The Tip Off

Empty moons, glittering edges and coffin nails: What Toronto magazine editors request when they visit Tips Nail Bar

To fête our 10th anniversary, we cornered some of Canada’s busiest beauty editors and got them to dish on their top requests when they visit Tips Nail Bar. Some of them are bound to particular colours and shapes, while others like to play the field (not naming names just yet!). These editors travel the world and frequent all the major fashion weeks to uncover emerging trends in beauty and fashion, so to say they’re constantly in a state of inspiration is like saying Kanye West occasionally speaks his mind. Here, they sound off:

The Crew:

Caitlin Kenny, Beauty Editor, Flare
Lesa Hannah, Beauty Director, Fashion
Rani Sheen, Beauty Editor, The Kit
Julia McEwen, Fashion and Beauty Director, Canadian Living
Vanessa Craft, Beauty Director, ELLE Canada
Janine Falcon, Beauty Editor and Founder, BeautyGeeks
Katherine Flemming, Health and Beauty Editor, ELLE Canada
Caitlin Agnew, Contributing Beauty Editor, Cosmetics
Mishal Cazmi, Beauty Editor, Glow

What’s your top request when you wander into Tips looking for a nail refresh?

“I usually pick something simple, graphic, and with a bit of negative space. I particularly like stripes and triangles rather than rounded shapes like circles and moons,”— Caitlin Kenny, Beauty Editor, Flare Magazine.

“I’m most likely to get negative space, either an empty moon or a scallop. Empty moons feel vintage to me and I’ve always loved scalloped edges in clothing, so incorporating them on nails is just another way to wear them.”— Lesa Hannah, Beauty Director, Fashion Magazine

“I’m drawn to graphic stripes and negative space manicures—or a classic nude polish. I love a modern, clean look. Simplicity with an edge is fresh and on trend right now. Plus, I want to be the star, with my nails as my killer accessories, not the other way around!”—Vanessa Craft, Beauty Director, ELLE Canada

“I prefer something with clean lines and shapes that’s minimalist enough to wear on a day-to-day basis but still eye-catching and impactful. It’s one of the reasons why I love negative space. I never like it when nail art has too much going on because I’ll get tired of it too fast or resent looking at it.”—Mishal Cazmi, Beauty Editor, Glow

“ I prefer simple graphic looks. Right now I am addicted to deep empty chevrons and flaky warm silver glitter I like to call pavé (because it looks like a pavé diamond setting ). It makes me happy – it’s SO pretty, and on longer, pointed-oval nails, it’s flirty and fun and elegant and grown-up all at the same time.”—Janine Falcon, Beauty Editor and Founder of

“I currently have a large red dot in the centre of each nail, against a background filled in with lilac from centre to tip and the base half clear, which I will do again in different clashing colours. As a backup, I love three thick horizontal stripes of colour on a clear background, with the moon clear and the tip coloured. I’m almost always drawn to simple, graphic shapes with some negative space, because it’s interesting to look at without being too flashy, it feels cool and modern.” —Rani Sheen, Beauty Editor, The Kit

The scalloped ‘sweetheart’ manicure is a little bit feminine, minimal (as far as nail art is concerned), and oh so chic. Occasionally I’ll dabble in dots, or something more abstract, like doughnut sprinkles. I can appreciate a good pattern, whether on clothes, rugs or nail beds.”—Katherine Flemming, Health and Beauty Editor, ELLE Canada magazine.

“I’m always game to try something new with nail art, but one design that I return to again and again is the v-gap manicure. It looks sleek when done in tonal colours (such as light blue and navy) but is just as attractive in clashing hues (such as berry and black). The v-gap actually makes nails look longer. Which is something I’m always attracted to because of my ‘vertically challenged’ nail beds.”—Julia McEwen, Fashion and Beauty Director, Canadian Living

“I’m obsessed with coffin nails! After having weak, short nails my whole life, I feel so lucky to be rocking these babies. They get so much positive attention wherever I go and it makes me so happy to treat myself to them. They are unapologetically ridiculous and fun. I also love a glitter fade—I had one recently and it looked like I had dipped my nails in gold. It was really soft and natural looking, as opposed to the stark line of a French manicure.”—Caitlin Agnew, Contributing Beauty Editor, Cosmetics

HUES CLUES? SHAPE SHIFTERS? When do these magazine editors play favourites when it comes to nail shape and fave colours?

