Visitors, left, get hand painted nail art on their nails at the Tokyo Nail Forum in Tokyo, Japan, on Monday, May 19, 2014. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Those seeking the ultimate in manicures know Japan is the best place to find talented nail artists. Now, a new digital printer promises to take the hassle out of haute couture fingertips.
PriNail, a 55,000 yen ($500) nail-printing machine that went on sale last month, can embellish 10 fingernails in just under 2 minutes. It’s made by Koizumi Seiki Crop., a Japanese manufacturer of hair dryers, toaster ovens and other household appliances.
“This is for those who may not exactly have the skills or the time to paint their nails at home, but are intrigued by nail art and want to try it for themselves,” said Fuminori Hirano, a spokesman at Tokyo-based Koizumi Seiki.
Like a scene out of Blade Runner, users can select one of more than 300 designs, or use an image —of a pet or celebrity, for example. Although they’ll have to paint a base color and separate pre-coat, the process takes only about 10 seconds per digit. Surprisingly quiet, it’s hard to tell when it’s printing. The final step is a clear protective top coat, which again, customers have to apply themselves.
Given the steep price, the machine may be better suited for one of Japan’s 25,000-plus nail salons, rather than individual consumers. Rie Nofuji, who runs her own manicure shop in Osaka, said PriNail is better than humans at creating delicate designs. “It’s also nice to be able to print photos, and it does a better job of painting patterns onto nails like stripes.”
While sales figures for the PriNail, which hit stores on Dec. 1, aren’t available, Koizumi Seiki’s Hirano said there have been more than 2,000 downloads for the gadget’s app.
Sharon Kwek, an analyst at beauty-market researcher Mintel in Singapore, said it’s no surprise that a customized-nail printer debuted in the archipelago: “Japan in particular is detailed with nails, and nail art is ever creative and fancy among the locals.”
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