We believe some things are best left to the experts – and nails are one of them. Here’s a roundup of some of our favourite salons!
The Body Firm
468 River Valley Road
+65 6838 0331
My husband walked in on me the other night while I was in the middle of a pre-pedicure pedicure.
“Don’t you have an appointment for a pedicure in the morning?” he asked, incredulous.
“How could I possibly turn up with toes so unkempt?” I replied.
Prompting my session of preemptive beautifying was an appointment at The Body Firm on River Valley Road. After three years at Holland Village, Marianne Doele decided to relocate her body-shaping business. Now, with more space available, she has added facials, waxing and nails to her menu of services.
Salon manager Salina Cheong is on hand to guide me through The Body Firm’s Pedicure Spa ($82) and Manicure Spa ($52) – more luxurious versions of their classic mani-pedi services. I’m looking forward to two hours of pampering bliss.
First up is a warm antioxidant soak for my feet. Cuticles are trimmed and tamed, nails shaped and buffed, dead skin cells exfoliated away. A foot and leg massage is strong and relaxing, then it’s time to decide on nail polish colour. All of The Body Firm’s nail products are from OPI and the pedicure and manicure spas utilise the White and Green Tea range which has a fresh and pleasant fragrance.
With my feet comfortably ensconced in electric booties, Salina starts on my hands. Between our chatting and a UK Hello magazine, the manicure spa is over in a flash and I’m under the drying fan.
The two treatments together took a little longer than I expected. If you’re on a tight schedule, I suggest you have your pedicure and manicure in different appointments, or at least let the staff know your schedule in advance.
Flair Nails & Beauty Services
Henry Park Apartments
18 Holland Grove Road
+65 6468 3989
Conveniently located with free parking, the funky pink building is hard to miss. Open plan in design, the bright salon is perfect venue for a pampering session with the girls.
I have very weak, brittle nails, and find that acrylic nails, while they look great, compound the problem. Owner Victoria Soh explained that the gel nails her salon uses are made from natural products (safe to use during pregnancy), do not damage the nail bed and are durable and chip-resistant.
Within 45 minutes, my expertly pedicured toes were a glossy, Christmas berry red, one of more than 300 colours in the OPI range.
The gel nail treatment took just under an hour and a half. As the gel is self-levelling, the nail requires minimal buffing and preparation before the gel is applied and it dries in less than two minutes under a UVA lamp. The gel comes in a variety of colours, or you can opt for a French manicure as I did – two layers of clear gel, followed by white tips then finished with a topcoat. Each layer is very thin, so your nails look natural and healthy but have extra strength. And as the gel dries on the spot, you don’t risk smudging your colour within 5 minutes of leaving the salon.
The nails last for three-to-four weeks, after which you can go back for infills or have them soaked off and a new set applied. For extra length you can opt for gel extensions, but allow a little more time for these. A new set of gel nails (without extensions) costs from $60 and infills are from $50.
49 Cantonment Road
+65 6220 3343
It’s a Friday afternoon during the pre-Christmas dinner-dance season, and the place is buzzing.
One of a row of attractive Chinatown shophouses, Zona Felice – which, I assume, means “happy space” – lives up to its name. Funky décor, a friendly but professional vibe and the kind of pleasant pop music that gets you in the mood for a night out. Mainly a hair studio, it also offers makeup and nail services.
A cosy, fringe-screened mani-pedi room lets you peep out at the main salon to the right and the shampooing area to the left, with a pile of new magazines. The plan was for manicurist May to “infill” my gel nails, but as she does not have the bright shade of white needed to match my existing French tips, she offers to order it and suggests I come back another day.
So I settle for a classic pedicure ($35), much needed after the pounding my toes took during last weekend’s Standard Chartered half-marathon. May’s careful and thorough treatment includes some sympathetic clucking over a bruised big nail, a good scrub and a blissful foot and leg massage.
The Christmassy red I choose does the festive season trick. And though I painted my own toes for the first half of my adult life, I sincerely hope I never have to do it again. Some things are far, far better left to a professional.
Tip: Take a cab to Zona Felice, as parking is limited and the one-way traffic system tricky.
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