Meet Jay Jay Revlon: the DJ, manicurist and founder of 'Guys That Nail It' rewriting the narrative of male beauty.
So, how did ‘Guys That Nail It’ get started? What’s the main message behind it?
Guys That Nail It is all about giving the guys love and acceptance to engage with beauty, judgement – free. Particularly men getting their nails done needs to be normalised.My inspiration came from my own experiences going in to London’s nail bars, I found them intimidating and I didn’t feel comfortable sat amongst a room of women. I’d see them making comments and I was very conscious that they were talking about me. Even the décor would be very feminine and I found that there just wasn’t anywhere for men to go where they could feel comfortable. That’s why I started doing pop – ups in pubs and one-on-one appointments in offices spaces.
What sets it apart from other nail bars?
I’m mobile so I can do treatments in the comfort of my customers own surroundings. Doing that really helps me understand what makes men feel good about themselves. My aim is to ensure that nail care is inclusive for not just men but people of all identities. I want them to feel comfortable enough to choose from cleaning, to polish to nail extensions. Nail treatments have been deemed a womanly or feminine thing to do and we’re throwing that narrative out the box and saying nail treatments are for everyone.
Any strong nail art trends we should be looking out for this season?
Two – tone nails and metallic. Two-tone is a fabulous option because you can choose a combination of neutral colours to co ordinate with your summer wardrobe. For a more striking style, metallic power colours catch the light in amazing ways. Also, I think we’re going to see diamond encapsulations, and a lot of red – it’s my favourite colour.
What are some of your early beauty memories?
I grew up in black-Caribbean culture and was always encouraged to look my best. I can’t remember exactly when I fell in love with beauty but I used to do my mums nails and I think the idea of having my own nail business went from there.
Your five beauty essentials?
Definitely cocoa butter for my skin, and I love the Aesop spray on deodorant which was actually given to me as a present, because it lasts for ages and smells amazing. Tom Ford Noir is my signature scent, and my favourite toothpaste is Sensodyne – for some reason it’s the only one I can use on my teeth and I’ve got to keep my pearly whites clean. Lastly, black castor oil for my hair is a must.
Who do you love to follow on Instagram for beauty inspo?
Young Nails Inc – they’re two brothers that created their own nail brand, and their Instagram is full of amazing nail inspo. I also love Hollywood Nails who are a great local business in Peckham. They’re all about quality, which I think is really helpful when choosing where I get my nails done.
The future of beauty? Is beauty becoming more diverse?
Yes, most definitely – we’re far more experimental with beauty than ever before. I don’t think male grooming is particularly new but as humans we face judgement in every aspect of our lives. For men, getting our nails done no matter who we are, what sexuality we are, what race we are, we shouldn’t be judged in a way that makes us feel uncomfortable. Campaigning for a change in attitudes is very important to communities of all kinds.
What’s up next for you?
Too much! We’re looking for a permanent space for Guys That Nail It, which is very exciting! I’m also supporting Absolut’s A Drop of Love campaign for LGBT+ History Month which highlights that its more important than ever to share a message of love and acceptance, something that is so close to my heart and that I channel through not only through Guys That Nail It but in everything that I do. Myself and other key figures (Liv Little, Tanya Compas, Nadine Artois, Shon Faye and Bitch Please) have come together with Absolut and Stonewall to encourage people to pledge their allegiance to equality and in return receive advice on how to be a better ally. It’s for an amazing cause as there is so much hatred in the world and we just want to spread the positivity to make this earth a better place for everyone.
For more information about Absolut’s A Drop of Love campaign, please visit www.absolutdrop.com.
26 February 2019