Los Angeles is brimming with manicure devotees, so to keep up with the city’s heavy polish-addict traffic, run-of-the-mill "chop-shop"-style nail salons have set up on nearly every corner. You know what we're talking about: walk-in storefronts that charge less than takeout lunch for a paint job.
But thanks to
The New York Times' groundbreaking article " The Price of Nice Nails," it's becoming very clear that picking a place for a color change and cuticle care requires more thought than just contemplating location and price.
Fear not. To help you navigate the endless number of nail shops in our city, we've put together this handy-dandy guide. We’ve vetted all of these salons to ensure safety, cleanliness, and fair legal wages for manicurists. That is, they all pay their workers (at least) minimum wage and overtime, keep records of hours worked, don't require a fee for a worker to become an employee, and maintain standards of cleanliness required by current health regulations.
Use this guide as your go-to resource for nail shops that not only offer a killer manicure, but also are leading the way to create better work environments for the individuals delivering the perfect polish job.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF OLIVE & JUNE.
Olive And June One of the chicest spots in the city, this calming, lounge-like setup was designed by the minds behind local indie boutique TenOverSix. While there are numerous treatments to choose from, we suggest you start with the "Margot," an all-organic manicure that uses local products. Fun fact: The name of the shop has sentimental roots. It's based on the names of owner Sarah Gibson Tuttle’s maternal great-grandmother and grandmother, respectively. Olive and June, 430 North Canon Drive (near Brighton Way); 310-247-0500.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF Color Camp.
Color Camp This brand-new nail bar isn't like the rest: It specializes in rad nail art set in gels or "super gels," a potted, Japanese-style gel that lasts... and lasts and lasts. You won't find a pedicure bowl in this shop — they only work on your fingers — but you will find an IG-ready atmosphere that turns out trendy art in a truly meticulous fashion. Yes, the artists can create anything your heart desires, but you're also welcome to pick from the shop's seasonal menu of options. Color Camp, 7607 Beverly Blvd; (323) 424-3534.
Photo: Jess Isaac Photography for Base Coat Nail Salon.
Base Coat Nail Salon Sure, this Arts District shop is right in the center of one of the coolest neighborhoods in L.A. right now — and was practically made for picture perfect Instagrams — but it's the results that will keep you coming back. Expect small, luxe touches like modern nail art, 8-free polish, 10-free gel (!), and steam gel removal. (And yes, the latter actually works!) Spoiler alert: The brand is opening on Fairfax this fall, too! Base Coat Nail Salon, 704 Mateo St, (213) 935-8330
PHOTO: COURTESY OF NAIL BAR.
Nail Bar Want to veg out while you're being pampered? This crisp, all-white space at the Beverly Wilshire is the location where Pretty Woman was filmed, so it's no surprise they play the flick on repeat for spa guests. Once you get comfy, go for the salon’s signature manicure, "The Classic," which includes a lush, vanilla-almond soak. Or select "The Deluxe," which features a coconut-and-crushed-pearl exfoliation, a paraffin hand treatment, and a stress-reducing massage. Nail Bar at the Beverly Wilshire, 9500 Wilshire Boulevard (at South El Camino Drive); 310-275-5200.
Bellacures Settle into a plush chair and get ready for a serious spoiling session. Bellacures is known for top-notch customer service, and with multiple outposts throughout L.A. (and a mini-me-friendly Kid-i-cure to boot), it might just be one of the most convenient options citywide. Stop by the OG Robertson location for a "Make Time Stop" anti-aging mani, complete with an organic sugar scrub and witch-hazel astringent toner, topped with an anti-aging serum and cream. Bellacures, multiple locations.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF CHI NAIL BAR.
Chi Nail Bar This Zen-like boutique spa is meticulous about nail art, with an emphasis on organic and natural Chinese remedies. To wit: Treatments include things like a jade-and-ginseng scrub, soy-paraffin masque, and chakra-balancing jade-stone massage. As befits the 90210 location, standout lacquer brands are well represented: Tom Ford, Chanel, and Nars line the shelves. Chi Nail Bar, 9390 Little Santa Monica Boulevard (near North Canon Drive); 310-858-8803.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF BLISS SPA.
Bliss Spa At The W Hotel Just off the Hollywood Walk of Fame, this spa delivers on the promise of a perfect 10. Indulge in a handful of noteworthy pedicures like the "Double Choc Pedicure," which smothers your paws in — you guessed it — a hot chocolate-milk soak. Or beat the city heat with a "Cold Feet Pedicure," a mint-infused treatment that alternates cold and hot therapies to soothe aches and pains. Once you’ve prepped your soles, meander to the rooftop pool for a little R&R before you go. Bliss Spa at the W Hotel, 6250 Hollywood Boulevard (at Argyle Avenue); 323-798-1300.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF CÔTE.
Côte With more than 100 shades of its own polish to choose from, this beach-cottage-inspired nail boutique is easy to love. In keeping with the theme, you have the option to have your digits painted al fresco on the outdoor patio, if the weather permits. Stock up on your favorite colors and take part in the salon’s recycling program: Return used nail-polish bottles and receive 10% off a new one. Côte, 11714 San Vicente Boulevard (near South Barrington Avenue); 310-820-0906.
PHOTO: COURTESY OF Q SALON.
Q Salon With more than 10 signature "Mani-Qs" and "Pedi-Qs" to choose from, you can jazz up unassuming digits with a crystallized, glittery "Rock Star" gel mani or soothe dry skin with a "Hot Cream Moisture" treatment. Or enhance your experience with the crème de la crème: the "Four Seasons," which features scented lotions and oils tailored to the weather and time of year. Q Salon, 9040 Burton Way (near North Doheny Drive); 310-247-1901.
Alchemie Spa Skin care rivals nail care at this Santa Monica salon, with its extensive, holistic menu that includes hydra-facials and infrared sauna treatments. The oft-requested "luxe" mani and pedi comes with a standard soak/cut/file combo, plus an energizing mint mask. Bonus: If your polish chips before three days have passed (or a week for gels), the Alchemie artists will touch it up for free. Alchemie Spa, 2021 Main Street (at Bicknell Avenue); 310-310-8880.
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