For those who aren’t sure what exactly goes on behind-the-scenes before a runway show, you can at least imagine that the backstage area is a flurry of dozens of hairstylists, makeup artists and PR people running around fast and furiously to prep the models. Once I chat with the lead hairstylist and makeup artist about the inspiration behind the looks, I typically like to step out of the way—mostly to watch the experts work their magic, but also to avoid receiving a powerful blast of hairspray to my face.
After I take in the hair and makeup scene, my favorite part is the nail station. Unlike the usual chaos of hair and makeup, the manicurists are the calmest of the crew. It makes sense since there’s something inherently soothing about getting your nails done—a little buffing, filing and a couple of coats of polish and voilà!
That must be why I can always guarantee to see a smile on manicurist Jin Soon Choi, who’s responsible for creating flawless fingertips at shows like Derek Lam, Theory, Tibi and Vera Wang. Not only does she love talking all things nail polish, she’s genuinely curious about your well-being, both personally ("How’s your family doing?") and physically ("Let me give you some lotion for your hands!"). Twice, I’ve been a happy subject of Jin Soon’s mission to give everyone around her softer hands—complete with a mini massage right there in the backstage area. If there were ever such thing as a 30-second spa treatment, one of Jin Soon’s hand massages would be it. Her hand-hydrating weapon of choice? Estée Lauder’s Re-Nutriv Intensive Smoothing Hand Creme.
"It’s very rich and smooth—perfect for winter," says Jin Soon Choi. "Moisturizing both your hands and nails is very important in the winter. All you guys come in to the backstage [area] with these cold, dry hands so I try to comfort you a little in between shows!"
Estée Lauder Re-Nutriv Intensive Smoothing Hand Creme, $55, nordstrom.com