I confess, I am a nail salon snob. I can go to any salon for a hair cut (only because I mostly just get a quick trim), but not for mani and pedi. I used to try new places once in a while. I’ve tried the likes of Nail Salon, Tips and Toes, The Spa in Greenbelt (it was terrible!), but now, I just stick to my top 2.

Piandre, where I go for all my beauty needs, is my second pick for nail care. Here’s why I love Piandre’s mani and pedi:

It’s convenient since it is my one stop beauty salon and when I get a mani/pedi, it’s usually paired with other services.
The mani/pedi lady, any one of them, is always gentle. I’ve never been cut or hurt ever (my cuticles are very sensitive). They don’t scrape the top layer of my nails like most nail salon therapists do! I hate that!
I like the foot soak, and quick massage that goes with the mani-pedi service.
They have a great color selection, and use high quality nail polish (Essie) that lasts a long time.
They have Gelish nail system for when I need an extra sturdy polish, like when I’m going on a trip. It’s more expensive and takes long to apply, but worth it. They never chip!
I have an option to use a wooden tool (the one they use to push the cuticles). I prefer that over the steel one for my hands.
I can take photos of my nails while they’re being worked on, and any time during the entire process.
They offer water, iced tea, coffee or hot tea to clients. If you get the hot drinks, you get cookies as well. :)

The downside:

The ambience is more of a salon than a spa. It’s a bit busy specially during after office hours. But it’s still great because they have a spacious salon.
Their nail polish selection isn’t for sale, so I can’t buy colors that I like. Not sure if they sterilize the tools.

My top pick for nail care is Dashing Diva. Here’s why:

The moment I step into their small space, I feel like a Diva. Seriously, they have a well-thought out design that makes me feel so girly-girly and so pampered. Definitely feels more like a spa than a salon.
They have a huge selection of colors, and they sell nail polish so I can buy the polish that I like. I like to buy my favorite colors so I can do my own mani-pedi at home, and also for touch ups when the color has chipped.
They give free cosmopolitan drink on Thursdays for girl friends (though you can still avail even if you go solo). Ok, so I’ve never availed of this, because I never go on Thursdays, because that is coding day! But still, I think it’s a nice touch.
They offer clients free iced tea, water or hot tea any time, any day.
Have an option on services – Basic Mani/Pedi, Spoiled Diva, and All-Out Diva, depending on your budget and need. Basic is just that, basic manicure and/or pedicure, with foot soak, a little scrubbing and massage. Spoiled Diva adds a foot scrub in the process, while All-Out Diva has a paraffin dip.
They offer fancy nail art for those moments when you just want to be fun and playful. I’ve tried it once! I will try it again.
They have fake nails that you can use if your nail is short and you need long nails, like for an event. I’ve tried it once, when my nail on one toe got chipped and I was going on a trip and wanted nice polish on perfectly square nails. So cool!
Their therapists (or whatever they are called) are the gentlest. They never hurry, so I am not worried that they will cut me. They don’t scrape the top layer of my nails like most nail salon therapists do! Like I said above, this is important to me.
I have an option to use a wooden tool (the one they use to push the cuticles). I prefer that over the steel one for my hands.
They sterilize and seal their tools. As each client comes in, they pull out a sealed pack of sanitized tools. On top of that, they keep a personal kit of foot scrub and nail file. I purchased my kit about two years ago, so every time I go there, I just tell them I have a kit and they pull it out to be used only for me. This for me is what sets them apart from other nail salons. I interviewed people with HIV for my college thesis and that made me paranoid about using tools that can potentially wound you.

The downside:

Their nail polish tends to chip or peel off after just a few days. Though I noticed, their polish seems to be more gentle, too, in that there are no stains on the nail and it’s not difficult to take them off when I want to change polish or just give my nails a breather.
Taking photos is not allowed! I discreetly did so and the therapist let me, but warned me that if the guard sees me, he’ll tell me off. I have no idea why they don’t like having photos taken there. I just want to blog about it.
Their space, though very aesthetically pleasing, is a bit small, specially the one in Rockwell.

There you have it, my top two nail salons. I may still try a few salons IF I get good feedback. One thing’s for sure, I won’t try a salon I have not heard of before. I have yet to try Nail Tropics in Greenbelt 5 as I heard they are also quite good. I’m skeptical though since I’ve been disappointed many times. Just recently, I tried one which looked posh on the outside, but when the therapist started pushing my cuticles and scraping my nails, I almost ran out of there! The nail polish colors are also limited. One good sign of a great nail care experience is when the salon has several shades of red in their selection. Dashing Diva has a huge selection of reds and pinks! Note to self: When trying out a new nail salon, check out the color selection first.

Aside from going to salons, I also like doing my own mani/pedi when I have the time. Because of that, I also like buying polish and other nail care products periodically. My favorite brand of nail care products is Sally Hansen. I love SH’s nail polish, including the base coat, top coat, and the no-acetone polish remover. Recently, I saw SH’s Nail Polish Strips in an imported beauty magazine (at Piandre!) and I went out to check if it’s available locally. It is! So I got a pack. I still have to try it though. I’m giving my nails a week off from polish, but will definitely try it over the long weekend.

What can I say, I love pretty nails!

Written by Alby Laran

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