Gel Nail Art Fashion in South Korea (한국 젤 네일 아트)

A few months ago during my winter vacation in Seoul I wanted to enjoy my vacay period not only catching up with close friends and traveling around Korea, but experiencing some popular fashion trends. Having not been to a nail salon in a while I decided to look into well-known or trending nail salons in Seoul. While doing some research I came across a long review made by EatYourKimchi co-creator Martina about a NYC Seoul-based Korean nail art studio named Sunkuku. According to Martina Sunkuku was the best nail salon to visit for receiving not only great service, but beautiful and customized gel nail art designs.

In Seoul especially in the Hongdae area you can find dozens of nail salons. However, Sunkuku is a private studio and by appointment only. To make an appointment you can contact Sunkuku’s solo nail artist named Sunny via her Sunkukuart Facebook page, on KakaoTalk (ID: Sunkuku), or via her Sunkuku Nailart Studio blog. In addition if you’d like to see some of her latest gel nail art you can check out her Instagram page SunnySunkuku.

After reading a few more positive reviews I decided to make an appointment at Sunkuku. I contacted Sunny via KakaoTalk(*she responded reasonably fast) and made an evening appointment since she was booked throughout the day. Wanting to be punctual I contacted Sunny later on in the day to let her know that I would like to come a few minutes before my appointment time. Thankfully, I arrived 5 minutes prior to my appointment (*the directions provided by EatYourKimchi to the Sunkuku Nailart Studio were a little confusing)

At the time I arrived Sunny was finishing up with a client. Based on their conversation I found out that the Korean girl before me was Korean-American, from the states, and on vacation. Additionally, I could see  from the conversation that Sunny was very fluent in English. If she had not been I would’ve also been happy to converse in Korean with her. After Sunny was finished with her client she took a few pictures, calculated the total for her gel/ nail art, and escorted her client out. When she returned she greeted me once again, but more formally. Upon sitting down in her work area she asked me about what type of gel/ nail art I would like to try. Immediately I took out my phone and showed her a picture of a basic style that I’d wanted to try with just gels.

We briefly chatted about the color combo and Sunny then searched through her supply draws for the right colors. Then she went straight to work. She was very nice. We talked a lot about Korea, even though I told her that I was from New York. She told me how she became nail artist and how much she enjoyed it. She also told me that gel nail art was very popular, especially customized gel nail art with intricate designs, pictures, jewelry, etc. As she was working on my design I could see the customized gel nail art she had done on her own nails. Her nails were very pretty.

After some two hours my gel nail art was finished. While the style looked simple the colors definitely popped, which was exactly what I wanted. After taking some pictures of this new style, Sunny calculated the total for her work. When she told me the total was 100,000won($98USD) I was shocked.  Earlier when reading reviews including Martina’s from EatYourKimchi the average price for gel nail art ranged between 60-70,000won. However, if more customization’s are made then the price is subjected to rise. My basic style was not customized nor did it include intricate designs, pictures, jewelry, etc.  Due to the belief that I would pay the medium average price based on read reviews I apologized to Sunny and told her that her price was super expensive. She explained that my style was a first for her and unique. But, this did not justify why I needed to pay 100,000won when the client before whose gel nail art included jewelry only paid 60,000won.

gel nail art

Feeling a little deceived I informed her that I would only pay based on what I had in my wallet(*Note: The Sunkuku Nailart Studio only accepts cash payments). Seeing that I only had 90,000won I showed her my money and told her that was how much I could pay for her work. She accepted the money and told me she should have given me her price range before starting. This was a mistake on her part. After I left the nail studio my boyfriend called me. He had known that I was getting my nails done, but he wanted to find out where I had been since I finished a little later than expected. When I returned his call I told him I was on my way.  Upon meeting up with him, he told me he loved my gel nail style and asked how much I had paid for it. I told him how much and felt bad because I didn’t want him to worry about me losing 100,000won practically.

Ultimately, I enjoyed my experience at Sunkuku. I highly recommend for anyone interested in customized gel nail art to visit some of Sunny’s social media pages and see what cool nail art designs she has created. If your heart is set and you would like to have your nails done then you should check out the Sunkuku Nailart Studio.  However, I do believe that her price tag for my gel nail art was unbelievably expensive.  Due to this I am contempt with getting this type of nail art done once every blue moon.

Also, in case you were wondering Sunkuku’s gel nail art can last up to 3 months!

My gel nail art done at Sunkuku Nailart Studio







*Note: All  pictures posted are owned by the Yeppunshikan author, usage of these pictures without the owners consent is strictly prohibited.


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