Nails have never been so high profile and in vogue, all thanks to the tinted talons of celebs like Rihanna, Rita Ora and Kim Kardashian who take to their social media handles regularly to flaunt their jazzily painted finger tips. With the meaning of a basic manicure having been transformed from a simple cut, buff and polish, to the lengthy process of a hand and nail spa, nail art and even nail piercings, women today are flaunting their individuality and fashion savvy through the job they get done on their hands!
RITZ explores the painstaking process of nail art that has rapidly become a booming business in Bengaluru and is quickly catching up across the Deccan with more and more nail bars opening their doors to the hip and happening ladies of the South.
Photographs: Faheem Hussain
How about catching your reflection in your nails? Doesn’t quite sound true? Then try for yourself by giving your nails the ‘chrome’ look. Get a shiny, metallic and reflective finish, do the ‘in’ thing, and be on par with the fashion conscious and those willing to experiment. Or try out the ‘ombre’, where a seasoned nail artist will create a colour gradient on your nails using one family of colours, having the lighter shades blend seamlessly with the darker tones to manifest a smooth pattern. And with parties galore, why not add diamantes or rhinestones to your nails for that extra glitter?
Choose from any shade that you want, or compliment the festive spirit with hues of bright orange, red, maroon, neons, gold, silver and bronze to create funky, fancy patterns on your nails. Whether chrome or ombre, glitter or gold, remember it’s not just about being stylish and making heads turn. It’s also about indulging yourself, relaxing in a soulful ambience with light music playing in the background, experiencing exotic therapies while sipping from a glass of cool beverage and heading out rejuvenated. From corporate women to entrepreneurs, students, young girls, socialites, event managers to hostesses, everyone’s gracing the multiple nail salons. Men though are yet to open up to the world of embossing art on nails. Even the metrosexual ones!
Here is a roundup of Bengaluru’s uber cool nail studios and spas that have been launched just for the contemporary, modish and fashionable woman.
Bodycraft Spa & Salon
A trusted name in the business of beauty in Bengaluru for almost 20 years now, Bodycraft not just provides cutting-edge solutions in styling, skincare, haircare and beauty services, but a complete and extensive nail experience. From gel and acrylic nail extensions, nail art, nail piercing, to miracle shine, which is a transparent, permanent polish protecting nails from UV rays, Bodycraft does it all with élan. Says the founder Manjul Gupta, a protégé of the legendary Shahnaz Hussain, “We have lots of youngsters coming in for various nail services. This is the era of prim and proper nails, at all times and for all occasions and we have products and services to match every season.” She feels that as far as nail art goes, chrome nails are most popular currently, “and of course gel polish. Nail extensions are also very much in demand with many people wanting to have longer and stronger nails.”
The very intriguing ‘nail piercings’ are also in vogue. “Not very popular, though. This involves attaching a tiny piece of jewellery like a ring or a stud to an extended nail by having it pierced,” adds Manjul. To provide a super luxurious experience, Bodycraft recently introduced ‘Cleopatra’s milk treatment’ where your hands or feet get soaked in milk, honey and rose petals to provide utmost relaxation and leave you feeling like the acclaimed Egyptian beauty!
Address: 1/3, Civil Station, Assaye Road, Near Ulsoor Lake, Fraser Town, Bengaluru.
Contact: +91 80 41573044
Bodycraft has other salons located in Koramangala, Sadashivnagar, Whitefield, Indiranagar and Jayanagar.
Polished – The Boutique Nail Studio
One of the newest studios dedicated wholly to hands and feet, Polished has something for everyone. Whether you choose to indulge in nail art or a soothing foot massage or experience therapies that are tailor-made to suit your moods, one thing is clear – the Polished experience will leave you feeling refreshed and revitalized. Cocooned in one of the most happening locations in Bengaluru, Polished brings a range of internationally acclaimed brands such as Essie, Bio Sculpture and Sally Hansen to provide the ultimate luxury experience.
Started by the dynamic young Neela Bopaiah, who believes that being well turned out is the first step towards success, Polished strives to work out magic on your hands and feet, more so on your nails. “Rest assured our services are extremely safe for kids. For the little ones we use the ultra-safe Snails (Safe Nails) range of products,” says Neela. She is witnessing “very high” demand for ombre nails, “with at least 12 people coming in every week. I have even had a five year old girl get ombre done.” Next to ombre in popularity at Polished are chrome or mirror nails, followed by 3D art. “In 3D art, you get to feel the texture as a projection. We do flowers, cupcakes and Pokemon in 3D.”
Address: #1206, 2nd Floor, (Above Maharaja Furniture) “Mannan Arcade”, 100 Ft. Road, Indiranagar, Bengaluru.
Contact: +91 80 49571914
Jean-Claude Biguine Salon and Spa
The renowned French beauty brand, which boasts over 350 outlets in major corners of the world, has established a strong foothold in Bengaluru with super chic salons providing a lavish indulgence located in four strategic locations in the city. Known for its innovative concepts and its celebrated haircare, skincare and makeup services, JCB brings an eclectic range of manicures, pedicures, acrylic, gel and acrygel care and nail art. “We have a wide range of offerings where clients can choose between contemporary nail art, 2D flat brush art, gel art and 3D art. A lot of times, clients come with a reference design and our nail artists replicate those. We also have an interesting array of nail accessories to match,” says a spokesperson from Jean-Claude Biguine Salon and Spa, India. With the stunning 2D and 3D nail art catching people’s fancies, JCB is seeing heavy demand for gel art and geometric designs as far as 2D goes. “In terms of 3D nail art, clients are opting for smaller motifs, flowers, bows, etc. which can be enhanced using glitters and stones. And now with the ongoing party season, we are experiencing huge requests for chrome and metallic nails along with the regular extensions,” says the spokesperson.
