OPI Pro Spotlight: Bana Jarjour Celebrates 40 Years of Color
As we continue to celebrate 40 Years of Color, we are moving the spotlight onto one of our favorite nail pros. Step in Bana Jarjour aka @banicured the genius behind a number of your favorite nail art looks. Based in Los Angeles, we caught up with the celebrity manicurist to reflect on her favorite OPI moments, her dreams, and her first OPI manicure.
OPI: Tell us about your first OPI shade that you remember using. What does this shade remind you of?
BJ: The first shade I remember using is Mod About You. I saw all my friends wearing it and had to have it! It became my go-to pedicure color for years until I switched to Alpine Snow.
OPI: You’ve worked with OPI a few times in the past. What has been your favorite memory collaborating with us?
BJ: I would say my favorite memory has to be traveling to Portugal to work on shooting the Lisbon collection. Our team got to tour the city and shoot all over the streets and various sites. So hectic, but so incredible! I even had to do a models’ nails in the van on the way to our location. And of course working on the Hollywood collection shoot, too!
OPI: This year you helped us bring our OPI Hollywood collection to life. Can you tell us how you created the nail art looks for this collection? Where did the inspiration come from, and what shades from this collection are you drawn to?
BJ: I drew inspiration from classic Hollywood glam, while also creating looks that people can do at home. Glam doesn’t have to be difficult! The first shade I was drawn to is I’m Really an Actress- it’s almost like nail art in a bottle. The glitter mixed with the red creates such a gorgeous dimension and I feel like the color can be worn at any event, day or night.
OPI: Tell us about your first celebrity manicure. What was this experience like for you?
BJ: I was so nervous! I was doing an actress’s nails for a major awards show and I had no idea what I was going to walk into. It turned out she had me do her nails at a small Airbnb she rented with her costar. It was such a calm environment- they offered me snacks and coffee, and we just hung out like friends. She even asked me to help her choose a dress for her after-party! It’s important to remember celebrities are just people. While it's a high-stakes environment, you have to treat them like they’re just anyone else.
OPI: Our Hollywood Collection is about making your dreams come true. Tell us what you still dream about achieving in your career.
BJ: One of my biggest dreams is to have my own product line- Brushes, polishes, tools, etc. I want people to be able to create their own looks at home. That’s exactly the way I started out and I think it’s such a great way to enhance your creativity. I would also hope to get into education and help up-and-coming nail techs learn the tricks of the trade.
OPI: You have a massive following on IG. What tips do you have for those trying to make it big and stand out?
BJ: My biggest tip is to try to create looks that you don’t see much of. One of the things that helped me grow the most was being unique and posting designs that other people weren’t. It’s important to take a work of art or whatever inspiration you’re using and put your own little twist on it. And I can’t stress lighting enough! The lighting will make or break your entire photo. I take pictures either inside by the window or out in the sun, depending on the design. I try to use soft light rather than something harsh like a ring light.
OPI: Your nailfie game is amazing! Where do you get inspiration for your looks? Do you usually have to test it out a bit before it feels just right?
BJ: Thank you! I get a lot of inspiration from clothing, works of art, and fellow nail techs. I have a process where I test out the looks on my thumb and if I like it I’ll start re-creating it on the rest of my nails. If I don’t like it, I’ll redo it until it looks the way I want it to. And not every design is going to work (which is ok! Not everything will.), so after a few tries I will move on and attempt something else. And I don’t typically test looks out on nail tips because they’re always going to look different once they’re on my hand.
OPI: Tell us the best nail advice you've ever received.
BJ: The best advice I’ve ever received is to stop worrying about what people around you are doing and what kind of success they’re having. Comparing yourself to somebody else is just going to throw you off and make you doubt yourself. But the reality is, we really don’t know anyone’s path and where they’ve been, and what their goals are. It’s important to stick to what you are doing and believe in yourself and know that somebody’s success has nothing to do with yours. There’s room for all of us in this industry and we can all support one another without comparisons.
OPI: Looking back at your career, is there something you wished you did differently? If not why?
BJ: Sometimes I think I could’ve done some things differently, but everything I’ve done has gotten me to where I am today. And today, I’m very happy with where I am in my career and I believe in myself more than ever. As much as I would’ve wanted to start earlier, I don’t think I was ready to receive the success that I know I’m capable of now. I believe that I have so much knowledge today and that I have set myself up to succeed better than I could have before.
OPI: What advice would you give new nail techs trying to work with agencies or collaborate with brands?
BJ: The best thing you can do is to just put yourself out there. I know how scary it can be, and that’s one of the things that has held me back in the past. But don’t be afraid to tag brands in your photos and stories, reach out to them via DM, and engage in their posts. Brands are always looking for people to work with, and you never know what’s going to catch their eye. Feel free to email agencies you might be interested in, as well! Start collecting your photos and create a digital portfolio so that when you do get in touch with agencies, you can send them an organized collection of your work.
Bana Jarjour is a celebrity manicurist based in Los Angeles. After spending her early years doodling on her own nails, she started an Instagram page, @Banicured, that quickly gained popularity and jump-started her career into the sought-after manicurist she is today. Her detailed and unique designs can be seen on fashion week runways, the Met Gala red carpet, and the nails of some of your favorite celebrities.