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Review: Nails Inc

January 29th 2013 / 0 comment


Anna Hunter puts a three week manicure to the test - but is it up to scratch?

I'm visiting a nail salon and not having a pedicure done. Unlike my previous Salon Spies, no feet will feature and quite frankly I'm relieved, as I'm sure are you as I shan't be describing their dire dermatological doom. My terrible tootsies can take a walk; my hands are today's targets. My mission is chic, graduation-appropriate talons and my destination is Nails Inc's flagship South Molton Street salon.

A light and airy retreat from the bustle of Bond Street, the original Nails Inc salon is decked in white and surprisingly quiet for a grey Friday afternoon. Cool, calm and collected, the minimalist interior and relaxing ambience make me feel like I might just take to diving in here in future when Oxford Street gets manic and the central line is down.

As for today, I actually have a purpose and an imminent appointment with the lovely Lydia. In fact, every member of this Nails Inc team is remarkably lovely. They are ‘people people’ - genuinely friendly yet impeccably professional. Drinks are offered, treatments are explained and you get that warm and fuzzy feeling of being in more than capable hands.

On arrival I'm incredibly tempted to swap my scheduled Three Week French Manicure (£55) for a Bling It On sequin and skulls option but I don't think that sparkle and nail hardware would really cut it with my boyfriend's parents and professors at his graduation ceremony. I can assure you though that in future I fully intend to road test the leather, concrete and Swarovski crystal treatments (at £120 for a pedicure I might have to swerve into the overdraft for the latter).

I was in good company opting for my long-lasting manicure however, as it's the most popular service at Nails Inc and the chosen treat of founder Thea Green MBE for her recent holiday. Given the glossy, chip-resistant finish and array of classic, best-selling shades on offer it's not hard to see why it’s is so sought-after, especially when it is executed with such care and precision as it was by Lydia.

After a neat buff and file my nails are methodically painted with gel polish and 'cured' under a UV lamp, a process which I find oddly meditative. When my elegant half-moons are dry and my nails are so glassy that I can see my face in them, Lydia soothes my winter worn cuticles with a softening vitamin E oil pen that has more than an air of the Touche Éclat about it.

I left the salon with some great tips on how to keep my mani looking fresh and gleaming (swiping nails with acetone-free nail polish remover and applying a fresh top coat works wonders). Lydia even whispered that the finish has been known to remain flawless after five weeks...

Unfortunately, literally as I write this sentence my thumb and forefinger have chipped slightly and begun to lift away. I recommend a more religious approach to Marigold wearing and a slightly less enthusiastic keyboard style if you want to maintain that salon-fresh feeling for the full three weeks.

With more treatment options than you can shake a nail file at and an unbeatable range of fashion-forward colours, Nails Inc offers a truly couture service for both the time-pressed worker bee and the lady of leisure. Just be warned the promise of three weeks chip-free may be too good to be true...

Anna Hunter


41 South Molton Street, London, W1K 5RP
020 7499 8333

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