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Pinkies' promise: Downtown SLO beauty lounge empowers brides with its services 

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The venue is set, the RSVPs are counted, the photographer's booked, the catering menu has been finalized, and the final fitting of the dress is done.

All that's left are the final touches of prepping for the ceremonious day of two individuals promising to be forever partners.

click to enlarge LITTLE DETAILS Whatever a bride desires for her nail set can be made possible by the creative nail technicians of Pinkies Up. - PHOTO COURTESY OF YESSIE NOJAS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Yessie Nojas
  • LITTLE DETAILS Whatever a bride desires for her nail set can be made possible by the creative nail technicians of Pinkies Up.

For the bride, that could mean getting her nails, brows, and facial skin cared for to be camera ready and to feel good on her special day. The girl gang that Yessie Nojas has assembled at Pinkies Up in San Luis Obispo can provide all of those services and more to a bride and her bridal party.

Nojas has been in the nail industry since 2012 when she lived in Japan for a short period of time. During her six-month stay, she was blown away by the fashion industry and its influence on nail designs. From glitter to 3D nail art, Nojas said she was hooked and instantly enrolled in beauty college to become a nail technician—she's been making nail design dreams come true ever since.

In 2018, she opened her own salon, Pinkies Up, that offers gel or acrylic services topped with decals, nail art, acrylic ombré, leaf foil, and other options if the client desires. Through her squad of nail technicians, a brow expert and makeup artist, and an esthetician, Nojas has the space to create a relaxing and joyous space for any lady to be pampered.

"We can really do any style. For instance, we'll get a traditional bride that wants a classic French tip," she said. "And now we have brides that are stepping out of the box now and getting crystals and pretty nail art."

On Nojas' team is Dacie Edholm, who joined the crew last year and is a nail artist who specializes in gel nails. Last summer was her first experience working with a bridal client, and while Edholm said it was nerve-wracking at first, she really loved it.

click to enlarge WONDER WOMEN The ladies of Pinkies Up include (from left to right) Zarith Anguiano, Kelsy Thorndyke, Dacie Edholm, Shakina Valencia, Yessie Nojas, Karine Alfonso, and Genesis Diaz. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SAWYER COFFEY
  • Photo Courtesy Of Sawyer Coffey
  • WONDER WOMEN The ladies of Pinkies Up include (from left to right) Zarith Anguiano, Kelsy Thorndyke, Dacie Edholm, Shakina Valencia, Yessie Nojas, Karine Alfonso, and Genesis Diaz.

"[Doing their nails] is just another way to make somebody's special day a little bit easier and a little less stressful," she said.

Edholm recommends scheduling a nail service the week before the wedding because saving it for the last minute could ruin the experience. Brides sometimes come into the salon with the weight of the planning and scheduling of their big day. Edholm reminds her clients that this is their time to just relax, and she allows her clients the space to do so by scheduling a longer appointment time.

"All that other stuff can wait because this is important, too. It's important to take time for yourself," she said.

click to enlarge PINKY SWEAR Yessie Nojas and her team promise each of their clients the best service they can provide and to leave their clients feeling confident. - IMAGE COURTESY OF YESSIE NOJAS
  • Image Courtesy Of Yessie Nojas
  • PINKY SWEAR Yessie Nojas and her team promise each of their clients the best service they can provide and to leave their clients feeling confident.

In the event that a bridal client is working on a DIY project or setting up decorations for the wedding, Edholm provides the client with her private contact information in case there is any nail damage.

"One of my brides who got acrylics dropped a box on her nail and broke it. So I came into the salon really late at night, and I was able to fix it," she said.

It's all about the little details that really make a bride-to-be feel like everything is falling into place.

"I feel like just the act of being of service to other women and helping them feel more confident, because I know when my nails are done I feel like I've crossed all my T's and dotted all my I's," Edholm said. "It's the icing on the cake."

Zarith Anguiano couldn't agree more; she said when she's done working on clients' nails, it's a great feeling when they can't stop marveling at their finger tips. Anguiano is an acrylics guru and sometimes, she said, a therapist.

"This bride was really tense and she had a lot of stuff on her mind because the wedding wasn't going according to what she wanted," Anguiano said. "I told her, 'OK, girl, you need to relax. You're doing your nails, feet, and we're going to relax. This is your day and this is your time.'"

By the end of that particular bride's session, she said, the client was laughing and feeling good.

It's relaxing and enjoyable for Anguiano too. There's something special about the process of constructing the nail, shaping it, coloring it, and adding on the particular details that are unique to her client's needs.

"I had a bride actually send me a picture of [her nails], and it's really cute because I feel that I'm part of her special day," she said.

As important as the nails are to a client, esthetician Kelsy Thorndyke believes a bride's facial skin is equally important. Thorndyke offers a variety of facials: custom, special treatment, and nano.

Her most recent specialty is the nano facial in which she uses a nano pen, a device with needle-like structures that only reach the surface of the skin. The skin is able to absorb more of a serum—used to brighten or hydrate—that's applied to it.

"[The nano pen] opens up the channels of the skin and it penetrates 50 percent more than the serums would typically," she said.

click to enlarge SPACE FOR HAPPINESS Pinkies Up is not just a beauty salon, it's a creative and relaxing space for clients and the Pinkies team. - PHOTO COURTESY OF YESSIE NOJAS
  • Photo Courtesy Of Yessie Nojas
  • SPACE FOR HAPPINESS Pinkies Up is not just a beauty salon, it's a creative and relaxing space for clients and the Pinkies team.

With any facial, Thorndyke has clients fill out a form so she can get to know their skincare routine and their skin type. If there is a certain issue the client wants to target, she takes the time to use products that reduce inflammation or pores.

If a client uses her services once, a few times, or routinely, Thoryndyke is just happy to be a part of the process that helps women feel good in their skin.

"I feel like more and more women are looking for that confidence booster," she said.

It's especially important for a bride who will look back on her wedding photos and feel like she was glowing.

Part of that confidence booster, according to brow expert Shakina Valencia, is having a clean pair of eyebrows. Valencia does it all, waxing (brows, chin, and upper lip), trimming brows, shaping brows, and microblading.

She said having a shaped and clean pair of brows is important because the eyebrows frame the entire face.

"When you have your brows as symmetrical as possible, it flows with the rest of your face and it gives you that perfect put-together look," Valencia said.

Whether the client is looking for fuller brows, an arch, a set that will be easier to fill in with makeup in the morning, or a trim, Valencia can make those visions come true. She said what sets her apart from other eyebrow specialists is that Valencia takes her time to shape and produce an end result that the client will be happy with.

For a bride, she usually has that particular client come in about five months before the wedding. Valencia said the current trend is to have fuller and thicker eyebrows, so to achieve that look she has the client come in for a complete brow rehab. During those five months, the client grows out their eyebrows without tweezing or doing anything to them. A few days before the wedding, the bride-to-be comes in, and Valencia works her magic with a fresh set of full eyebrows.

"Pinkies Up is a place where you can come in and relax. You know, you can grab a drink, get your nails done, and afterwards get your brows done or your lashes, whatever it may be," she said. "Ultimately it's a place to unwind where we can make you feel gorgeous." Δ

Staff Writer Karen Garcia is glowing with confidence. She can be reached at kgarcia@newtimess.com.

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