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MediaMay 13, 2016

The Beauty Spot: How to nail life with Leah Light, manicurist to the stars


Leah Light is the nail queen of New Zealand, and for good reason. Zoe Scheltema got the scoop on what’s worth inviting to your nail bed. 

I remember the first time I had my nails done. I went in seemingly unaware of how much my life was about to change, yet I walked out of the salon with a  new lease on life, a joie de vivre.

I held myself differently, I proffered my debit card to the man at the dairy with two hands, the picture of grace. I had beautiful hands and that was all that mattered. Maybe I could become a princess now? Nothing seemed impossible.

Having great nails is fast becoming something that for a lot of women is no longer just a luxury but a necessary part of their beauty routines. And there is one kiwi woman in particular who is setting the standard for the ultimate in killer talons.

Leah Light is the go to lady for amazing nails, a modern day Monet if you will. Throw your idea of a cheap mall manicure in the bin because this is not just beauty maintenance, this is art.


Leah has been in the game for over two decades, has two salons in Westgate and Parnell that are leaders in their field, her social media accounts give any celebrity a run for their money, and is constantly called upon to work on photoshoots and video sets.


Not only this but when a celeb hits the sweet shores of Aotearoa, Leah is the one who is called upon to get their digits looking perfect – Taylor Swift, Scarlett Johansson and Katy Perry are among those who she has worked with.

“I’ve been beyond lucky and have throughly enjoyed working with everyone I’ve been fortunate enough to be requested by – some of my all time favourites would include Rita Ora, Henry Cavill and Scarlett Johansson, they were all so much fun!”


Leah not only has talent abounds (she can draw anything on a nail, anything! Do you even know how small nails are?!) but she has embraced social media like no other and created a brand for herself. Fans from across the globe can see what tiny wonders she has created on any given day.


Over 53 thousand followers on her personal Instagram account and close to 410 thousand on Facebook, her nails must be some of the most looked at in the world.

“I can post a photo on my Instagram or Facebook page and within hours people from all over the world will have recreated the same look.”


Often it’s the intricate nail art that people love, and increasingly its detail knows no bounds. If you can think of it, you can probably have it on your nails.

“We get a lot of interesting requests, one of my studio managers Ashley had a client who had a grandmother pass away and wanted individual memories on each nail dedicated to her.”


Leah and her team are not only very handy with incredibly small paint brushes but she is brimming with knowledge and tidbits, so it would be rude not to ask what her top tip is.

“Oil, Oil, Oil! Nail growth comes from the matrix of the nail and the matrix is hiding not far away from the cuticles so its super important that we look after them! I tell my clients to keep multiple bottles of oil – one at work [and] one at home as a visual reminder to apply oil a minimum of twice a day.”

And just like fashion, nail trends are changing constantly. Leah reckons that for autumn, glitter will be huge.

Glitter glitter everywhere! Glitter is going to be huge over autumn, along with chrome. With nail art think clean crisp lines!”


If there’s one thing that Leah has shown above all else, it’s that creativity reigns supreme in the world of nail styling.


When asked about the people that think “less is more”, she had a simple response.

“Do these people really exist?!”

Keep going!