“I can’t help but pick cool-toned pastels over and over again. I don’t even do it on purpose. Melissa was one of the first to noticed this when I asked her to surprise me with a polish once. She aced it with a washed-out blue. As for shape, I keep them short and square-ish. I can’t stand anything too fussy or that would get in the way of my workouts.”—Caitlin Kenny, Beauty Editor, Flare

“On my fingers I like Cream Puff, Field Fox and Mousse. I also love colours like Smokin’ Hot but I have yet to find a gel version. I always keep my nails short. I love the look of almond nails but I can’t stand the feel of even a millimeter of growth on me so I could never wear them.”—Lesa Hannah, Beauty Director, Fashion Magazine

“I would wear a nude fingernail every day for the rest of my life! CND Field Fox is my signature shade but I also love Essie in Sand Tropez, Deborah Lippmann in She Wolf, and Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Nude Awakening. But— in the interest of mixing it up, I will also wear white, greys and other shades that are now the “new” neutrals like dark plum or navy. And I prefer a rounded almond shape.”—Vanessa Craft, Beauty Director, ELLE Canada

“I love my pastels. If you can find a macaron in that colour, you’ll find me in that polish shade! I’m also partial to pinks (I love most pinks except fuchsia and Barbie pinks). And of course, nudes. As for shape, I like something in between a round and an almond shape—not veering too hard in either direction.”—Mishal Cazmi, Beauty Editor, Glow

“When a colour or finish makes me happy, it makes me happy for a long time. I adore orange and vibrant pink – hello, Carnaval Hangover! Grey was my first obsession, but I have to say that’s now been replaced with my pavé-effect finish: a single coat of CND Silver Chrome topped with three coats of Artistic Colour Gloss gel glitter in Suspicious. ADORE, ADORE, ADORE.”—Janine Falcon, Beauty Editor and Founder, BeautyGeeks

“I’m always drawn to a bright orange-red (I love OPI A Good Mandarin is hard to find), a beige-tan for the mannequin look (Deborah Lippmann Naked is my jam) or a very pale grey (CND Cityscape). I prefer my nails not too long, and very round. I have round nail beds so it suits my fingers, plus I love the vintage-y look. It’s also a nice contrast with graphic nail art, it makes it very feminine.”—Rani Sheen, Beauty Editor, The Kit

“A vivid raspberry makes my heart sing. I’m also delighted by blinding whites, pale greys, creamy nudes and glossy blacks. Some of my power colours are Field Fox, Cream Puff, Black Pool, You Glare I Glow, Majestic, Cake Pop, Tahiti Hottie. I also love scattered layers of silver glitter. I lean toward a rounded nail, and sometimes, if they’re long enough, will have my nail ninja Oksana take them in a sharp stiletto direction.”—Katherine Flemming, Health and Beauty Editor, ELLE Canada

“I’m not monogamous when it comes to my polish choices and while I’m never timid to try something new, I often toggle between a few hues. I’m keen on CND’s Creekside, an opaque creamy light blue pastel, and CND’s Wildfire, which is the perfect shade of year-round red. I don’t like having long nails, but to elongate the shape of my short nail beds, I stick to round or oval shapes.”—Julia McEwen, Fashion and Beauty Director, Canadian Living

“I always love to get a different colour every time! I get dressed based on my mood and it’s the same for my nails. Black is my all-time go to, but lately I’ve really liked CND Future Fuchsia (SO FUN for my Malibu Barbie dreams); Cake Pop is another favourite, I think it’s so pretty. I wore Field Fox to London and Berlin and got so many compliments on it. Nargis was right—it really does look different in different lighting.”—Caitlin Agnew, Contributing Beauty Editor, Cosmetics

WATCH THIS SPACE: One thing all nearly the editors had in common when talking about nail art? Their love—or possible requirement—of negative space.

“I love negative space because I can get away with going longer without getting my nails done in between or if my nails grow out.”—Mishal Cazmi, Beauty Editor, Glow

“Negative space at the top also keeps my nails from looking less obvious when growing out.”—Lesa Hannah, Beauty Director, Fashion Magazine

“Because the chevron is free of colour, the bare new-nail growth at the base just looks like part of the mani. (I’m always getting into trouble for waiting six to eight weeks for a new soak-off mani. *grin*) —Janine Falcon, Founder,

“Negative space is interesting to look at without being too flashy, and it feels cool and modern.Also it grows out really well if it’s done in gel and the base of the nail is left empty; I’ll keep that for up to five weeks.”—Rani Sheen, Beauty Editor, The Kit

“I’m famously lazy for refreshing my manicures, so empty moons and sweetheart scallops make the grow out stage—which used to irritate me— look fashionably intentional.”—Katherine Flemming, Health and Beauty Editor, ELLE Canada