The Best Of New York Nail Salons

We don’t mean to brag, but New York City is the birthplace of a very important institution: the nail salon. Back in 1878, one particularly entrepreneurial woman opened Mrs. Pray's Manicure, the country’s first parlor for the treatment, filing, and buffing of nails. (Actual lacquer, as we know it, wasn’t invented for a few more decades.)

These days, our fair city is home to more than a thousand nail salons. And while we can appreciate giving ourselves a good DIY mani while binge-watching OITNB, let’s be honest: Nail care is one beauty ritual that we’re more than happy to outsource.

So, we’ve handpicked 26 of the city’s absolute best places for a manicure/pedicure, from nail-art galleries to affordable spots that won’t make you fear a staph infection. (Always a plus, in our book.) Read on for the polish palaces we swear by — and be sure to let us know about your go-tos, too.

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Sundays Nail Studio

Juxtaposing the industrial architecture of New York, this Flatiron nail studio brings a down-to-earth vibe to the typical NYC salon. Somewhere between Southern California and Scandinavian style, the hidden gem is a minimalist's oasis — and not just because of the earthy interior design.

Founder Amy Ling Lin was determined to create a studio that provided safer nail care for clients without all the frills, but packed with plenty of the wellness benefits. Besides her own nail polish line (called Sundays, of course) — which is non-toxic, cruelty free, and vegan — Lin's salon also offers guided meditation manicures for anyone looking for some R&R from the busy city.

Sundays Nail Studio, 51 E. 25th St.; 646-998-5711.
Ever wish you could grab a cappuccino to sip on during your mani? Well, now you can at the brand-new space called Chillhouse. With an extensive service menu and an Instagram-worthy aesthetic, this new kid on the block has it all — with a dash of sugar and espresso shot on the side.

Chillhouse, 149 Essex Street; 646.678.3501.
Photo: Via @bisou.ny/Instagram.
Looking for a one-of-a-kind nail art experience? Make an appointment at Soho's Bisou. It's the new nail art haven, cranking out original designs you haven't seen all over Instagram.

Bisou Nail Art Atelier, 6 Spring Street; 347-330-3477.
RounGe NYC
If you've ever had a desire for a bedazzled manicure, RounGe NYC won't disappoint. The nail salon imports techniques, styles, and equipment directly from Japan and employs a team of skilled artists. But be warned: One manicure can take upwards of three hours. In this video, beauty writer Mi-Anne gets a Sailor-Moon inspired set.

RounGe NYC, 201 E 23rd Street; 646-707-3504.
Photo: Via @marienails/Instagram.
Marie Nails
The artists here make sure every manicure is photo-worthy and perfect down to the last detail, but we suggest booking an appointment far in advance, because it seems the secret is out.

Marie Nails, 155 Prince Street; 646-370-4170.
Photo: Courtesy of NAIL+SPA Sakura.
Sisters Yumiko and Fumiko Kano have a long history of successful nail salons. The duo owned three spots in Japan before launching stateside, where they opened their first spa on the Upper East Side in 2007. Next came their serene Lower East Side haunt, which boasts a relaxing, sophisticated interior and a meticulous staff.

Nail + Spa Sakura, 35 East 1st Street (between First and Second avenues); 212-387-9161.
Photo: Courtesy of Red Door Salon & Spa.
The Red Door Salon & Spa
We love treating ourselves to luxurious facials and massages here, but we can't forget they also offer manicures and pedicures. We recommend the Olive Oil Manicure to prep for winter's drying effects.

The Red Door Salon & Spa 663 Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street; (212) 546-0200.
Photo: Courtesy of Yelp.
Delacqua Salon
It's not cheap, but if you're looking for indulgence, this Brooklyn salon, which resembles a hipster tattoo parlor in the Victorian era, is your spot. One of our favorite services is the non-acrylic manicure using LNC gel, with some add-on 3-D nail art for drama.

Delacqua Salon and Spa 2027 86th Street (between Bay 26th and Bay 25th Streets); 718-266-1233
Photo: Courtesy Of Fix Beauty Bar.
Fix Beauty Bar
Fix Beauty Bar's founders created their salon to foster a community of beauty-obsessed women — the kind who want to get blowout and a mani in one go. Can't make it in during the 9 to 5? No problem. You can email to schedule off-hour appointments.

Fix Beauty Bar, 847 Lexington Avenue, 2nd floor (between East 64th & 65th Street); 212-744-0800
Photo: Courtesy of Sweet Lily.
Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa
Sweet Lily's nail philosophy is consciousness. The spa actively avoids the use of harsh chemicals, instead opting for safe, natural, yet still effective products. All of the hand and foot exfoliants are made on site, and the spa exclusively uses Zoya polishes, which are free of formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, or camphor. Treat yourself both vanity-wise and health-wise.

