Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What to Look for in a Nail Salon?

I really love getting my nails done ... I love the way it's so smooth and shiny and pretty and my badly bitten cuticles suddenly look picture perfect ... can almost be hand-model!

I've tried a few salons and I am hopelessly 'unfaithful' when it comes to salons, curiosity always gets the better of me. I've given it some thought and decided to list out what should we look out for when selecting a salon...
  1. Brands used: reputable professional brands are OPI, Creative, EZFlow, Jessica & Orly, they should have a good selection of colors and nail art, it shows how creative and adventurous the manicurist can be.
  2. Facilities: there should be proper tools, tables, proper lighting, built-in pedi-basins and seats.
  3. Manicurists: The boss or proprietor should always be around and also doing the work alongside with their hired hands.
  4. Hygiene: Cleanliness is key! They should have this heating disinfectants machine for towels and various tools (looks like a little microwave), cutters and cuticle trimmer should be stored into a jar or beaker with disinfectant liquid. A proper built-in pedi-spa basin is a must for me. Using a plastic basin and manually bringing in the water is a major turn off!
  5. Considerate: They should be careful to ensure you are comfy; get you a drink, transfer your bag when you move from the table to the pedi-chairs, help you put on your slippers after pedi etc.They should not be overly pushy and try to cram down this-and-that product while you are in their hands, nor try to convince you to commit packages, informing politely is good.
  6. Comfort: Cushy chairs and adjustable pedi-seats are a nice touch of luxury! One place I go to has a controllable massage function on their pedi-seats! Cool! Basic things like good lighting and just-right a/c temperature helps makes your 2 hours a blissful experience.
  7. Pricing: The market rate is around RM70 plus-minus for a basic mani plus pedi. Special treatment prices varies. Nail art varies from RM 1 - RM5 per nail depending on the ornaments or complication of the art.
  8. Focus: The salon should not attempt to do too many things. Most salons also offer waxing services, that's okay. I personally prefer a proper nail salon and not one that is also a hairdresser cum facial cum spa etc etc. Trying to do too many things comes across as less professional to me. I once did my nails in a spa place (nice spa) but the freelance manicurist cut the skin of my toe so deep that it hurts and was really red after that, thankfully it did not bleed :(
  9. Recommendation: Always ask around for recommendations from others.

Shortcake's Basic Salon Etiquette:
  • Always call and make an appointment in advance.
  • Don't ask "will this color look good on me ar?" The manicurist does not live inside your mind nor walk in your shoes. Only you can know what color suits your skin tone, your clothes, your lifestyle. If you work in a bank, maybe bright glittery turquoise is not the right choice. If you are attending a wedding, black might be frowned upon, unless the theme is "gothic bride" but quite unlikely. I bet the manicurist can't wait for you to make a quick selection so she can get on with it as there are appointments lined up. You should go there with a clear idea of what you want.
  • If you are doing your nails for a special occasion, e.g. your own wedding or Chinese New Year or Christmas party, then feel free to ask for suggestions on the popular trends. Some salons have special festive nail arts lined up, e.g. cherry blossoms or gingerbread man designs.
  • Don't be shy to bring your own favorite nail colors to the salon. Some salons even practice giving you a small discount if you BYO.
  • If you have to match an outfit badly, bring it along to match against their colors.
  • Don't change your mind after the manicurist starts painting. She will have to remove it and re-do it for you. If the first color was a strong color, you risk staining your freshly cut cuticles, what a waste of work and time.
  • Avoid wearing multiple or heavy jewelry items such as bracelets, rings, watch etc as you will need to remove them anyway.
  • Do not wear long jeans / pants etc that cannot be folded up easily. GO in shorts or something that rises easily above your knees so they can scrub your legs with ease.
  • Needless to say, when doing a pedi, do not go there with closed-toe sandals or covered shoes!
  • Avoid indulging in salon gossips and loudly declare your household problems nor grouse about your boss, you never know who knows who there!
  • Turn your phone off to silent while your hands are getting done, imagine your ringtone blasting loudly in a small peaceful salon and you can't reach into your bag cos your nails are halfway done! You can fumble around with it later when they work on your toes.
That's all I have based on my experiences and feedback from friends. Do feel free to share your thoughts or experiences as well.

These are my fav salons for now; they are pretty good:

Nails Extreme
22 Ground Floor, Jln USJ 10/1B, Taipan USJ (same row as Burger King)
Tel:+603 - 5631 9877
They have the cool massage pedi-chairs!

Centrepoint Bandar Utama (facing school, next to 7-Eleven)
Tel:+603 - 7726 7885
always full, need to book days in advance!

I am quite keen to try out the new OPI boutique salons: Color Culture, they look really nice :) Check them out here: http://www.opi.com.my They actually have salons in Bangsar, Mid Valley, Curve and Pavilion. Have anyone tried them out yet? They look expensive to me. Are they any good?

Have any cool salons to share?


Ai-Li said...

this is one good write up! very cool.

oh, and if u were wondering, i was just browsing thru the net for nail parlors and ta-da!

and yeah, the price range for the OPI salons are around 70rm too, if i've not mistaken.

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