Pampering yourself doesn’t come much better than a sleek set of nails. A touch of sparkle and a pop of colour on your tips is the perfect way to add a touch of cheer to your outfit, or to your day. From hidden nail bars to world-class home salons, Aucklanders are so very lucky to have a fabulous selection of nail artists and salons at our very (well-manicured) fingertips.
Whether your cuticles are in serious need of a spruce up, or you fancy treating yourself to a touch of glamour—here are the best places to get your nails done in Auckland to make your mani-pedi dreams come true.
Pøp Beauty recently popped up in a gorgeous Ponsonby Road space with Inco Studio in the Old Ponsonby Fire Station building. Fitted with plush peachy-pink, black and gold décor, this contemporary studio is the perfect place in Auckland to treat your nails (and eyes) to a little TLC. If that TLC goes a bit beyond a quick lick of varnish, their nail rehab menu—complete with “Builder in a Bottle” or IBX treatments—is where you want to look. As for their gel polish manicures, they’ve got everything from classic manis and pedis right through to a “Very Fancy Nails” option, which aptly includes snazzy extra details like studs, glitter, decals, jewels, and even 3D nail art.
You haven’t seen nail art until you’ve seen Tanya Barlow of Hello Tanya’s nail art. As the queen of the local nail art scene, her home studio is one of the best places to get your nails done in Auckland if you want claws that scream coolness and creativity. Pet portraits, cartoon characters, tiny food paintings—you name it, she’s hand painted it. Not afraid to shy away from creative nail art requests, Tanya’s all about working her magic to create a set of claws that are truly unique to each client—using all sorts of fun colours, chromes, glitters, decals and accents as she goes. Not only can you trust her to just doll up your hands, but she’s also a qualified hair and makeup artist with more than 10 years under her belt.
Not only is this boutique beauty destination one of the most coveted spots to get a fresh tan or an eyebrow spruce up, Verdo is also one of the best places in Auckland to get your nails done. If you’re short on time, their 30-minute mini-manicure is the perfect glam-on-the go option. If you fancy splashing out a tad more, their 60-minute Deluxe Spa Manicure—complete with a coconut sugar scrub, paraffin wax treatment and an arm and hand massage—is utter bliss for both your claws and paws. Lads treatments aren’t left off the menu either here. Verdo offers a short and sweet men’s manicure, with a cuticle cut, shape and tidy.
The Nail Studio
Treating yourself to a well-deserved manicure is always a feel-good moment. It’s even better when the polish (and every product) on your fingers is 100% cruelty-free. Enter The Nail Studio: a nail haven dedicated to caring for nails holistically. Here you won’t find just any nail products being used. From the hand lotion to the nail varnish, owner Mardi Smith has handpicked a range of top-of-the-line products that are completely vegan and free from chemical nasties. As well as classic shellac and polish applications, you’ll find rebalancing rituals to structurally support your nails and natural colour enhancements on the treatment list. As for the toes, a Deluxe Spa Pedicure is the ultimate treat—complete with a sea rock soak, salt scrub marine mask and silk foot and leg massage.
The Studio by East Day Spa
Award-winning East Day Spa is keeping up its lucky streak with another luxurious beauty offering. This time, it’s a slice of paradise devoted entirely to nails. Nestled away in the glimmering lobby of the Sky City Grand Hotel, The Studio by East Day Spa is one of Auckland’s lesser-known inner-city nail bars. In keeping with its big sister spa’s legacy, guests are treated to a glamorously Zen space to unwind in, world-class treatments, and superb service—with cups of herbal tea here and there. Their signature mani-pedi treatments offer everything from a 15-minute file and paint, right through to 75-minute nail rituals. Better yet, you can grab a glass of wine from Gusto at The Grand next-door to sip away at for the ultimate in manicure indulgence.
For killer gel and acrylic claws, you can’t go past blush baby. Owned and operated by nail technician extraordinaire Nicola May, Blush Baby is a mecca of all things fabulous. From an impressive rainbow of gel polish colours to a mesmerising selection of nail glitters—there’s pretty choices galore to be made. The spoiling for choice doesn’t stop there though. When it comes to nail shapes, Nicola (quite literally) nails everything from cute almond rounds, daring coffin-shapes to longer-than-life stiletto points. With cute nail art as the cherry on top of Blush Baby’s services, it comes to no surprise that it’s been crowned as one of the best places in Auckland to get your nails done.
Leah Light Studios
Leah Light is nothing short of an iconic name in the New Zealand beauty industry. As the nation’s leading celebrity nail stylist, she’s dolled up the claws of P!nk, Eva Longoria, and Lorde in her 20-plus years of experience in the industry—just to name a select few. In the next step in building her well-manicured empire, she’s swung open door to three Leah Light Studios around the city. Dotted in Parnell, Westgate and Takapuna, these nail studios are the best places in Auckland to treat yourself to a celebrity-level mani-pedi.
The Beauty Merchants
As the little sister beauty bar of hairdressing hotspot Frenchie + co, you can be sure that The Beauty Merchant is one of the very best places to get your nails done in Auckland. Stepping inside this oh-so-pretty pink and white studio will make you feel like you’re in a marshmallow-hued beauty dream—and, of course, have you leaving with a sweet set of nails. The nail services on offer at this salon are short and sweet, focusing on classic shellac services. A shellac manicure here will see your nails filed, buffed, moisturised and painted to perfection, as will their pedicure, which also includes a relaxing foot massage. With waxing, massages, lash and brow treatments also on the menu here, consider The Beauty Merchants are a one-stop for all your primping and pampering needs.
When your nails need a cute little spruce up, Heather Vette is your saving grace. With a background in the creative industries, it’s safe to say that an appointment with Heather will, quite literally, put you in the best hands for amazing nail art. From classic nail art like stars and flora and fauna, right through to custom requests, Heather works wonders on nails. Not only that, but she also one of the nail artists to hit up for geode textures, negative space nail art and dazzling glitter effects.
The Nail Lounge
Auckland’s best manicures can be found in the chic little nail studio that is The Nail Lounge. Hidden away in ‘The Salon’ in Queen Street’ in Queen’s Arcade, this sumptuous little space is where serious nail magic happens. This nail bar is an urban-retreat for city-dwellers (who are lucky enough to score an appointment) who need a splash of glamour thrown in to their nine to five grind. From a classic manicure to more elaborate nail art, every moment spent at the at the hands of nail guru Debbie Walsh and her 30-plus years of experience is sure to leave you with impossibly pretty nails.
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Image credit: Jorge Fakhouri Filho