Sweet Lily Natural Nail Spa, 222 West Broadway (between White and Franklin streets); 212-925-5441.
Photographed by Tracy Wang.
Marie Nails
A nail empire in the making, this Tokyo-based nail studio has locations in Los Angeles, Korea, Japan, and — lucky for us — Manhattan. Although its selection of regular polishes is somewhat limited, Marie Nails excels when it comes to Calgel. Head to the no frills basement studio, where nail techs will meticulously create solid colors, intricate designs, and everything in-between.

Marie Nails, 166 Elizabeth Street (between Spring and Kenmare streets); 646-912-9655.
Photo: Courtesy of Jin Soon Natural Hand & Food Salon.
Jin Soon Natural Hand & Foot Salon
Nail artist Jin Soon is a mainstay backstage at Fashion Week, where she consistently whips up gorgeous nail looks that quickly become trends. But her salon, of which there are multiple locations across NYC, is definitely a more low-key experience. The spot is known for its luxe add-ons, like a flower-petal foot soak, to give you a seriously relaxing spa experience.

Jin Soon Natural Hand & Foot Salon, multiple locations.
Photo: Courtesy of Hortus Nailworks.
Hortūs Nailworks
An appointment for one of this LES newcomer's (formerly, Lushlife Nailworks) totally indulgent and blissfully affordable manicure or pedicure treatments will have you feeling like you just came back from one of those spa retreats Gisele gets to take. Listen to smooth jazz, sip cocktails during Hortūs Happy Hour (11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Wednesday), and talk it out with Jane, the owner, who might be one of the sweetest people we know.

Hortūs Nailworks, 210 Forsyth Street (between Stanton and East Houston); 917-475-1558.
Photo: Courtesy of the Nail Boutique.
The Nail Boutique
Dying to try acrylic but never had the guts? The Nail Boutique has the liquid courage you need — we mean nail polish, of course. This boutique spa manages to be glitzy without forsaking cleanliness or professionalism. Their chief mission: to make you feel FABULOUS.

The Nail Boutique, Multiple Locations.
Photo: Courtesy of Essie Flagship Salon.
Essie Flagship Salon
Situated inside Samuel Shriqui is nail legend Essie Weingarten's first-ever salon. Choose from over 300 of the brand's iconic shades (everything from Ballet Slippers to Mint Candy Apple) and sink into one of the oversized, lush leather chairs, which are just as colorful as the polish itself. It's a designer home for a household beauty name.

Essie Flagship Salon, 35 East 65th Street (between Madison and Park); 212-472-6805.
Photo: Courtesy of Bed Of Nails.
Bed Of Nails
Harlem’s newest nail salon is arguably the neighborhood’s most posh; owner Candice Idehen, who’s tended to models’ nails at global fashion weeks, has stocked her spot with premium lacquers from the likes of Chanel, Deborah Lippmann, Tom Ford, and essie. When she’s not on set for magazines such as Bazaar and Vogue, Idehen still takes appointments at her salon. It might not be a bad idea to become one of her regulars before word gets out.

Bed of Nails, 2272 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (between West 133rd and West 134th); 212-694-2200.
Photo: Courtesy of Paintbox.
So, maybe you’re interested in nail art, but you don’t want your thumbnails to have 3D dinosaurs playing ping-pong while a Precious Moments kitten pounces on your pinky. That’s where Paintbox comes in. The spacious studio features a menu of chic seasonal designs — for summer, think negative-space manicures in hypersaturated hues — all dreamed up by celebrity manicurist Julie Kandalec. A host of smart touches (complimentary beverages, iPhone charging stations) has quickly placed this newcomer among the city’s best beautifiers.

Paintbox, 17 Crosby Street (between Grand and Howard); 212-219-2412.
Photo: Courtesy of Primp & Polish.
Primp & Polish
No, this isn’t the cheapest spot in Brooklyn, and we’re not crazy about having to pay $4 more for Dior or Chanel lacquer. But, we’re letting that go because of these three words: outdoor pedicure garden. There, you and a gaggle of your best buds can stretch out while your feet are massaged, your hangnails are removed, and your toenails are painted to a glossy shine. No need to worry about inclement weather, either — the patio is covered, so your crew can get groomed come rain, shine, or whatever crazy stuff Mother Nature throws at us next.