Address: Ground Floor, 25/3, Lavelle Road, 1st Stage, Ashok Nagar, Bengaluru.
Phone: +91 80 41514000
JCB’s other salons are located in Koramangala, Indiranagar and Whitefield.
Divine Nail Studio and Spa
Relax, renew and re-energise is the mantra for this elegant two-year-old studio. “We want people to come and indulge themselves by bringing along their folks as the atmosphere here is warm, casual and soothing,” says Shikha Sridhar, Managing Director. Divine is well-designed with sophisticated décor to allow individuals to bask in the sunlight and be surrounded by an expanse of greenery. Their multi-step pampering rituals encourage you to sit back and take in all the opulence as the technicians work their charm on your feet and hands.
Divine uses products from brands like Sally Hansen, OPI, Nail Pro and Gellish to glamorise your nails with over 500 designs, and presents an intricate portfolio of gel and acrylic nails, spa services and organic treatments. Thanks to the iPhone 6s, ‘rose gold’ chrome is the most popular in nail art, says Shikha. “Even I’ve gone in for rose gold chrome. For chrome nails, silver, gold and rose gold are the most exciting tones. Then of course glitter has always been there.” She says that certain patterns get popular on a seasonal basis. “Like now everyone wants rose gold due to the iPhone. During the Euro Cup, clients demanded their nails to be adorned with flags of the participating countries. Pokemon characters are popular with kids. But overall its chrome nails that are doing exceedingly well.”
Address: No 4/2/2, Samrah Plaza, St. Mark’s Road, Bengaluru
Contact: +91 9900377311
Elan Nail Studio and Spa
One of the earliest spas dedicated to hands and feet, Darshana Patil started Elan in 2010 when she realised that there wasn’t a leisurely zone in Bengaluru where women could unwind and get something trendy done to their nails. “Being associated with the fashion industry, I understood that women love to beautify and accessorise their nails. And with the rapidly transforming demographics of Bengaluru, I felt such a spa would be apt for this city,” says Darshana, who holds certifications in advanced nail art and enhancements from a reputed beauty institute in Singapore. Chrome nails, matte and gloss finish are much in vogue, she says. “The shimmers and glitters are all out now with the festivals in full swing. Clients seek out colours like red, maroon and dark mahogany, to also blend with the winter months.”
Then there are the nail extensions that are seemingly popular with every third fashionista. Newer shapes like the coffin, super-pointed and squoval (combination of square and oval) are currently in, says Darshana. “Earlier, extensions mainly comprised shapes like soft square, square and round.” Located amidst acres of farms and complete tranquillity, Elan ensures that women walk out feeling elegant and confident.
Address: Pavilion Suite ‘D’ LakeView farm, Varthur Road, Ramagondanhalli, Bengaluru.
Contact: +91 80 28542633
Advice and Caution
No doubt it looks offbeat and quirky, but 3D art or nail piercings or accessories are not very practical in our day-to-day lives. “You really cannot do basic things like running your fingers through your hair or lifting boxes. It’s nice for a particular occasion, but not very realistic,” explains Neela.
With extensions, there is a chance of water (or dirt) accumulation between the extension and the nail bed, causing a threat for infections.
“We don’t encourage extensions if the person has healthy nails. If someone wants their nails to grow naturally, we recommend applying gel polish,” says Darshana.
To preserve your art at least for two to three weeks, avoid staining the nails during cooking or eating or any other activity, advice experts. “Get the art done with gel polish or gel colours as this lasts longer,” says Darshana.
As great nails start with healthy cuticles, prep the canvas of your nails with cuticle oil on a frequent basis, says the spokesperson from Jean-Claude Biguine. “Use antifungal spray on your nails to prevent infections. And most importantly, use a cuticle cream twice daily to keep your cuticles and nail folds healthy.”
Approximate costs for nail art
Ombre nails – Rs 250 onwards per nail
Chrome nails – Rs 300 per nail
3D art – Rs 350 to 550 per nail
Extensions – Rs 3,000 – 3, 500 for all 10 fingers with a gel finish.
Shalini Chopra, fashion and beauty blogger
“I prefer natural nails to extensions. Since we are nearing winter, the popular colours would be wine, black (my personal favourite) and glitter. I prefer chrome and white, which is a timeless combination and also the French manicure. I visit a nail bar twice a month and I’m looking forward to indulging in 3D nail art.”
Dekyi Yangtso Chawla, Entrepreneur
“I love ombre nails and I really like the French ombre as it looks classy. Depending on the season and occasion, I get nail art done, though I visit nail salons every three weeks. For a wedding, I had art done in black and gold to match my outfit, during my visit to Europe I got a lighter shade ombre done, and now for Diwali, I added lots of glitter and gold. I have been blessed with strong nails that grow fast, but once I did get an extension when a nail chipped off. If done well and taken good care of, I don’t think extensions do any damage.”