Nails Forever owner DJ West bounded into beauty school at the tender age of 16, and by age 18, she had her license, a job, and a dream that would lead her to San Francisco. There, her skills were sharpened in salons studding Union Square and Polk Street. Her desire to open her own salon brought her back to Contra Costa County, where she's been keeping fingertips looking tip-top since 1981. Her passion for painting and fine art is reflected in her hand-based handiwork, which often includes one-of-a-kind looks ranging from leopard-print nails to bejeweled holiday designs, and she's won no fewer than five trophies at nail-design competitions. She also specializes in Shellac application and excels in acrylic extensions, which typically hold up better than the old-fashioned wooden kind.