Get head-turning nails at this art gallery turned salon
Time Out Dubai staff
The promise There’s no promise here, really, it’s a mani-pedi that does what it says on the tin: funky little designs (they describe them as revolutionary) of your choosing will be painted onto your nails.
Step by step We are cheerfully greeted and led to the wall of nail art to pick our designs. They are charged per nail so you can choose up to ten (if you want a different design on each nail) and the nail technicians helpfully make suggestions on which designs will complement one another, and which base colour would work well. Once seated, we are brought tea and treated to a relaxing complimentary shoulder massage. The manicure takes some time. It’s worth opting for gelish if you go to the trouble of getting nail art, but of course that takes longer. The manicure begins with the nails, which have been left plain before an impressive box of pots and acrylic paints are brought out and our chosen designs are painstakingly painted on by hand with minuscule paint brushes. Technicians take their time to do a good job, and one of our nails – which our technician is unhappy with – is restarted.
The outcome Our nails look almost identical to our chosen designs and we are surprised by how intricate some of them have turned out. Taking the advice of the technicians has paid off, all our designs go well together and the overall look is much better than we had anticipated. We’d be inclined to agree with the ‘revolutionary’ claim; it’s hard to believe the designs are hand-painted and not transfers.
Pros This is one of the few places where you can get something genuinely unique and some of the designs, for examples the ones with speech bubbles and text, are customisable. The end result is also much better than we expect, plus the option to have the nail art done in gel polish means it lasts long enough to be worth the money.
Cons The complexity of the designs means it does take quite some time, although we'd rather see thoroughness than speed. The scrub and moisturise that comes with most manicure treatments is skipped here in favour of extra time perfecting the nail art. Dhs30-65 per nail for gelish nail art (depending on design). Open Sat-Wed 10am-10pm, Thu-Fri 10am-midnight. Galleria Mall, Al Wasl Road, www.soh.ae (04 344 4147).
Feeling indecisive? Take a look at SoH’s uber-cool Instagram account for examples of their customised nails, including self-portraits and a very impressive Jon Snow (seriously, it looks like him) accompanied by ‘you know nothing’, all hand-painted. @sohdubai