Friday, March 10, 2006


Nothing cheers me up like a professional manicure and pedicure. I don't care if I sound like an airhead. It's a relatively low-cost, quick, boyfriendless, and no-effort way to feel pretty and girly. And sometimes this is exactly what a girl needs.

Now, for the benefit of those who followed a Google trail here, let me begin by sharing where to get the best manicure (or pedicure, for that matter) in London. It's called the Beauty Lounge and it's right on Percy Street in Fitzrovia. They have a website. Check it, because you must make a reservation. It's quiet, personal, cute, clean, and not hideously overpriced like Bliss in South Ken (which always makes me feel like I'm being herded through a Willy Wonka-meets-Virgin Atlantic factory line of primping).

Frances is the most meticulous beautician I know. I've gotten picture-perfect manicures and pedicures from this woman that lasted until the nails started growing out. If you're the indecisive type, ask her what colour she recommends; you can trust that she will achieve exactly the look you were going for. For instance, I'm not big on French Manicures. The unnaturally fluorescent-white tips bordering the foie gras- beige nail bed never appealed to me. Having said that, however, I do like to get French Manicures when I am first trying out a new nailist, because I find it's a good way to see how good she is.

I explained my French Manicure trepidation to Frances, and looked the other way while I let her do her thing. The results were pure genius. She used a healthy, natural-looking pink for the entire nail, did the stark white tip, and then did one more coat of the pretty, translucent, pink on top of the white line to temper it. I got compliments on my manicure for a full 2 weeks. So if you're looking to get a good manicure at a reasonable (by London standards anyway) cost, go and see Frances. Tell her Henrietta sent you (to which you'll probably just get a blank look).

Anyway, the reason I'm going on and on about nails is that I had an Artist Date at the overrated Nail Bar the other day at Melsa in Jiyugaoka. In Japan, you put "from N.Y." on anything and it sells like crazy. I don't understand what part of Nail Bar, exactly, is "from N.Y.". My experience was punctuated with rude staff, high prices, and low skill. As far as I know, New York isn't characterized by crappy nail salons. But at McNail Bar (somehow it was successful enough to be franchised - there are other branches in Ebisu and Futako Tamagawa, among other locales), crappy is what you get.

The girl who was doing my nails grilled me on my personal life like it was an interrogation/torture scene right out of 24, while sporadically poking me with her own sharp, plastic talons. "Where do you work? poke What do you do? poke Where do you live? poke poke Why are you getting your nails done? Do you always walk around with a bottle of nail polish? poke Do you always wear this colour? etc. etc." JEEEZUS. I had brought my own nail polish, a beautiful plummy wine I picked up at Nars a few weeks ago. She asked me if I was quite sure I wanted that on my nails. Repeatedly. Just because in Japan, you follow the trend. And the trend right now is long, plastic, pointy, pink, airbrushed nails with rhinestones and butterflies and flowers. You know, Mariah Carey nails. Not my thing, not at all.

In the end, the poking, interrogation, and just standard nail-painting cost me 3,500 yen (that's about 32 USD). No massage, no pushing back of cuticles. The nail on my left ring finger looked crooked (she had missed a sizable sliver of nail on one side). When I pointed this out, she said it was because my nail is crooked. (It's not.) My manicure hadn't even dried and it already looked 3 days old.

Anyone know of a good nail place in Tokyo? I don't think I can wait for my 4 annual trips abroad to get a half-decent manicure.


Blogger Yu-Ching said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:27 AM  
Blogger Yu-Ching said...


It's not exactly cheap but I like it here: Longleage . It's in Hiroo. Great service, great staffs. I've been going there for years now =)

(Sorry, I had to delete my first comment because I messed the URL up)

10:29 AM  
Blogger e! said...

Girl! You are such a diva!
The place looks awesome, but maybe a tad bit overpriced for me... :(

3:52 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I have been to this place:
It's quite pricey but amazing, we went to Shiodome one. The Omatesando is very very popular. I love their nail polish and have yet to find one as good and as reasonable in London!!

9:55 PM  

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