Amazing Nail Art! The 5 Best Spots To Score Fun Fingertips

Quietly, organically, girls all over the world started talking with their hands. Not sign language—but Lady Gaga, Katy Perry-inspired nail art. From Calgel (a hardened shellac that prevents chipping) to MINX manicures, having single-hued nails is a thing of the past, no matter if you love inch-long extensions or are just trying to grow out your tips. But trusting an artist to get your vision just right can be tricky, so here are our top-five New York nail salons for turning your hands into one-of-a-kind works of art.
Click through to see five spots to get nailed!
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Don’t have the time or the brain space to come up with a perfect design? Try MINX. For relaxing, stick-on treatments (think temporary tattoos for your nails), we love Sakura. The Calgel queens at these UES and LES salons can add tips, colors, and MINX applications to your mani, and all in a serene spa environment. Our favorite is an animal-print pattern with a gel treatment (to keep things solid and un-chippable), with a couple of crystals affixed onto the ring finger. Calgel manicure, $40. Nail art and glitter, between $5-$30 more.
35 East 1st Street (between 1st and 2nd avenues); 212-387-9161.
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Maybe the "bling" of nail art doesn’t appeal to you, and you just want something new and unusual? Artists and creative types head to Tomahawk, a Bushwick salon where nail maven Miss Fleury takes your inspiration and turns your nails into her canvas. Though she’s available by appointment only, she’ll work with you to get just the look you want. Prices start at $35. 10 Porter Avenue (between Thames street and Flushing avenue); Brooklyn; 646-399-6873.
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See any hip, young thing with wicked nails and ask her where she got 'em did, and she'll probably tell you Valley. Not only is Valley a Refinery29 staple, but the adorable Nolita location and vintage store inside will make you feel right at home. "Valgel," the Valley Calgel, is a must for solid colors, but all of the techs are proficient with a teeny-tiny brush and some glitter, too. Be sure to know what you want; in a place as popular as this, time is a commodity. Manicures start at $22 with free nail art (gems/glitter cost more), "Valgel" manicures, $45-$65.
198 Elizabeth Street (between Price and Spring streets); 212-274-8985.
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Hello Beautiful

Anyone who's a fan of Patricia Fields' over-the-top vampiness will love the nails at Hello Beautiful. Home to plenty of Fields' alums, this Williamsburg outpost likes big, bold fingers and clients swear by nail mistress Naomi. As long as you don’t mind the across-the-bridge trek, this may be your best bet for weird and wild (think eyeballs or pointed tips). Nail art, $50+ (depends on service).
218 Bedford Avenue (at North 5th street); 718-387-4732.
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While you won't get 3-D hearts or pirate skulls at Shizuka (which doesn't do acrylic, but prides itself on its great gel treatment), nail adventurers can certainly bling out their paws with Swarovski crystals and designs. The best part about this Midtown space is that, for an extra $20, you can add a TDF massage. Gel manicure, $50. Crystal manicure, $45.
7 West 51st Street, 6th Floor (between 5th and 6th avenues ); 212-644-7400.