Real snakeskin nails in Dubai

The eyebrow-raising fad that's taken the US by storm

The spa

For the moment at least, The Nail Spa seems to be what many salons would like to be; a gently-lit, sophisticated and relaxing place where busy women can seek solitude from the otherwise largely inescapable world of work. But while certain branches have never been more chaotic, the Mercato branch of The Nail Spa is blissfully serene.

The promise

Gel nail company Bio Sculpture has come up with a new concept, where skin shed by snakes is layered between coats of gel polish for a look that is, as the promotional material would have us believe, ‘radically reptilian’.

Step by step

As we’re only testing the process, I will only have the snakeskin applied to one nail on each hand, while my remaining eight nails will be coated in regular Bio Sculpture gel. This really is a brand new treatment, and my beauty technician, Cherryl, is one of only a handful of the chain’s employees across the emirate to have been trained in the process. We first run through the usual manicure routine, and once my nails have been prepared (if filed a little too short for my liking), the process of applying gel begins. And what a process it is. Thankfully, the light gold gel I’ve opted for seems barely thicker than polish, though by the time we’re at layer five, I’m wondering how many layers until the snakeskin is applied, and whether I’ll be left with doorstopper-sized chunks dangling from each ring finger.

Thankfully, Cherryl finally pulls out a tiny plastic sleeve containing a small, rectangular cutting of shed snakeskin, which I’m told is from ‘an American snake’ (which doesn’t narrow it down much). After snipping off two tiny pieces, Cherryl dips them into gel and applies them to my nails, before flecks of colour are applied to embellish the pattern.


It’s clearly early days for the treatment, but while I’m perfectly happy with one of the nails, the other is something of a misshapen lump. The snakeskin pattern is clear, but the gel has been allowed to set in an odd shape, giving the end of my nail a peculiar angle, which catches on things for days after. The nails are supposed to last two weeks, but I get fed up and peel them off after just four days, which I shouldn’t be able to do so easily.


• It’s undoubtedly unique, and there won’t be many people in the office or at brunch with more conversation-worthy nails than you.
• If done well, gel nails really do last longer than conventional polish and aren’t as thick or damaging to nails as acrylic.


• They’re still getting to grips with the process, so wait a while before splashing out.

Also try

Sally Hansen Salon Effects nails These home sticker kits don’t last long (a brunch at best), but they come in all sorts of fun patterns (our favourite is faux zebra print).
Dhs65 Available at Carrefour, Mall of the Emirates (800 73232)


Bio Sculpture snakeskin nails are Dhs900 for a full set. The Nail Spa, various locations including Mercato Mall (04 349 7766)

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