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Dress Code - Posted September 22, 2017 8:49 a.m.
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Photo by Chriselda Photography

Nail This Fall’s Looks

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Restaurants have food trucks. Video consoles have gaming trucks. Why shouldn’t a nail salon be equally mobile? That was the thought Amber Morgan had not long after she moved back to Amarillo in 2015. Having become a Texas-licensed cosmetologist and completing a fine arts degree from Amarillo College, she transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City to complete her education. In the process, she became licensed in New York and started working at the high-end manicure studio Paintbox. Well-known in the industry, Paintbox has a hugely influential Instagram presence and was a boon for Morgan’s career, gaining her plentiful industry contacts and even appearances in Cosmopolitan magazine.

But this Tascosa grad found herself being drawn back home. “I missed Amarillo and I missed my family,” she says. She returned and began seeing private nail clients at Uglypress, an upscale salon at 3608 Mockingbird Lane. But soon after, on a short trip to Lubbock with her sister, Morgan happened to notice a vehicle pass on the highway. It was pulling a small vintage trailer.

The mobile nail salon idea popped into her head. “Wouldn’t this be amazing?” she asked her sister. That was on a Tuesday. By Friday, she had located and purchased a 1973 Shasta camping trailer. She and her father, Rodney Morgan, set out to convert the old trailer into what she calls The Mani Camper. “All the design was mine, but he did all the construction,” she says. “He’s an amazing dude.”

The end result is a comfortable, stylish on-to-go studio that Morgan hauls across town and even into neighboring states for private gatherings, birthdays, bachelorette parties, and other events.

Between Mani Camper trips and her private clients, Morgan remains embedded in the New York fashion scene, working with agencies and beauty brands to apply her expertise among other stylists. She’s a regular during Fashion Week and, in late September, traveled there to work backstage at an event for the KISS nail products brand.

Morgan recommended a few of her favorite manicure products (see sidebar) then shared with us the nail colors that will be trending over the next few months. “These colors can be found all over the Fall/Winter 2017 runways,” she says. Pointing to favorite designers like Valentino, Gucci, Fendi, Koché, Johanna Ortiz and Viktor & Rolf, she says “you’ll see tons of prints and colors and get inspired.”

The colors she recommends accessorize an exciting array of fall fashion trends, particularly dark florals, patchwork and houndstooth.

Photos by Shannon Richardson



Tom Ford Carnal Red Nail Lacquer $36, Dillard's


OPI Infinite Shine 2 Olive for Green Gel-Lacquer $8.80, Ulta


OPI Nail Lacquer CIA = Color Is Awesome $7.39, Ulta


OPI Nail Lacquer Tickle My France-y $10.50, Ulta


OPI Infinite Shine 2 Whisperfection $8.81, Ulta


Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Jaded $7.99, Ulta

Try these products at home:


Jo Malone Vitamin E Hand Treatment $55, Dillard's
According to Morgan, a luxurious manicure isn’t complete without the application of this hand cream. “It leaves my clients’ hands feeling silky-smooth and they love the smell,” she says. “Plus, it has Vitamin E that conditions the skin and aids against effects of the environment.” That protection is crucial during the Panhandle’s dry winters.


La Mer The Renewal Oil $245, Dillard's
“I can't say enough good things about this ‘miracle’ oil,” Morgan says. She applies it straight to the cuticle as the final step of a manicure. Clients leave with their cuticles looking and feeling amazingly smooth. “Oil is essential to your manicure lasting and keeps you from getting hangnails,” she explains. The product’s magic isn’t just for the nail bed. Morgan tells her clients to apply a few drops of the elixir as a nightly pre-bedtime ritual. “This oil can also be used on the face, neck and any area of the body that's dry. Using it on a daily basis helps the skin become more resilient, smooth and glowing.”


100/180 Zebra Banana Nail File $1.29, Sally Beauty
Morgan doesn’t mince words when it comes to this simple, inexpensive cushioned nail file. “I love this file,” she says. Her enthusiasm partly stems from the product’s unique, gently curved shape. “It's perfect and easy for filing because it goes right along with the natural curve of the nail.”


Curved disposable mascara wands $3.69, Sally Beauty
Not quite sure about using a mascara wand on your nails? Morgan gets it. “It sounds funny,” she says. “But I’m telling you, it works great for cleaning under the free edge and around the cuticle of the nail.” She says a number of clients have mentioned that their favorite part of the manicure is when Morgan pulls out one of these inexpensive accessories. “It feels like their fingers are getting a little massage.”

Follow Amber Morgan on Instagram at @themani_camper and visit themanicamper.com to book an event.

by Jason Boyett

Jason has written more than a dozen books and is the host and creator of “Hey Amarillo”, a local interview podcast. Visit heyamarillo.com and jasonboyett.com.
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