I enjoy painting my own nails, and prefer to save the money I would otherwise spend outsourcing the work. Not to mention not wanting to endure the time spent in a chair with the inability to use my hands.
Although when gifted with the opportunity to indulge and pamper myself, I won’t turn it down. I called my friend up and we made an appointment to get “Prép-ed” for the new year to come. Though the salon is more than just nails; they also offer eyelash, brow, hair and makeup services, and specialize on bridal parties and group treatments. I can only imagine how much fun could be had, gathering a group of your closest girl friends together in such an opulent setting.
I was immediately excited walking in, this parlour was stunning; a sight visible from the other side of its all glass exterior. It was the only thing warm and glowing this cold January night. The entirety of the place was a vision of regal-ness, set all in white. With crystal chandeliers, sequin pillows, fuzzy throws, and aspirational words written in lights.
And their centre piece, the one decor element that has garnered them all their social media attention, a giant bird cage. A repurposed piece of furnishing made into a swing, the ideal back drop to any of your selfies. The perfect way to finish off your treatments: posing and swinging carefree in all your garnered beauty.
We made our appointments for both a manicure and a pedicure, to be able to enjoy a seat on one of their thrones. On an elevated platform is a row of tall back leather seats, detailed with silver rivets. A seat in one of these makes you feel like a princess, and to be able to enjoy such an experience with a good friend is a double treat. So there, we two princesses sat having our tootsies tended too. A warming and soothing soak, a mini foot massage and exfoliation in between, a good scraping of the callouses I have earned being on my feet, and a slathering of lotion as a treat. All in preparation for the polish of your choice. Like they do with your finger nails: each toenail is filed to the desired shape, then the surface of it is buffed smooth and the cuticles trimmed back and moisturized with oil.
I prefer the old school varnishes over gel. Although it doesn’t last as long, I appreciate the freedom to remove any hue that will chip or fade, at my whim. Where I am not restricted to a return trip that requires a payment to remove a colour I dedicated myself to for 3 weeks. I guess I just don’t like the permanence of gel or the ideal that I need someone’s help to remove it. Though I was quick to change my mind considering my manicure only lasted 1.5 days before two nails were chipped.
As for shades, I am a fingers must match the toes kind of gal; I knew that much, but when it came time to choose which colour to paint both, I struggled. They have so many bottles to choose from. Your decision split between four rings of plastic. Plastic nails painted in their various hues, labelled by their bottle’s name. I eventually went with a nice nude with prompting from the technician taking care of me. A colour I didn’t have myself, to give more value to my session.
When it came to my hands, I thought to change it up with a French style manicure; still using the shade of nude I choose for my toes, and adding to it some white. I just wanted something more than what I can’t or won’t do for myself. There was an additional $10 fee for the extra work she did free handed, with little hesitation. I can do I French manicure myself, but find the additional work tedious. Work made worse, knowing I am a stickler for details and will do and redo each nail until each curved white tip was as perfect as I could make it look. Here, the painting in one fell swoop is impressive, but not 100% with slanted curves; though still great for the cost. And if you are looking for something more, they can adhere Swarovski crystal elements and stickers to your nails. They can also hand draw images, and create an ombré or marble effect at a cost per nail.
Normally, I would not go out of my way to get a manicure, something that I know I can do at home for myself and save on the travel and waiting. Although being pampered and having all the tedious work done for me today, I can clearly see its allure for regular prescribers. That and the quality of work. The technician who looked after me was gentle and thorough. With nothing else left to do, I watched her work. There were times where my nail was smudged or the occasional hair found its way on to my wet toes. And on each occasion she took to her tweezers or used a dab of remover to remedy the blemish. And when it came to cleaning up the nail: pushing the cuticles back, and trimming excess skin around the nail bed, I could not have done a better job. The entire tip of my finger has not looked this good in a long while (pretty much the last time I sat down for a salon manicure). That in itself is worth the effort to get down here, and the $7.50 parking meter fee ($3 per hour in that neighbourhood).
And they even offer coffee or tea to settle in with. No other salon that I know of does this, and in such fine dish ware to boot.
PREP BEAUTY PARLOUR
1305 Burrard Street, Vancouver BC, V6Z 1Z7