Ji Baek, Rescue Beauty Lounge Founder: A tFS Exclusive Interview

I’m a complete nail polish addict, constantly switching up what I’m wearing on my tips based on my mood and wardrobe choice.  Even a slight change in shade creates a different effect.

With a collection of shades now exceeding the 100 mark, it’s rare that I come across a color that truly makes me go “wow,” but Rescue Beauty Lounge’s “Frugalista,” “Look Rich, Be Cheap,” and “Locavore” did just that. 

So it was with total excitement that I was able to interview the line and salon founder, Ji Baek. Her latest collection was influenced by “the laid-back brights of Proenza Schouler’s surfer-influenced Spring 2010 RTW collection.”

The Fashion Spot: How have you set your salon apart from the countless others that line the streets of NYC?

Jil Baek: The biggest reason I decided to open Rescue Beauty Lounge is I simply could not find any place that was CLEAN – I mean where the tools and implements were shared, and where all the metal implements were sterilized. I believe I attract people who are like myself, as almost all of our clients are germ-phobic. We follow the state law that non-metal implements are for one time use only (disposable), and metal implements are sterilized in the autoclave. Much like your dentist’s office, it is expensive to run the business like that, which is why there are short cuts everywhere – hence, our prices are higher. Quality not quantity is my philosophy in every aspect of my life.

tFS: How has the economy affected your business? Have you found that more women are looking to splurge on the “little things” like pampering treatments?

JB: We are no exceptions to the global economic climate. It’s been a tough time for everyone. I see many women impulsively splurge on big items and small. I don’t think there is any pattern at all.


tFS: Do you have any tips for at-home manicure/pedicure?

JB: My book Rescue Your Nails has a complete guide for step by step DIY. I think it’s chic to do your own nails; somehow we lost that ritual.

I’d rather have control over all the tools, and use great left over products. When I was writing this book, I actually started doing my own nails again (after 10 years of professional service), and it was almost like meditation.

You have to pay attention to that one task only – no phone calls or e-mails. It’s probably the only grooming service you can do yourself which does not have a huge impact if you make a mistake. Polishes do come off with one swipe of nail polish remover.


tFS: What can women do to extend how long their manicure/pedicure last?

JB: Apply a top coat every couple of days to prevent chipping and to have a glossy finish.


tFS: How do you come up with your new nail colors?

JB: Inspiration often comes from runway trends, but it also has to work organically with colors and texture. Sometime we put spin on it with politics or other themes. 

tFS: How often do you change your nail color?

JB: I keep my colors on until they chip, and always log how many days the manicure lasted. I do not really try out other brands – I keep my creative juices original.

Although I do wear nail polish all the time, I also rotate dark to light colors to keep my nails from staining. About every six weeks, I get them buffed.

tFS: What is your favorite polish shade?

JB: I adore all my creations equally!

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