Tom Bachik, arguably the world’s most well-known manicurist, never imagined he would end up doing nails for a living. He intended to do graphic art, airbrushing race-car helmets, jet skis, and motorcycles. But when he and his wife suddenly had a baby on the way, he knew he needed to establish a career that would support his family, and that’s when a cousin suggested doing nails. Initially, Bachik scoffed at the idea, but within days he was enrolled in beauty school.
Fast forward to a career that has him at the top of his game: He’s traveled the world as a brand educator, he was the first manicurist on Chanel and L’Oreal’s pro rosters, he’s constantly in demand for red carpets and photo shoots for celebrities, including regular clients Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, and Margot Robbie. Add to that his current partnerships with Tweezerman and imPress nails. But at the end of the day, this Southern Californian is a husband and father of three who loves spending a day at church, the beach, and snuggled on the couch with a heartwarming movie.
“Sunday is my only true day off and even then, we don’t always get a Sunday off,” says Bachik. “So we try to make it our special family time.”
In our new series, “A Perfect Sunday,” we spotlight our favorite tastemakers and their ideal Sunday vibe, life advice, and beauty and style must-haves. Here, Tom Bachik shares his weekend routine.
“Usually we’re up by 6:00 a.m. I like to do a workout. I just turned 52, so my workouts are about being in good shape with a little bit of weight training and I like to run a 1-mile or 5-mile loop around our neighborhood. Then I shave and do a quick shower, and then we go to an 8:00 a.m. church service, so you have the whole day ahead of you.”
“Then after church we have a breakfast-brunch thing. Sometimes we’ll head to Toast or Broken Yolk — they have fancier breakfasts. One of my boys got into golf a couple years ago and pulled me along. So sometimes we’ll try to catch a mid-morning tee time at one of the local ranges.”
“For lunch, we’ll make something, but it’s simple, like a chicken salad. Or if we don’t go out for breakfast, we’ll go out for lunch, for hibachi at Shogun, where they cook in front of you. My kids love it.”
“If it’s hot, we’ll bust out the lawn chairs; we have a little pool and jacuzzi in the backyard. Or we’ll go to the beach. There’s a beach in North County San Diego called Moonlight Beach. We love to be there for sunset. After the beach, we like to get ice cream. There’s a little handmade ice cream parlor, Handel’s — there’s always a line.”
“Normally for dinner on Sundays, it’s something simple. If I cook, it’ll be pasta or barbecue in the summer, if the kids are in the pool. Mostly it’s chicken, maybe burgers, or shish-kebabs. Everyone loves when we make shish-kebabs.
“And then it’s just winding everything down. Liz and I might listen to an audiobook while we start planning for the next day. Sunday night is a reflection and planning session for the week. We may watch a movie — I’ve been into Top Gun lately. It’s a feel-good, mindless movie. I did the same thing with Ford and Ferrari, so when it comes to race cars and jets, I’m all in. But I also love feel-good movies; I’m a sappy guy.”
“I’m a pretty simple guy — I don’t like huge routines with a bazillion products. Give me a face wash and a moisturizer. I often get a lot of products, and I use them on the hands because they reduce fine lines and increase cell renewal — that’s perfect for the hands. So I take the face stuff and use it on my clients’ hands. I also like to shower before bed, especially after a day at the beach. And with my hair, I’ve decided to embrace the silver hair, so I often use a blue or purple shampoo to give my hair a little bit of something. It makes the silver brighter and the baby blue matches my eyes.”
Peeping Into Tom
What’s been a surreal moment in your career?
“I’ve had so many moments in my career that seemed surreal. One was being at Jennifer [Lopez]’s house, doing nails sometime between midnight at 2 a.m. because she was hopping on a flight a couple hours later to another country. And we’re sitting there and she says, ‘I want a PB&J. You want a PB&J?’ I said, ‘That sounds amazing.’ How many people in the world can say that JLo made them a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Not too many. Those are the moments that happen in a career that was completely unexpected.”
What’s something you’ve learned from your clients?
“I’m blessed because my clients have been at the top of their careers, whether they’re designers, actors, musicians. And they also have companies and families and I get to pay attention to see how they handle things. They all say ‘family first.’ Watching how they handle it and the things that worked and didn’t work has really helped me in my life. By being a guy surrounded by some of the most powerful women in the world, you really get a unique perspective on things.”
What are you watching, listening to, and reading?
“Movies that are inspiring and about who we’re becoming. That’s why I like movies like The Ultimate Gift, that are telling the story of who we want to become. That seems to be my current place in life right now. I love to listen to business books and biographies and hearing the stories of Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Phil Knight from Nike – hearing their process and how they dealt with things and handled situations.
“I feel like you can never learn too much from The Bible. Stories like The Alchemist and Pilgrim’s Progress – they’re allegories and adventures of how we handle things.”
What are some of your fashion must-haves?
“I’m a simple, typical SoCal guy. Other than my Asics or Hoka running shoes, all my shoes are Vans and Converse. I stole this idea from Steve Jobs about having a uniform, with his jeans and turtleneck. I have too many other things to think about and if I can eliminate one of those thought processes, of what to wear, it keeps my morning routine super simple. My uniform consists of Lululemon and James Perse pants. And I love T-shirts from All Saints and James Perse. Everything’s black.”
What are a few of your favorite places in Southern California?
“One is Moonlight Beach. It’s a fun beach and sometimes they have concerts. It’s our go-to family place. We love to go to the mountains, to Big Bear, to go fishing and snowboarding. We live in Murrieta, nestled in between San Diego and L.A. and I’m an hour from the beach and the mountains — it’s a central spot. And there’s a little town nearby called Temecula — it’s Southern California’s wine area and my wife and I will use that as a getaway, a staycation, have dinner out there, stay the night.”
Speaking of travel — you’ve done a ton of it for work. Is there anywhere left that you’d like to visit for a holiday?
“I would love to go back to everywhere. I traveled so much when I started out. I’ve been all over the world but haven’t seen any of it. I love Tokyo. Japan. Germany. New Zealand was amazing. London. My wife and I have been going to New York quite a bit recently for collaborations and product launches and we’ll go see a show and make a vacay out of it.”
And finally, do you have a most treasured possession?
“My family would say my Lotus Evora. I spend way too much time on it. They only made 1200 of them in the U.S. It’s not super expensive, but because it’s rare and no one sees them, you pull in for gas and you’ll be there for 30 minutes because people want to talk to you about your car. But I would say my most treasured possession is definitely my family. I try to do everything as it relates to that first.”
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