One of the few affordable things in NYC is the manicure. Because we are never more than 500ft from a nail salon, prices have always been quite cheap –a basic manicure starting around $10. Us NYC gals have our high and low places – we have the low-rent salon for the weeks when “I just bought a Chloe bag and will be eating ramen for two months” and the higher rent “I am feeling a bit posh and want spa-like experience” nail spots. NYC now has a third option – a fresh new “nail studio” concept that brings together affordable prices and a chic environment with truly on-trend creative ideas and top lacquer brands (Butter London, Chanel, Deborah Lippmann, essie, Estée Lauder, Floss Gloss, Illamasqua, and Zoya) called Paintbox.
Founded by former Fitness magazine beauty director Eleanor Langston, Paintbox offers high-end nail services at prices that will still allow you to go on that shopping spree once the polish dries. This mani-only nail studio features 18 stations and offers the basics as well as high-concept nail art (no Hello Kitty here). Uniquely, the highly curated polishes, colors and designs are overseen by the studio’s very own creative director, Julie Kandalec – nail artist and stylist know for her editorial and celebrity work. (I am feeling uber-chic already). The final touch, which is sort of genius, is a built-in mani cam so you can get a quick snap of your fresh finger tips to post on Instagram for your adoring following. How did this place not exist before now?
About those prices, for the experience, Paintbox offers a regular mani for $35, a gel mani for $50, a designed manicure using regular polish for $55, and a gel nail design for $65. It is definitely a bit more expensive than the average corner salon, but sooo much chicer. Rumor has it there is also a semi-secret, off-menu Express Manicure — polish removal, buff, and paint — for just $20. So if you are short on time and cash, but still want to be cool, this is a great option.
Paintbox, 17 Crosby Street (between Howard and Grand streets); 212-219-2412.