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How Rihanna Knows Her Nails Are Way Too Long

06/11/2012 at 09:00 AM ET

Rihanna Nail ArtCourtesy Rihanna, Courtesy Kimmie Kyees; Inset: BE

Rihanna and Katy Perry are known for their bold beauty moves — manicures included. But who’s the genius behind their famous finger styles? It’s Los Angeles-based nail artist Kimmie Kyees.

Kyees has been doing nails for 19 years, and has worked with celebrities for almost eight. Other nails she’s polished include those of Jennifer Lopez, Pink, the Kardashians and Eva Longoria — just to name a few.

Kyees tells PEOPLE that manicures are generally collaborative processes between the star and the stylist, but that Rihanna is particularly involved in hers. “She’s involved with everything about her look and style — she’s a trendsetter,” Kyees says of the Bajan babe, whom she first worked with on 2007′s “Umbrella” video.

Recently, the “Where Have You Been” songstress has done away with her signature dagger-like “stiletto” talons — a trend that Kyees credits the pop star with help making popular. “Now she has a narrow square shape acrylic (above) — a style she actually came up with,” the manicurist reveals. “She loves her long nails. She does the iPhone test — if she can still type then [they're] OK.”

Last week, Kyees did Perry’s nails for a magazine cover (below, left). “Katy wanted the ying-yangs, so I used gel,” she explains. “She said they’re her favorite ones that I’ve ever done for her!” (Indeed; Perry even Tweeted her admiration for her new finger tips.)

Katy Perry Nail ArtCourtesy Katy Perry (2}; Inset: NPG

Kyees prefers to use gel over regular polish because it’s more convenient. “It’s super easy to get up and go because there’s no dry time and you have versatility,” she says. “You can put a pair of press-ons over the gels, and when you take them off you still have a perfect manicure.”

Press-on nails are popular among performers because they’re easy to remove and perfect for quick changes. “I can be at Katy’s video shoot working on really elaborate nails while she’s doing her wardrobe and makeup,” Kyees explains, referring to the floral manicure (above, right) she created for one of Perry’s upcoming music videos. “She then comes to me and I pop them on — it’s so busy that sometimes I only have two minutes with her on set.”

Although most of us don’t have access to a professional nail artist as talented as Kyees, she says it’s simple to achieve a star-worthy mani on your own. For total ease, she recommends using Sally Hansen nail strips, though Kyees also has her own line of Minx.

To make your nail strip manicure last longer, Kyees also shares this trick of the trade: “Get the Red Carpet Manicure System — it comes with everything you need for at-home gels — and put the clear gel over your nail stickers,” she shares. “It will protect it and keep it looking great for a while. I do it for Katy all the time.” Noted!

–Jennifer Cress

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Showing 31 comments

MB on

To each his (her) own, but I can’t help but cringe when I see Rihanna’s nails.

xXx on

Just because you are an idiot MB.

Beauty Counter blog: Insider tips on beauty products, hair, makeup, skincare, fragrances, spas, and salons » Blog Archive » Rihanna Christens The iPhone Nail Test; Jennifer Aniston’s Drugstore Aisle Beauty Secret; And More… on

[...] “She does the iPhone test—if she can still type then [they're] OK,” says Kyees. [People]The wait is over: Tween queen Selena Gomez officially launched her debut scent at Macy’s [...]

Rihanna Christens The iPhone Nail Test Jennifer Anistons Drugstore Aisle Beauty Secret And More | | HaLaPicHaLaPic on

[...] does a iPhone test—if she can still sort afterwards [they're] OK,” says Kyees. [People]The wait for for is over: Tween black Selena Gomez strictly launched her entrance smell during [...]

Rihanna Christens The iPhone Nail Test; Jennifer Aniston’s Drugstore Aisle Beauty Secret; And More… | Chicago Fashion Daily on

[...] Rihanna loves an over-the-top manicure, but she and nail artist Kimmy Kyees have a fail-proof system to know when the singer’s acrylics have gotten too long. “She does the iPhone test—if she can still type then [they're] OK,” says Kyees. [People] [...]

MB on

@xXx, I was sharing my opinion in a tasteful manner. Obviously you have no class, but that’s okay because I don’t know you nor do I care to know you. Go back under your rock and have an awesome day! :D

lolo on

It’s YIN and yang, not “ying” and yang…..

I guess people confuse the term with ping pong. sigh.

The Artist Behind Rihanna And Katy Perry’s Bold Nails » Real Style Network - Beauty on

[...] doesn’t just paint their nails though. According to an interview with People magazine, Kyees actually works with these stars to create custom nail looks that match their trendsetting [...]

Just me on

Katy’s nails are pretty. Rihanna’s nails are creepy!

Click this on

I really appreciate artists who are doing nail arts, because creating those arts are really valuable. Kyees, I really appreciate on what you are today. Just keep it up.

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