Student Artist Spotlight: Dina Azar ’25 delivers manicures centered around self-care

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Dina Azar ’25 charges $35 for a manicure and $40 for a Gel-X set with nail extensions. (Photo courtesy of Dina Azar ’25)

When Dina Azar ‘25 was younger, her mother wouldn’t allow her to get her nails done at a salon. Now, she has her own business doing nails for students at Lafayette.

“[My mom] thought it wasn’t something that was worth spending money on, but I’m realizing now, it is worth it,” Azar said of getting her nails done professionally. “It is worth it to keep up with your own health and your own care. Doing this is something that you’re going to be doing for yourself.”

After having a bad salon experience in her senior year of high school, Azar discovered Gel-X, a nail treatment that keeps nails strong while giving them an acrylic-like appearance. Over last winter break, Azar used Gel-X to give manicures to her friends and family. When she returned to Lafayette, her nails were all the buzz.

Inspired by her roommate’s suggestion that she should start her own business, Azar started taking clients in the spring semester of her freshman year, hoping to establish a convenient and safe way for students to receive manicures on campus. From there, her clientele grew. She now allows people to make appointments through her website

“I make sure that natural nail health is my priority. So, if someone comes in, and I feel like their nails aren’t doing too well, we won’t do a full set. I will keep it, like, gel or regular manicure. It’s convenient and it’s safe,” Azar said. 

Azar said there is a deeper meaning behind her nail art. She believes that manicured nails represent people’s need for self-care and can boost one’s confidence.  

“I don’t want the sole purpose to be about nails … I would say [to my customers], ‘Make sure you’re taking time to take care of yourself.’ I think a lot of people don’t allow themselves to indulge in things like nails,” Azar said.

Azar currently works out of her dorm, doing every manicure herself. She has thought about expanding her business in the future, but she has doubts.

“I don’t always have time to take a bunch of appointments. So, I’ve thought about scaling it and bringing in other nail techs,” she said. “But for now, I think it’ll probably just remain as it is and I’ll try my best to accommodate everyone.”

On her Instagram account, @artbyazarr, Azar posts pictures of her manicures and other forms of art, as well as content related to self-care. She hopes her customers will take away an encouraging message from her posts and manicures.

“Being able to do art on your fingertips – art in a very minuscule form – and carrying that around with you, that’s what I love,” Azar said. “I want nails to not just stand as nails, but more of something comforting that you can have on your hands.”

Azar charges $35 for a manicure and $40 for a Gel-X set with nail extensions. You can find out more about Azar’s work and book an appointment through her Instagram.