express their individuality. And nail products will become healthier, easier and more fun to use.