Lockdown is to blame for a lot of things. Considerable confusion. Scuppered Christmas plans. Yet more existential dread. What we’re really concerned about, however, is the state of our nails.
You may currently feel smug that you are perfectly capable of doing your nails yourself. But, no matter how skilled you are, even just going to a nail salon is a joy in itself. Luckily, we will be able to get our nails done again when nail salons reopen on the 12th of April. We’ll be able to hear the satisfying tap of typing with acrylics, to agonise over what colour to pick – maybe we’ll even get a pedicure.
Until that time, here are the best nail salons in London. Book in advance, or purchase a voucher if possible – they need our support.
As much as we love all nail salons, many do have something of a chemical aroma – not Still though. Still is a cruelty-free, natural and vegan nail salon. There are no full sets here, just cute nail art and an innate sense of calm. We also fancy trying their Icelandic body treatment, but that’s another article.
Based in Sea Containers (as in the hotel in Southbank, not the ones used for shipping), Agua is a spa foremost, but its nail treatments are something to behold. Whether your nails can only be described as ‘damaged’ or you just want your chosen colour to have some longevity, there’s a manicure for you. And all include an element of aromatherapy and breathwork.
The manicures and pedicures at Cowshed are wonderful, but it’s the chairs that make them a real luxury. You can get either done Dry if there’s somewhere you need to be, if not: always go for the Ultimate. Why deny yourself an accompanying massage unnecessarily?
Margaret Dabbs is probably the safest place for your hands and feet in London (and any city throughout the world where it has a clinic). Their Medical Pedicure, performed by a podiatrist, is probably the most iconic treatment, but their Supreme Manicure features a scrub, anti-aging serum, massage and polish. In an ideal world, you will get both.
If you want extravagant nails that may well be classed as offensive weapons, make an appointment with the legendary Pang Pang (though she does simpler stuff just as well). Based at her home in Croydon, a trip here might prove a bit of a pilgrimage for some, but at least there’s free parking!
Townhouse redefines the nail salon experience for the best. Whether you want a quick treatment or to languish with some prosecco, they can accommodate. Nail art is selected from a ‘Lookbook’ of carefully curated designs, which somehow makes the process even more exciting.
Another one for South Londoners (except this time in a more westerly direction), Linnæn specialise in a lot more than just nail treatments, but nail treatments this good deserve their own platform. If your nails have been subject to prolonged use of gel or acrylics, the Rehab treatment will be just what they need.
If you’re the type of person to get blow dries and updos, you probably also get manicures – so why not do it all at once? Especially if it’s somewhere you can also order prosecco by the bottle, like Duck & Dry.
Like manicures? Like coffee? Then you’ll love Rachel’s in Central London. They offer a full range of nail treatments, but we’re particularly enamoured with anything involving their SNS healthy dipping powder.
Founded by the inimitable session manicurist Ama Quashie, AMA is a nail salon based in Brixton that pays homage to the natural nail in the most fabulous of ways.