The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Health & Fitness
The Nail Spa

The Nail Spa: Possibly the Best Acrylic Manicure in Town

reviewed by
Salma Anderson
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The Nail Spa: Possibly the Best Acrylic Manicure in Town

Our nails were left weak and wretchedly short from the gel manicure we received at Zamalek salon The Nail Factory, so after failing to rejuvenate them with strengthening polish and cuticle oil, we decided it was time for a new manicure to mask the damage until they grow out again.

After hearing praises about The Nail Spa in Mohandiseen, we decided to check it out for ourselves. The Nail Spa only has one technician for gel and acrylic mani-pedis, so if that’s what you’re after, book an appointment at least two days in advance. However, walk-ins for regular mani-pedis are welcome before 1PM.

We arrived for our appointment and walked through the pink & orange striped glass door into an all-white reception with a wall of rows and rows of Essie polish to the left.  We were told to go up the stairs, but when we got to the top no one was there to tell us where to sit. So we wandered around the pedicure corner, past the manicure tables, and into the spa rooms until someone finally told us to sit at one of the manicure tables and the nail tech would be with us shortly.

Though our appointment was for 4.30PM, we didn’t begin until just before 5PM; so it’s good that we didn’t have anything pressing lined up for afterwards.

The nail tech filed our nails with an emery board, then applied Essie cuticle oil to the nail bed before removing the excess cuticles with an orange stick (and not scissors, thank God!)

Before mixing the CND brand acrylic powder with the sculpting liquid, she asked how we would like our nails shaped and how long. We’re glad to say that by the end of the appointment, our nails were identical to the ones in the picture we showed her.

She wrapped stiff metallic sticker barriers around each fingertip, before expertly mixing and applying the acrylic powder to our nailbeds, extending the tips along the barrier sticker, way past our sad non-existent tips. After all ten nails were hardened, the nail tech proceeded to file and shape them with a large, thick nail file.

The result: smooth, almond-shaped talons that Audrey Hepburn herself would be envious of. We washed off the nail dust in the sink, which is installed in the table – a sign of a professional salon – and then had passion fruit scented moisturizing oil rubbed into our cuticles.

Then it was time for the fun part – choosing a colour. The Nail Spa boasts hundreds of Essie nailpolish shades – both regular and gel – as well as polishes by O.P.I, CND and Orly. We decided to go for a sophisticated regular French manicure, but for 180LE more you can get it done with gel polish.

Acrylics can last around a month if your nails grow slowly, and we figured we might want to change the colour after a week or so without the hassle of having to go back to do it. A coat of Essie’s ‘Allure’ was applied, then ‘Blanc’ crescents on the tips, and another coat of ‘Allure’ to finish. We were a bit disappointed that a clear topcoat wasn’t applied to prevent chipping, but were distracted by how gorgeous our hands looked. The entire process only took 60 minutes, and our nails honestly have never looked better. The nail tech says she was trained by a professional flown in from the U.S. when she started at The Nail Spa 11 years ago, and we believe her.

After waiting 15 minutes to ensure the polish had dried, we made our way back down to the reception desk to pay for the acrylic manicure; it set us back 480LE, but if it lasts the month it will be worth it.  While waiting for our change, we couldn’t help but notice the metallic polishes, strengthening formula, peel-off topcoat and numerous types of nail files for sale. The Nail Spa has so much to offer – check out their facial peels, body scrubs, Moroccan baths and other spa treatments available. We know we will.

360 Tip

Make sure to book in advance if you want acrylics or gels.

Best Bit

Thee quality of the equipment, products and final result.

Worst Bit

We tried chatting to the nail tech, but she didn’t seem to be in the mood. Our fantasies of scenes from Legally Blonde are never fulfilled.

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