Primp & Polish, 172 Bedford Avenue (between North 7th and North 8th), Brooklyn; 718-384-3555.
Photo: Courtesy of Vanity Projects/Jessica Bloom.
Vanity Projects
It’s not a gallery, exactly, yet this space is so much more than a nail salon. Here, founder Rita de Alencar Pinto fuses two of her professional interests — fine-art curation and nail art — into a high-concept mani/pedi studio. Video-art installations play on the walls, while the “residency” calendar features a rotating roster of well-known nail artists such as Masako Sasaki and Jessica Washick.

Vanity Projects, 99 Chrystie Street, 2F (between Grand and Hester); 646-410-2928.

[Editor's Note: According to de Alencar Pinto, Vanity Projects' guest artists are all part-time employees and paid on "a very handsome" commission structure.]
Photo: Courtesy of Valley Nails.
Valley Nails
Dream it up, and chances are good that Valley can make it happen on your nails. Since 2006, this downtown salon has been decorating digits with everything from Degas to Warhol, The Hunger Games to Grumpy Cat — and, if you bring in an inspiration photo, your manicurist will translate it to your nails. On a budget? Each manicure comes with a complimentary design on one or two accent nails, so nobody has to go without a little razzle-dazzle.

Valley Nails, 198 Elizabeth St. (between Prince and Spring); 212-274-8985.
Photo: Courtesy of Tenoverten.
Better show up 10 minutes early for your mani/pedi — you’ll want the extra time to pore over Tenoverten’s massive selection of polish colors. Along with its excellent house brand of five-free lacquers, the sunny salon has the latest hues from the likes of RGB, NARS, essie, and Dior. As for the services themselves, the cheerful technicians and their obsession with cleanliness are top-notch. Color us impressed.

Tenoverten, 132 West Houston (between Macdougal and Sullivan); 917-475-1000.
Photo: Courtesy of J. Sisters.
J. Sisters
You may have heard of J. Sisters as the "pioneers of Brazilian bikini waxing in the United States." Their expertise goes far beyond the panty-line, however; they approach mani/pedis the way detectives tackle crime scenes, and this is no country for callouses and hang nails. Seriously, these Brazilian beauticians will handle your New York nails, nasty or not.

J. Sisters, 41 West 57th Street (between 5th and 6th); 212- 750-2485.
Photo: Courtesy of Van Court Studio.
Van Court Studio
Looking for something natural and chic downtown? NYC's latest non-toxic spa is for you. All of Van Court's polish options are 5-, 7-, or 9-free (think: LVX, Floss Gloss, Deborah Lippmann, and more) and its creams and oils are natural and often organic. Did we mention that you can book online? We're sold.

Van Court Studio, 90 Water St. (near Gouverneur Lane); book online.
Photo: Courtesy ofr Akiko Nails.
Akiko Nails
Into intricate nail art? Look no further than this LES nail shop. Here, nail artists borrow Japanese techniques to create, well, anything you want. Not feeling so inspired? No problem, you can check out the gallery here or simply brainstorm with your technician, as the shop specializes in hundreds of designs.

Akiko Nails, 137 Rivington St. (near Norfolk St.); 646-841-6721.
Local Honey
This Brooklyn salon does it all — nails, lash extensions, brows, waxing, and more — making it a one-stop shop for all things beauty in Bushwick. Your options are unlimited, from nail art to a "party nail" to accent your paint job to a simple "quicky" manicure or pedicure. Bonus? The prices are super competitive. Translation: Go!

Local Honey, 53 Irving Ave. (at Troutman St.); 347-404-6139.
Pau Hana
If you still think of everything south of Williamsburg as a no man's land, then avail yourself of this teeny-tiny nail salon in one of Brooklyn's most charming neighborhoods. The Hawaiian-themed decor is kitschy in the best way, and they have numerous organic polish options on offer, as well as your Essie and OPI favorites. Just be sure to book a chair well in advance — walk-ins are accepted, but the seats fill up fast.

Pau Hana, 235 Court St. (at Baltic St.); 347-223-4224.

If you're a Manhattanite, trekking to Brooklyn might not seem like a journey worth the travel — except maybe for ph7. The tiny salon is decked out in minimal decor, packed with non-toxic nail polish from floor to ceiling, and stocked with organic herbal tea. The salon boasts a mission statement that includes eco-friendly services, organic essential oil hand massages, and handcrafted wood furniture that looks like something Aidan Shaw made on SATC — with low-key vibes to match. A gel manicure won't cost you more than $45 and walk-ins are totally okay (although appointments are appreciated).

ph7, 227 Grand St. (between Driggs and Roebling); 718-218-8586
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