Getting your nails done is one of life’s little luxuries. Spending 45 minutes to an hour relaxing whilst someone tends to your cuticles and your cracked, dry heels is one of the easiest ways to invest in self-care. What is it about a newly painted nail that can make you feel so confident and polished? So with that in mind, you need to know where the best nail salons in London are.
Best nail salon – Ama
South London has been crying out for a luxury nail bar and one has finally landed in Brixton – hello Ama. Founded by firm favourite amongst beauty journos, Ama Quashie, the salon offers premium traditional manicure and pedicure treatments, but also has a ‘free from’ menu featuring products that are up to 90% natural, vegan and cruelty free. Walls are lined with an eclectic mix of cultural photographs and framed posters – think Nelson Mandela’s visit to Brixton, the famous exterior of the Ritzy cinema on the day of Prince’s death and an abundance of empowering female quotes. Suitably, my manicurist was wearing a slogan tee that said “sassy = sassi. Definition: she got this and she owning it”. And she really was, whilst perfecting the natural nail look with nostalgic sounds of Destiny’s Child and Madonna in the background. You need to book in advance, but check their Instagram for last minute availability and nail art inspiration.
340 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8QH (amathesalon.com)
Best nail salon – Townhouse
In our opinion, Townhouse – a firm favourite of the UK’s Beauty Editors – is the best nail salon on the list. As soon as you walk in you’re offered the menu with every nail shade you could think of and that month’s nail art specials. It’s the most thorough manicure you’ll ever have and the gel manicures last for three weeks, with no chips. Honestly. Once you’re done with your treatment, head straight to their #nailfie photobooth, which takes a pic of your nails ready to upload and show them off on Instagram.
88 Great Portland Street, W1W (www.mytownhouse.co.uk)
Best nail salon – Still – London
450 Kingsland Road, E8 (www.instagram.com/still___london/)
This place is still by name, still by nature. It’s a calming presence on one of East London’s busiest streets. A relatively new opening for 2019, the nail salon-come-day-spa-come-crystal-shop uses non-toxic, cruelty free and vegan products. However, this doesn’t mean that the quality of your treatment is diminished. Quite the contrary, it has the best nail colour selection we’ve seen in long while, the nail art on offer is out-of-this-world creative and the Icelandic hand cream was some of the nicest we’ve ever tried. A great find if you live east.
Best nail salon – House of Lady Muck (H.O.L.M)
Topshop Oxford Circus, 214 Oxford Street, W1 (www.houseofladymuck.com)
Topshop always pair with the coolest brands in their basement beauty destination and we think nail salon House of Lady Muck is one of the coolest. Naturally, it’s a goldmine for Instagram-content – wait til you see the taps. But the thing that makes it stand out is owner Laura Southern. She used to be a buyer for Asos and Topshop, until she quit this year to work solely on her baby, H.O.L.M. Her passion for this nail bar is obvious – she lives and breathes it – which is good because lots of very exciting brands want to collaborate with her. The manis are seriously good too – there’s nail art, which you can create with your manicurist on the day, men’s treatments (did you know that men have more cuticles than women?!) and your usual buff and polish.
Best nail salon – Shoreditch Nails
13 Cleve Workshops, Boundary Street, E2 (www.shoreditchnails.com)
The Shoreditch Nails nail salon is tiny. And when we say tiny, we meany dinky. It’s tucked away off one of East London’s busiest streets, in a super cute one-roomed workshop. It has three stations for manis and three cute wicker chairs for pedis. It’s very much a boutique salon, but it has everything you could want. Friendly staff who chat to you about what you’re doing that weekend or the best TV shows to watch, the most incredible intricate nail art and beautiful long-lasting manis. Book in once, become a regular for life.
Best nail salon – Cowshed
The best time to go to Cowshed is on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Why? Because it’s the ideal place to soothe a hangover – the coffee is delicious and strong, the chairs are unbelievably comfortable (there’s even a V-shaped cushion that you place around you on your lap to make you even cosier), you’re sat in front of a TV (which often plays Friends) so you don’t have to make small talk and then there are the nails. The manicures and pedicures are so relaxing you’ll totally be forgiven for falling asleep. There are six outposts to choose from, so you’re never too far from one.
All over London (www.cowshed.com/uk/spa)
Best nail salon – DryBy
Walk into DryBy and you’ll instantly get your phone out to take pictures. The decor of this place is serious #interiorgoals. It’d not just the colour palette of blush pink, muted greys and rose gold that make this salon a winner, it’s the incredible manis and pedis that are done down in the basement. You can get a simple file and paint, a Shellac or if you’re feeling adventurous, nail art. But this isn’t crazy nail art, this is the chic nail art that looks like jewellery.
74 Mortimer Street, W1W (dryby.co.uk)
Best nail salon – Wah
The ultimate spot for nail art that wows. Founded in 2008 in Dalston by Sharmadean Reid, it was one of the first nail salons In London to make intricate nail design mainstream. They then opened in Topshop Oxford Circus, before opening up their new flagship in Soho in 2016. The salon itself is exactly what you’d expect – wonderfully hipster and beyond cool.
4 Peter Street, W1F (wah-london.com)
Best nail salon – London Grace
There are eight London Grace salons to choose from in the city and each one decorated so beautifully you’ll happily spend hours there. There are three things that make these salons so great – they prefer dry pedicures, as they say it helps prevent the spread of infections and it helps them stay green by saving water; they display their polishes in a super smart way (see below) and the Happy Hours that happen in every salon on Monday through Wednesday, between 11am and 3pm – 15% off all treatments.
All over London (londongrace.co.uk)
Best nail salon – Aldwyn & Sons
Men have nails too but some of the above salons just don’t really suit some men, which is why Aldwyn Boscawen set up Aldwyn & Sons, a place for men to go and get their manicures and pedicures in a space tailored to their taste. “It was in searching for somewhere to have a pedicure myself that a gap in the market was spotted – a nail salon really wasn’t for me and there was little else on the market to address my unsightly, coarse and at times uncomfortable feet,’ Boscawen explains. He uses the hashtag #modernfootman as he has taken inspiration from the role of footman from the past and turned it on it’s head. It’s very old boys club in appearance – bottle green walls, dark wood, leather Chesterfield arm chairs and of course the essential booze trolley to the side. Boscawen is a one-man band and does every appointment himself, having trained beauty therapy after ditching the city to become a nail technician.
Inside Sharps Barber and Shop on 9 Windmill St, W1
So if you find yourself in London and in need of a mani, you’ll know exactly where to go.
Why not show us what you had done by tagging us in your pictuture on Insta? @marieclaireuk