For the last few years, we’ve seen nail art become increasingly dramatic. While communities of color, particularly African American ones, have long led the way when it comes to embellished digits, nail art has become ubiquitous across cultures. This means it’s taken many different directions in recent times.

Curious to learn how Latinas and Latin American women have contributed to the space, we chatted with six exciting nail artists to learn how their heritage, traditions and more inspire their designs. Meet them below.


Collage by Alan López for Remezcla

Carolina Kro Vargas 

Carolina Kro, aka Krocaine, is from Miami, Florida and is Colombian.

How and why did you get into nail art? 

As a child, my grandmother would take me with her to get her nails done and would pay to get my nails done, too. She always had designs on her nails and encouraged me to do the same.

In which ways do you think nail art helps you to explore your identity as a Latina?

I believe nail art helped me express myself in different ways. In school, we had to wear a uniform so having poppin’ nails was my favorite way to stand out amongst my peers.

What designs most reminds you of your heritage or Latinx culture in general and why? 

For me, any design that is colorful and bright reminds me of my Latin culture, anything that expresses my bold personality. My Colombian grandmother and aunts put me on to nail art since a child so the tradition was passed down to my generation and will be passed on to many generations to come.


Collage by Alan López for Remezcla

Freida Tapia

Freida Tapia, who goes by Latin Witch on Instagram, is a New Yorker of Mexican descent.

How and why did you get into nail art?

I started into nail art a few years ago when I was 18 years old. I was looking for options for the youth and with the same kind of designs that I looked all over the internet.

How do your nails impact the rest of your look? 

The nail art for me, it’s a magical accessory… The nail art game [started] a long time ago. [It’s always been] an artistic expression. You can choose any design, and this can say a lot about your personality and your mood. Noways, you can combine the nails with your outfit.

What designs most reminds you of your heritage or Latinx culture in general and why? 

As a Latina the designs that remind me [most] about my heritage and traditions are those about religion or with virgins. We are very religious in México. That’s why that reminds me of a lot of my country. The design that reminds me more about México, is this one that I did for a Japanese friend and it’s inspired by the conchas and the osito Bimbo bread brand in México.

What has been your best experience in your career? 

The best experience I have doing nails [has] been evolving as a person and growing professionally. This form of art allowed me to express myself through the nails of the people in México.


Collage by Alan López for Remezcla

Samantha Pasaye  

Better known as Nail Art Fairy, Samantha Pasaye was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is of Mexican heritage.

How and why did you get into nail art? 

Growing up, I was always very girly, so I’ve been doing my nails since I can remember. I used to do my Nail art with toothpicks until I discovered nail art brushes. The reason why I love it is that it allowed me to express myself. I get a new attitude depending on my manicure. It’s like who do I want to be this time: simple nice girl or extraaaaaa? But let’s be real, 90% of the time I’m going for extra.

In which ways do you think nail art helps you to explore your identity as a Latina? 

It helps me expand my horizons and it’s such a getaway for me. I feel like in our culture, art isn’t seen as a real job, but it’s ironic because we have so much artesania and that’s what I connect with: the colors, the work that goes into making these beautiful papel picado designs, etc.

How do your nails impact the rest of your look? 

Because it’s an accessory. It can match your outfit or be the complete opposite, but no matter what you choose to do, it’s always another part of self-expression. Even if you work in a corporate setting and have to dress a certain way, you can be yourself through your nails.

What designs most reminds you of your heritage or Latinx culture in general and why? 

This manicure I did last year because mija is such a special word. I feel like anyone who is Latinx uses it. It could be my mom calling me over for dinner or a complete stranger at the market trying to get my attention to ask if I need help with anything. I love how warm our culture is.

What has been the best experience in your career? 

The nicest experience doing nails for me has been being able to connect with other girls just like me. I’m so blessed to meet young women following their dreams and being successful at it, creating their own paths. And if me doing their nails makes them feel even a tiny bit better, then my day was successful.


Collage by Alan López for Remezcla

Samantha Herrera 

Samantha Herrera is a 23-year-old nail artist from Naucalpan, but she has lived in Mexico City for the last few months.

