Welcome to Chroma World
1850 S. 300 West
Wed–Fri: 1 p.m.–7 p.m. | Sat–Sun: 12 p.m.–7 p.m.
801.895.2827 | vagaro.com/chroma1
Chroma SLC is a Latinx-owned nail salon run by Jessie Vega and Nanci Armendariz. They’ve been following their passion for nail art since 2009, but it hasn’t just been a hobby for them: It’s been a way of making themselves feel beautiful, too. For the My Body and Me theme this month, we found that nails were an important part of self-care. Vega and Armendariz both went off to Color My Nails School of Nail Technology, which they attended at the same time with different schedules so they never bumped into each other. It wasn’t until they found themselves working at the same nail salon four years ago that they met. “It’s a small world after all / It’s a small world after all / It’s a small small world!” is a lyric they could sing together since they’ve always been in close proximity. Welcome to the Chroma (small) world!
“It was one of those moments where you’re presented with the opportunity to take an adventure and see what happens.”
Vega and Armendariz worked at a salon together for two years until they found themselves feeling like they weren’t growing or expanding as freely as they’d like. In January of 2019, Vega and Armendariz took a leap of faith and became official business partners when they established Chroma SLC. “It was one of those moments where you’re presented with the opportunity to take an adventure and see what happens,” they say. They were able to take their passion for nails and turn it into a secure and stable business. “We wanted to explore what we could achieve together.”
When it came to developing Chroma, Armenderiz and Vega approached the venture with intentionality. In deciding their name, the two considered the fact that, in color theory “chroma” means the degree of vividness in a color. This is particularly fitting, as the two love playing with colors in their nail art. With Chroma, Vega and Armendariz wanted to create a place where they nurture and respect creative expression; a place where they knew they could work well together and express themselves as freely as they wanted to; a place that is a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ+, Black, indigenous and POC individuals where they can get their nails done. Chroma holds strong to their right to refuse service to all racists, homophobes and xenophobes in order to keep their space safe.
In terms of services, customers have their pick from gel manis, hard-gel, gel-x, builder gel, acrylic and nail art. From simple clean manis to intricate nail art, as long as it fits on the nail, Chroma can provide—they have you covered with everything from fixing one broken nail to getting a paraffin treatment that helps soften the skin and increases blood flow. Prices range from $10–$55 depending on the service, and Vega and Armendariz can be flexible with their designs and use the experience they have gained the last 11 years going to school and teaching themselves. During this time, Armendariz and Vega practiced on family, friends and on themselves—a prime set of canvases. YouTube and Instagram are also tools they both continue to use as they are helpful in learning new techniques and allows them to be able to post their own design content.
“Our clients often tell us that they feel like they can just do about anything.”
Within the COVID-19 climate, you’ll find the two masked up and changing into a new set of gloves with each customer that comes in, along with following protocols of single-use files and buffers on all services: Instruments and workspaces are cleaned and disinfected in between services; only four customers are allowed into the studio at a time and are required to wear a mask and wash their hands when they enter. Vega and Armendariz social distance in their personal lives and only take a limited number of appointments per day to minimize exposure from COVID-19.
Don’t let anyone tell you that nail care isn’t a form of self-care, because it is—whether you want to have long nails, short nails, a flower on each one or nails with a ton of gems on them, go for it. “It’s a way of being intentionally present with yourself,” they say. A visit to Chroma can be a way of disconnecting from the outside world, because you can’t exactly have your phone on you when they’re painting, glueing or drying your nails in their hands. It’s a good feeling being able to get put together and shed away the day-to-day pressures. “Our clients often tell us that they feel like they can just do about anything,” Vega and Armendariz say. They both want their clients to feel renewed, confident and ecstatic after getting their nails done at Chroma.
If you want to feel refreshed and feel like a baddie walking out into the world again, then you should definitely get your nails done. Chroma is open from Wed.–Sun., 12 p.m.–6 p.m. Vega and Armendariz are the only artists at Chroma and work by appointment only. You can contact them for an appointment at vagaro.com/chroma1 or by text at 801.895.2827. Make sure you schedule a time that’s best for you. They will get back to you if you decide to leave a voicemail. They might also be able to squeeze you in for their last taking of an appointment at 6:30 p.m. if you’re fast enough. You can find them on Instagram @chroma.slc and look through their designs on their personal accounts: Vega @nailplate and Armenderiz @nail.views.