Bellacures founder and nail guru Samira Asemanfar is one of LA’s most prominent young entrepreneurs. In just six short years, the 29-year-old LA native has created a beauty empire that includes eight luxury nail salons spanning Southern California’s most prestigious neighborhoods. A self-described “nail biter turned manicure addict,” Asemanfar’s love affair with nailcare started as a preteen and stuck.
Seeing a gap in the industry, she set out to create a chain of upscale salons that also felt homey and super-stylish. With her most recent opening in Pasadena (other locations include Beverly Hills, Brentwood Village, Santa Monica, Larchmont Village, Studio City, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach), Asemanfar reflects on her inspiration and shares her secrets for keeping perfectly groomed nails.
What prompted you to open a nail salon?
SAMIRA ASEMANFAR: I was inspired to create a better experience and culture, which was completely lacking in the nail industry. I wanted to connect on a deeper level with customers and offer cleanliness, professionalism, and an aesthetic that was in line with my own: stylish, yet refined.
What are some nail trends for summer?
SA: The more pop the better! People want to make their mark with brightness whether it’s a pair of neon sandals or reflector-like nail polish. I love neon shades like Essie’s Braziliant, Never a Dull Moment by Ginger & Liz, and Make a Difference by Gelish, as well as metallics like OPI’s Just Spotted the Lizard and Platinum by Dolce & Gabbana. I believe the happier the color on your nails, the better mood you’ll be in throughout the week.
What are tips for ensuring hands and nails are kept healthy and moisturized?
SA: Nail polish stays better on healthy nail beds. To keep them healthy, drink a lot of water, take omega fish oil vitamins daily, get enough calcium, and if your nails need desperate repair, make a trip to Whole Foods and pick up some biotin.
Stay moisturized by using a daily hand cream that has a cuticle treatment in it like J.R. Watkins Hand & Cuticle Salve and Deborah Lippmann’s Rich Girl Hand Cream with SPF. For extra-dry hands and cuticles, apply hand cream/cuticle care at night and wear gloves. Add argan oil, grapeseed oil, almond oil, coconut oil, or macadamia oil for extra moisture. Also, exfoliate with home treatments in between manicures. For an amazing home scrub, mix one cup of sugar with one cup of grapeseed oil and a half-cup of argan oil. You can use the same formula with salt for your feet.
When you’re not busy with Bellacures, what are your favorite places to dine and unwind?
SA: Urth Caffe (451 S. Hewitt St., Downtown LA, 213-797-4534), Pho Cafe (2841 W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, 213-413-0888), and Ago (8478 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 323-655-6333). My favorite activity is to walk [Santa Monica’s] San Vicente Blvd. from Barrington to the ocean and Montana Ave. from 26th to the ocean. 40 Mills Pl., Pasadena, 626-264-8616