Nail art in Juba town

nail art Juba

The nail art industry in Juba is booming.  Run entirely by men – I haven’t yet seen a woman doing manicure/pedicure work – working out of salons or wandering the streets with a small box of lotions and polishes, door-to-door, you can get a relatively good mani-pedi for ten bob a pair here.  I am addicted.

The picture is of my friend Joseph’s nail art options, including the USA flag, “I love Jesus” or “I love Mum” options, and the ever-popular flowers, starbursts and sparkly rainbows in henna-like patterns.  Fake nails on the feet (just the feet) are extremely popular among local residents, to cover a variety of damaged nails from hard roads; the little plastic nails are glued on with superglue, which I’m not sure is a great idea, and kept very long.  Not my style, though.

Men are also good customers of the wandering nail bar men.  This summer, the popular male style was buffed, with clear varnish; now it’s getting more complicated.  Many men, particularly the cool young things and boda drivers, are getting their last two fingernails on their left hand painted – the little finger and the ring finger – either with henna, in a semi-circle over the tip, or with a bright colour.  I’ve asked a few friends who’ve had it done and they say it’s a style born of boredom!  Some men also henna matching toes on their left foot.  I still have no real idea why.

My regular guys Joseph and Jimmy have asked me to bring back “new colours” from the UK when I go in January.  There’s a limited range here, because it’s mostly a few Chinese companies and importers doing beauty supplies, and they say their businesses will really take off if I help them invest.  I’m thinking of bringing a range of holographic glitters, dark pinks, and pastels – hopefully in exchange for free pedicures for life.



Filed under Domestic bliss, Procrastination, South Sudan, Women

2 responses to “Nail art in Juba town

  1. terahedun

    Hi Nicki,

    I’m not sure if this will go directly to your email or not. But I love your blog – we talked a couple of months ago about meeting up but it kind of trailed off. We could have a nail salon meet-up if you’re game. My email is here. Happy to send my Juba cell as well.

    Best Regards,

    • Hi my dear! I’m so sorry we missed each other this summer – I think I must have lost track in my last few weeks. I’m definitely about, if you’re still here – if you have time for a quiet after-work drink this week, text me. I’ll email you my number.

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