Yes, it’s true. As you know from my previous post about gel manicures, I am a huge fan. I’ve gotten a few gel glitter gradations from various nail salons, but I am becoming more and more convinced that Sakura Nail and Spa in the East Village is the place for me. They are artistes! Nail magicians! Every time I go in there I feel like I am surrounded by my totally cool manicure-obsessed Japanese family. They just, you know, *get* me.
A couple of weeks ago I wanted to get a manicure that would last through my holiday travels to the west coast and through new year’s eve. Festive, but multi-purpose. After MUCH deliberation I decided on a pretty pinkish-red calgel with light glitter topped by diagonal stripes of multi-size gold and silver paillettes, or “holograms” as they are called at Sakura. It turns out my subconscious directed me to get a manicure inspired by the same image we used as inspiration for our new year’s eve party!
I know PA Nina, PA Melissa, and several other PA ladies are talented at at-home manicures, but I just don’t have the skills to do it. Plus, I took the above picture a full two weeks after getting this manicure and it still looks pretty perfect. A tiny bit of nail growth but nary a chip in sight.
I’ve been to Sakura quite a few times now, but here are the things I wish I’d known before going to Nail Spa Sakura for the first time:
– You have to call and make an appointment several days to a week in advance. Be prepared to tell them if you want solid color, gradation, french manicure, or nail art (and on how many nails with nail art) when you call. Saying you want nail art on all fingers will get you the biggest block of time.
– Your basic gel manicure will take just under an hour, while glitter and solid gradations and most nail art can take up to two hours.
– Go early and flip through Japanese nail magazines like Nail Venus to get some ideas for what you want. Your mind will be blown by the array of possibilities.
– Flip through the magazines again when you are done to give yourself an idea of what you might want to get next time. This will help you avoid massive manicure anxiety next time you go. It’s hard to choose when you can get ANYTHING in the world on your fingernails.
– Be prepared for people to stop you on the train, at work, and everywhere else you go so that they can ask you where you got that amazing manicure done. These conversations can last a very long time.
– In my experience, Calgel is really the way to go. OPI’s Axxium, Gelish, and CND just don’t cut it. Good thing Sakura specializes in Calgel.
– If you are organized enough to keep track of these sorts of things, referring new clients to Sakura can get you 15% off your next manicure. They also have a rewards program. I am not this organized.
Solid Calgel manicures start at $40. Glitter gradations and french manicures are $60. Nail art starts at around $3 per nail. Custom polish color adds another $5. The above manicure was $60. Sakura was the first to introduce Calgel to NYC, and they remain the pros. It’s a nice, almost spa-like experience with hot or cold tea and a nice ambiance. They do have other spa services, but I have yet to try them.
Yes, $60 is a lot to spend on your nails. But, it looks amazing and lasts three or four weeks! Also, it caused my 92 year-old grandfather to ask me if my nails were “gold plated.” The answer is YES, Grandpa, yes they are.
Nail and Spa Sakura has two locations:
35 East 1st Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue (212) 387-9161
1079 2nd Avenue between 88th and 89th Street (212) 722-1334
We plan to review several other nail salons specializing in Calgel in New York City so that Power Animals can be your Calgel fancy Japanese nail art and gel manicure resource!