Dea Martinez Bernal is working to make the world a more beautiful place, one set of nails at a time.

Martinez is the owner and manager of the newly-opened The Glitter Complex at 659 S. Main St. The new salon is located on the second floor above J’s Beauty and Barber Shop, and Martinez offers her customers manicures, pedicures and waxing.

“I work with the natural nail. I don’t do acrylics or dips. The only thing I add to the natural nail is a basic polish or a gel polish, and it goes directly on the natural nail and does the minimum amount of damage,” Martinez said.

Martinez is also an artist who can create mini-masterpieces on her clients’ nails.

“I love to do nail art. A lot of times my clients will come to me with an idea, sometimes something straight off of Pinterest, and they’ll say, “Can you do this? Or can you do a variation of this?’ And other clients just say, ‘Do whatever you want.’ So I do get to express my creativity,” Martinez said.

Just be forewarned: if you visit The Glitter Complex, some of Martinez’s sparkle is bound to rub off.

“I named this place The Glitter Complex because I’m obsessed with glitter. Anyone who knows me knows that. I think I have more glitter here than polish, so I try to sway people’s minds a little bit about using glitter. I try to get people to think outside the box, especially if I know they’re creatures of habit,” she laughed.

The Glitter Complex space includes a private side room where she can do full body waxing for clients.

“I do full-body waxing, so that’s something new here. This is something I can now offer to clients. It’s not something that’s easy to find in Del Rio, and a lot of people here go to San Antonio to have that done,” she said.

Martinez began working with nails in 2013.

“I used to do hair, but it just wasn’t for me. At the time (2013), my daughter was four months old, and I had been out of the game for a bit, and I was really just looking for a job. I saw that Polished Elegance (another Del Rio nail salon) was hiring, so I went by, and I got an interview and was hired on the spot,” Martinez said.

She said her fiancé, now wife, Pepper, encouraged her to learn as much as she could about doing nails and pointed out Martinez was a natural at creating things and making them pretty.

“And that’s really what cosmetology is, is making the world a more beautiful place. It wasn’t an easy start for me, and my boss didn’t think I’d last, but I stuck it out, and I ended up staying there longer than anyone else,” she said.

Martinez said she decided to set out on her own because she felt it was time for her to move in a new direction.

She said Jay Reyna, her landlord, has gone above and beyond in accommodating her requests, and she has worked to make the space occupied by The Glitter Complex uniquely hers, with walls painted in her favorite colors of bright yellow and chartreuse and whimsical art on the walls.

Clients are also greeted by a mini-garden of her favorite plants, cactuses, at the head of the stairs.

She said she hopes to continue filling the space with work by local artists.

“This is my home away from home, and I want to be comfortable here, and I want my clients to be comfortable here. It’s a hidden gem up here,” she said.

“This is something I can now offer to clients. It’s not something that’s easy to find in Del Rio, and a lot of people here go to San Antonio to have that done,” she said.

Martinez said she wanted to thank her wife, Pepper Bernal, and her clients for their support.

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