Decades before Jin Soon Choi was creating manicures for Taylor Swift and Gigi Hadid, she was doing nails for her friends in the South Korean village where she grew up. Staining nails with the dye from the crushed petals of the local balsam flower was a beloved tradition: Every year after the summer rainy season, women would gather the garden flowers and wrap the petals around their nails until they left behind a vibrant orange stain. “The nail bed would absorb the petal’s color, creating a tint that would last until the nail naturally grew out,” says Choi. “It was believed that if the color lasted until the first snowfall, one would marry their true love the following year.”
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For her debut summer collection, Choi is reinterpreting this sweet Korean tradition with the launch of two high-gloss, sheer polishes named Blush and Crush. Crush, a bright orange-red is a close match to the actual balsam flower stain, while Blush is an ultra-sheer ballet pink that’s best described as just a whisper of color. Both hues leave behind a jelly-like finish that’s so glossy and juicy, it makes me stop and stare at my own nails every time I see them. The polishes also give off a light rose scent once dry—another nod to the fragrant memories that inspired this beautiful duo.
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