With the rise of coffin-shaped acrylics, funky 90s patterns, and white tips also comes the dire need to find the best salon in New York that can accommodate these trends. But oftentimes in the city, “best” is often associated with “expensive.” Unless you claim ownership over a quaint beauty salon in Alphabet City with no advertising that can do a manicure for $10, you’re likely left to choose from the places that pay celebrities to advertise for on their Instagram stories. Kylie Jenner’s gemmed, French set may look stunning on Pinterest, but did it cost $100 or more? Were conditions actually sanitary? Did the receptionist sneer at your sweatpants? This is the TRUTH about four celebrity nail salons in New York City: tested by me, so that you didn’t have to.
1. Color Nails Bar NYC
Even if the smiley face nail trend isn’t exactly to your taste, no one can deny that Color Nails Bar’s eye-catching bright colors and patterns are trendy AF. Natalie Wojo, Instagram fashion aficionado, and @bridget’s bestie Lele Keller both adore this salon, sporting anywhere from bright blue artistic outlines, to pink and purple checkerboards. The positives? It’s quicker than most places, and my technician was super friendly. Regarding sanitation, I didn’t exactly see a machine like they use at my regular salon, but of course, I observed the technicians all cleaning their tools regularly with a solution. It’s not too elegant interior-wise, in my opinion, but the best part about Color Nails Bar is the price - only around $18 for a manicure. If you love designs and need something last minute for an event or vacation that won’t destroy your wallet, this is the salon for you.
Prices available upon request.
I would describe Glosslab as the ultimate celebrity nail salons for a few reasons, because not only is it frequented by Summer House star Paige Desorbo and influencer jewelry designer Stephanie Gottlieb, but also boasts A-list celebrities' faces plastered all over the physical walls. First impression? Chic and clean. The receptionist? Hilarious and kind. They’re 100% no bullshit about latecomers, however; if you’re more than ten minutes late, your technician will have to cut something short (the person behind me in line learned this the hard way). Known for their adorable line designs on natural nails only, Glosslab technicians are color theory experts. They gave each of my stubby nails individual, precise attention, and finished it all off with a (very) quick-drying nail polish. I loved the final product, but loved the semi-low price most of all. And did I mention? Their membership plan is unlimited.
If you’re in with an influencer circle in New York City, there’s no way you haven’t heard of Chillhouse. With VIPs like city influencer Rae Hersey and artist/designer Katra Awad as Chillhouse devotees, there’s no secret that the salon’s founder Cindy Ramirez-Fulton would even classify as a public figure herself. What I love most about Chillhouse is their devotion to some well-deserved RR&R, which let’s be honest, New Yorkers require most. Press-on “chill tips,” a phrase coined by the salon, are my purchase of choice ($16). If you would classify yourself as a stress ball this week, I would highly recommend a huge dose of Chillhouse. One of my personal faves.
4. Paintbox Nails
Let’s bring out the big guns. Located on the Upper East Side, Paintbox Nails is truly home to an “influencers in the wild” scenario, except it seems as though all their customers actually dress for the paparazzi. We all know Alexis Mueller, fashion expert; Anna Page, style and interior queen; and The Fashion Guitar’s Charlotte Groeneveld, and they all love Paintbox. Even though the prices are a little steep, I will say you do pay for what you get. I’ve never received anything other than top-notch service here, and while I do get the occasional judgy glance once in a while, my nails always look absolutely fabulous afterwards.
Manicure design: $72
Gel design: $75