My Morning Routine

The New Nail Shape Everyone’s Asking for—and More from New York’s Manicure Wizard

Written by: Megan O’Neill


Published on: July 9, 2024



| founder of Sundays nail studio

The perfect glossy nails you walk out with after an appointment at a Sundays salon in New York aren’t even the main reason to go. There’s the new SoHo location’s lush balcony, where you lounge—like royalty—above the fray of Prince Street. There are the petal-soft, youthful hands you get from the incredible red-light treatment. And the impossibly cute slippers they gift you—perfect for after a pedicure—and the impossibly cute service where the salon invites you to write yourself a letter as you wait for your nails to dry (you get the letter in the mail a few weeks later). Then there’s also the fact that every one of the five chic, spalike Manhattan locations is a serene oasis for spending a spare hour getting pampered.

“I didn’t start out loving nails,” says founder Amy Lin, whose own smooth hands—and flawless skin—are a reminder that a little pampering goes a long way. Lin was working in luxury fashion when she noticed that many of the nail businesses she worked with carried the same products and lacked panache. She went to business school, then nail school, then worked in a nail salon. In 2017, she opened her first location. It was a triumph, though Lin’s dad, who emigrated to the US from a tiny Chinese village, had wanted his daughter to be an immigration lawyer. “It’s not my personality to be a lawyer,” she says. “But almost everyone we hire at the studio is an immigrant, so I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.”

Lin actually uses many of her face products on her hands and feet. “When I’m putting on face creams and oils in the morning, I always save a little for my hands and cuticles,” she says. Another trick: “I layer oil over hand cream before I put on gloves to wash the dishes. The heat from the gloves helps all the ingredients really sink in.”

Lin makes Sundays nail polish, too: The 55 clean, high-shine shades are boosted with moisturizing essential oils. No. 13, a drop-dead gorgeous cherry red that flatters any skin tone, is a goop-editor (and client) favorite. People ask for it by name. This year, squoval nails—a portmanteau of “square” and “oval”—are all the rage. “It’s the nail shape of the summer,” Lin says. “Like a square but rounded on the sides. It’s easy to type with, doesn’t break easily, has an elongating effect, and is great for the longevity of your nails.”

Lin’s morning skin routine is similarly practical, with some potent, glow-boosting oils and creams, plus an indulgent trick for reviving hands and feet.

6:30 a.m.

I get out of bed and make my morning smoothie of coconut water, Brazil nuts, Catie’s Gluten-Free Greens powder, and the superpowder from goop, which is great for my skin and tastes nice and citrusy.

I drink half before doing a 20-minute dance workout—the only type of workout I do consistently. I love growwithjo on YouTube; the videos are all different types of dance and have fun music. Sometimes I put on a face mask while I do it.

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7:15 a.m.

I finish my smoothie, then write for five minutes in my journal. I usually jot down what’s on my mind or intentions for the day—and barely look at what I write.

7:20 a.m.

Into the shower.

7:25 a.m.

I get out and smooth on body cream, followed by this body oil, while my skin is still damp. I’m very sensitive to fragrance, but I love the oil’s mild, earthy, therapeutic scent. I massage it over my elbows, chest area, and hands. It feels so good, like I’m nourishing my body with amazing ingredients.

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When I have time, I soak my feet in a Himalayan-sea-salt-and-essential-oils bath—something my 87-year-old grandma does daily. When I do this at night, I sliver pieces of ginger and boil them in water, then soak my feet in the ginger tea once it’s cooled. I think it really helps with sleep and keeps my feet smooth and soft.

7:40 a.m.

While my face is damp, I apply serum, then this new water-cream. I love it—it’s so light, it doesn’t clog my pores, and it soothes my sensitive skin. I smooth on sunscreen and lock everything in with this hydrating face oil as the last layer. It makes my lines disappear instantly—they’re much more noticeable when my skin is dry.

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7:50 a.m.

If I’ve washed my hair, I blow-dry it—not completely but just so it’s not wet wet—and work a dropper of this hair serum through my ends to help with breakage. My hair is long, and I notice that when I don’t use the serum, my ends feel really dry.

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8 a.m.

I get dressed and walk a few minutes to Central Park. I grew up in nature and find that I need it. I take in the leaves and watch the birds—they’re so free and happy, singing on a branch. Everything I see there makes me appreciate life and gives me energy. I stay for 20 minutes, but that’s enough to help me stay a little calmer and more grounded throughout the day.

8:20 a.m.

I’m off to the office or to one of our salon locations to do trainings.