How and why did you get into nail art? 

It was four years ago on Halloween. A friend came to me with the cheapest nail polishes out there and asked me to do her nails, so I took it very seriously and made her little drawings with a toothpick. The result was very nice, so she told me: “You should learn more. You’d do so well.” Even though she was very insistent, I didn’t consider it until three years later, after having a few sh*tty job experiences. So I researched and watched tons of videos. Then, I realized it was something that entertains me a lot and I’m good at and that would allow me to make money in an independent and self-sufficient way, that doesn’t feel like work to me.

In which ways do you think nail art helps you to explore your identity as a Latin American woman? 

I’ve never related my work to my identity as a Latina. But now that I think about it, I believe my work is meant for a very specific market of practical women, who don’t find [it] convenient or comfortable wearing super flashy nail extensions in their everyday life.

How does nail art impact style? 

What I like the most is the versatility and the world of possibilities. From replicating the pattern or design of your favorite garment on the nails to doing the absolute opposite just to stand out.

What designs most reminds you of your heritage? 

A set I made for Kavilsa, a street art artist who’s also from the State of Mexico like me. We made a tiny replica of her signature work that she puts up illegally all over the streets of the city.

What has been your best experience in your career? 

It was a while ago when I did nails to one of my friends, who is a single mother. When she arrived home and her 5-year-old son saw them, he told her that he also wanted his nails done. A few weeks later, he finally went on school holidays and his mother brought him to get his Pac-Man nails done. I found it very sweet and thought it was important to highlight the beautiful way my friend is raising her child.


Collage by Alan López for Remezcla

Argelia Guadalupe

Argelia Guadalupe is from Mexico City.

How and why did you get into nail art? 

I was 16 years old, more or less and was in high school, and I liked to change the color of my nails [a lot]. [At] that time, I used normal varnish, but it’d only last two or three days. I used toothpicks and bobby pins to create figures.

In which ways do you think nail art helps you to explore your identity as a Mexican woman? 

I have knowledge about serigraphy and thought I could work in that field, but unexpectedly I found a cheap course on fingernails and I had no doubt [in] enrolling. I took two [courses]. In the first one, I worked with very low-quality material. In spite of it, I believed that I was talented. Now, I’ve been doing this for a year and a half and this makes me happy.

What designs most remind you of your heritage? 

In my country, not too [long] ago, using nails was like a taboo, something wrong against customs because not anyone could use it worse if it was long or very decorated. But now, it’s elemental to use your nails combined with your outfit. The design of your nails reflects what you like and that always has a great impact on who sees it.

There was a design that I remember the most and reflects what I like. [It’s] one that seems like graffiti. I always wanted to paint on the walls but I never felt [confident] doing that, but when it is time to create the art on the nails, I feel free and don’t [feel] insecure anymore. I’m not afraid of ruining the graffiti I’m trying to do. That makes me feel free. I love my work.


Collage by Alan López for Remezcla

Karla Donato

Karla Donato is from Guadalajara, but she grew up in Southern California.

How and why did you get into nail art? 

I got into nail art when I started getting my nails done regularly in 2015. I got inspired by other nail artists like Krocaine to start creating my own nail designs.

 In which ways do you think nail art helps you to explore your identity as a Latina? 

I feel like acrylic nails have always been a part of the Latina culture, at least in the barrio anyways. I just love having some extra ass nails. It reminds me that I am that bitch.

How does nail art impact style? 

Because nails are an accessory, like a direct extension of your personality or how you feel at the moment. And the possibilities are endless. You can literally do anything on nails.

What designs most reminds you of your heritage? 

[A] design that is jelly yellow, has Sad Girl, and [anime] painted by hand. Those remind me of my culture because they remind me of a lowrider. I’m very inspired by Chicano culture and lowriders because I grew up in LA, and when I was little, my dad used to paint lowriders and would take us to the car shows to sell hotdogs.

What has been your best experience in your career? 

I think just meeting other Latina women from all around the world is hella sick. Getting to see all the different experiences and asking them their zodiac signs. I have had the pleasure to do nails on all kinds of beautiful women, and I’m very grateful for that.