It is called a manicure after all!
Mark Ribeiro II, a founding fitness instructor at Fithouse and former “American Ninja Warrior” contestant, has received a ton of compliments lately — on his nail art.
“A girl at the juice shop today said, ‘Oh, your nails are cute,’” Ribeiro, 34, tells The Post. “The women at work tell me my nail art is better than theirs.”
While iconic rock stars such as David Bowie and Mick Jagger started embracing color nail polish decades ago, a new generation of A-listers are bringing high-fashion nail looks to the mainstream: Singer Bad Bunny gets a manicure with black polish in his 2019 “Caro” music video and actor Ansel Elgort rocked a white nail look at last week’s Golden Globes.
The trend of men showing off their nail art has just begun to skyrocket, says Britney Tokyo, an LA-based celebrity nail artist. Her client roster (Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, FKA Twigs) now includes actor Luka Sabbat and heartthrob Harry Styles, whose fruit-themed nail art design, inspired by his “Fine Line” album and “Watermelon Sugar” single, went viral last month.
“Harry loves nail art,” Tokyo, who created the look, tells The Post. “He has long nail beds, and that means he can get more designs.”
Ribeiro, who says he’s always had a “creative” style when it comes to fashion, had his first nail-art experience at LEAPiA Nails in Kips Bay last month with his girlfriend.
“I started small with just some thin stripes,” he says. “Now, I’m addicted. I really like [nail art] as an accessory. It’s like putting on a new pair of shoes or a new coat or jacket. I like how it looks aesthetically next to my hand tattoos.”
At his most recent appointment, Ribeiro went for a modern take on the French manicure: matte black nails with matte white tips on the thumb, pointer and pinky fingers, and clear gloss only on the ring and middle fingers. He found a version of the look on Instagram and brought it to the salon so that they could put their own spin on it.
“I save a lot of unisex designs for inspiration,” he says. “There aren’t that many nail accounts specifically for men, though, so maybe I should start one?”
He is already planning to do a heart look for Valentine’s Day.
John Cusick, 34, a literary agent living in Brooklyn, started painting his nails on his own at home before getting his first in-salon nail art design last week.
“I like having a new way to express myself,” Cusick tells The Post. “My wife gets her nails done regularly, and after I started painting my nails at home, she suggested I come along with her. I see celebrities doing it all the time.”
Cusick opted for black nails with a skull design that he found on Instagram under the hashtag #guynails, which has more than 1,400 posts. Next month, he plans to go back to get “something book-themed” for a publishing party.
“I’m already a bit obsessed,” Cusick says. “I’ve always been comfortable with fashion that’s not stereotypically masculine. This just feels like a natural extension of that.”
“I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to try it,” he adds.
Ella Nguyen, Ribeiro’s manicurist and owner of LEAPiA, says men in New York are opting for “geometric shapes and straight lines, mostly in black, white and matte.”
Nguyen has been doing nails for 14 years and trained at Soho’s famed Japanese nail-art studio Marie Nails before opening up her own spot this past summer.
In the past, she says, nail art “was just cheesy flowers,” but it didn’t really matter because it “would just chip off two days later, anyway.” Nguyen says the modern-day, nail-art trend really took off after the invention of gel polish, which can last for weeks.
Nail art in New York can start around $50 and go up to $500 depending on the polish type, number of nails and intricacy of the design. It’s also incredibly time-consuming, with some looks taking hours to complete. That’s why next time, Ribeiro is switching to gel.
“I picked up some bartending shifts over the holidays at Stage 48 [in Midtown West],” Ribeiro says. “I looked over at my [co-worker] and said ‘Oh man, this is f - - king up my manicure!’”