Secrets from Celebrity Nail Stylist and Traveler Julie Kandalec

Our latest #BeautyTraveler is celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec. This sought-after nail stylist creates exquisite art and super-clean manicures that rock everything from the runway to the red carpet. Better yet, she slays the game all while traveling the world, whether it be for clients, educating others, or just #BeautyExploring.

(Disclaimer: We might be biased towards Julie because she’s an AWTB BFF. And because she’s amazing.) 

ATWB: Tell us about your favorite place in the world.

Julie K: Maldives! It’s the perfect destination for someone who wants to TRULY unwind. It is so remote that there isn’t too much to do, but in the best way. You get to really relax with nothing distracting you from the jaw-dropping beauty of the sky, water, and island life all around you. Its as beautiful as photos portray, if not even more so. And it checks all the boxes: the people are so lovely and friendly, its completely safe. Better yet, there are no insects AND no humidity. I can’t imagine a more perfect place.

ATWB: What’s your beauty routine like when you travel?

Julie K: It depends greatly where I’m going. If I’m headed to a beach or a humid place I never bring a hair dryer or curling iron. In those cases, I let my hair dry naturally and use salt water to create the perfect texture. If its to a place like Dubai, I’ll bring full makeup and get glammed up. If I were to go somewhere fashionable like Paris, I would only bring essentials mascara and tinted moisturizer.

AWTB: What are 3 beauty products you can’t live without?

Julie K: Skyn Iceland the Antidote Cooling Daily Lotion, L’Oreal EverSleek Precious Oil Treatment, and YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Luxurious Mascara (currently in Violet!)

AWTB: What’s your favorite passed-down beauty ritual?

Julie K: For the past 17 years, I’ve never fallen asleep with makeup on – ever!

AWTB: Tell us about your coolest beauty experience while traveling abroad.

Julie K: There are so many! Putting volcanic clay on my feet in the Amazon, teaching a group of manicurists my manicuring tricks in the Maldives, getting a pedicure in the Burj al Arab in Dubai are some notable ones.

AWTB: Now, we hear that a lot of your nail looks for photo shoots, and also backstage fashion week looks are inspired by your travels. Can you tell us more?
Travelling has always been a big part of my life and I always find myself in the markets and checking out the architecture and artwork. It was only natural that I eventually combined my two loves: nails and travel (…and shopping!). I’ve been able to find some of the coolest nail art supplies in Japan and Seoul, and the most intricate dried flowers at a market in Bangkok.
Color combinations also are something I’m always on the lookout for, like in the way that the locals combine colors and textures, artwork on the side of a city bus (like I’ve seen in Quito), or even as simple as packaging on local groceries – they’re so interesting in other parts of the world!
For backstage inspiration, the looks tend to be more wearable than the nails I do for a photo shoot, so I first start with choosing the polish colors I am going working with, based on my conversations with the designer along with the colors in the collection and the season. From there, the looks come to me in form of how I see them relating to each other on a nail, also taking the designers’ pieces into consideration.

AWTB: What’s been the coolest nail discovery you’ve found #BeautyExploring? You had the internet buzzing a few months ago on this trend..

Julie K: Yes! The sunglass nails were a nail covering I found at a random market in Seoul on a layover. I was power shopping for nail art supplies and these appeared before me like a mirage. I wish I knew where to buy more and I’d sell them to all my nail friends!

Follow Julie on Instagram @julieknailsnyc to keep up with both her gorgeous nail work and some of her amazing travel photos.

Written by Halle Butler
Photos by Julie Kandalec

( Julie K Sharing Beauty Tips with Nail Guru Brittany Tokyo)

( #BeautyExploring the Markets of Sol for Beauty Trends)

(Julie Educating a group of nail artists in the Maldives)

(Taking in the view – Maldives)

(Giving back at an orphanage in Ecuador on a Around The World Beauty Tour)

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