If you’re looking for polished perfection, where better to go than one of the best nail salons in London? From the royal-approved manicurist in Mayfair to an all-natural salon in Brixton, the capital’s nail bars are superlative. Whether you’re after a quick-fix tidy up, looking to experiment with nail art or want to try the long lasting BIAB, here’s our edit of the best nail salons to book now.
Taking inspiration from New York’s blow bars, Hungarian-raised, London-based sisters Krisztina van der Boom and Anita Puluczkai opened Dryby, a blow-dry and nail art studio near Oxford Circus in 2016. It’s since gained a reputation as one of the best nail salons in London and is a firm favourite amongst the capital’s beauty editors, who go for the trademark minimalist nail art. Indeed, The Glossary’s Beauty Director Alessandra Steinherr has collaborated with the salon on eight wearable nail art designs that take “a more minimal approach. You have my signature sheer pink base, flashes of red, deep berry, graphic accents and my beloved touch of fancy bolt and metallics,” she has said of the collection.
The vibe at this salon is gorgeous – a palette of blush pinks, muted greys and rose gold, thanks to Clemence Pirajean of design firm Studio KO (Chiltern Firehouse, Aesop) – and you’ll find an impressive range of niche brands and shades here, including vegan brand Lauren B Beauty, Smith & Cult and Soigné polishes. Alongside simple file and paints and Shellac manicures, which are always super thorough with a perfect finish, DryBy offers an elegant nail art menu. The team is also on hand to give manis and pedis at Hershesons on Berners Street and West Halkin Street.
74 Mortimer Street, Fitzrovia, London W1W 7RZ
When Juanita Huber-Millet launched Townhouse in Fitzrovia in 2018, her aim was to elevate the nail bar experience and offer manicures for the modern age. And so she set about creating a salon that offered flawless treatments and impeccable service in a sleek environment. It’s a formula that worked. Four years on and there are multiple Townhouses across town. Alongside a luxurious outpost on the fifth floor of Harrods, Juanita has a salon in Kensington and has just opened in Spitalfields Market and Notting Hill. All five are slick and efficient, offering cutting-edge technology and a full menu with every nail shade under the sun (plus some you didn’t even know existed) as well as minimalist nail art.
Grab a spot at one of the ultra-chic nail bars for the signature gel treatment or a luxury mani. The latter is an indulgent experience including shaping, buffing, cuticle care, extended massage, a pampering hot cream treatment and finished with your choice of polish. Afterwards, snap your new nails at the ‘nailfie’ photo area. Forever looking to switch it up and bring something new and innovative to customers, Townhouse often partners with luxury brands on limited-edition collaborations including Caudalie, Chantecaille, Givenchy and Sisley.
Liverpool Street; Kensington; Knightsbridge; Fitzrovia; Notting Hill
Nails and Brows Mayfair
Tucked away between bustling Piccadilly and Berkeley Square, this Mayfair stalwart – founded by Sherrille Riley in 2014 – counts the Duchess of Sussex as a client, who likes to get her nails and brows done here when she’s in town. While upstairs is the brow bar, the marble-filled ground floor is devoted to nails.
Though it is in one of London’s ritziest neighbourhoods, a visit is always refreshingly relaxed. The talented nail technician team offers simple file and polish appointments and 20 minute treatments if you’re after speedy maintenance followed by a pop of colour – using vegan, non-toxic polishes and products. The menu, however, is extensive – the Non-Toxic Gel Manicure is a popular new addition. So too the CBD Wellness Manicure which aims to help inflammation and joint pain; and they also offer a nail strengthening treatment for hands or feet, which uses IBX to work inside the nail to target natural nail imperfections and weaknesses.
31 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 8EJ
Paint Nails London
If time is of essence, Paint Nails London is perfect. The USP at this salon is its central location – it is based at Beauty Club London, the buzzing one-stop-beauty-salon in Oxford Circus – and its speedy service. Pop in for a lunchtime shape and paint or if you’re looking for a pre-event nail spruce up (plus it’s a hair salon so you can have a blowdry too). The menu is extensive, from the Classic Manicure and the British, which includes a nourishing hand treatment, to gel manis and pedis, nail extensions and full cover tips.
You can also get the popular BIAB manicure here, which uses The Gel Bottle to achieve a mani that stays glossy for up to four weeks, as well as simultaneously hardening and strengthening the natural nail. The hour-long treatment includes prepping your nails so they’re neat and tidy, before application of the BIAB gel which comes in a selection of nude, naturals and pinks and is applied under an LED light so you’ll be ready to go in seconds.
28 Market Place, Fitzrovia, London W1W 8AW
Colour Riot Nails
The name says it all. London’s most colourful nail salon was founded by renowned session nail artist Tinu Bello in 2012 in Fitzrovia. She went on to open her second location in Shoreditch six years later and the east London site, just off Brick Lane, is now the flagship, specialising in next-level nail art. The team – also known as Riot Nail Girls – offer every manner of design from ‘Effect’ (ombre, marble galaxy, snake skin) and ‘Abstract’ (geometric lines, colour block, shapes) to ‘Embellish’ using real Swarovski crystals. Or you can simply bring in your nail art mood board and go bespoke.
Redefining nail art aside, they do incredible manis and pedis, as well as offering BIAB and nail extensions. We can attest to Tinu’s gel manicure, which is the longest lasting we’ve ever had with zero chips or lift off. It’s little wonder that outside of the salon, her celebrity clientele includes everyone from Bella Hadid, Jorja Smith and Rita Ora. She’s also designed nails for Christopher Kane and Markus Lupfer shows, worked on campaigns for the likes of Dior, and her nails regularly appear in editorial shoots in Hunger, Wonderland and Harper’s Bazaar.
48 Hanbury Street, Shoreditch, London E1 5JL
This nail salon in Dalston is east London’s go-to place for cruelty-free and vegan-friendly manicures and pedicures. The natural beauty hotspot prides itself on its non-toxic nail products, from the gels by 12-free US brand Orly to the varnishes by Parisian favourite Kure Bazaar, as well as its tailored nail art designs. A haven of dusky pink and grey, complete with marble nail tables, the zen-like studio has also recently expanded with two new treatment rooms, Body and Face, where they offer a full range of treatments, as well as a state-of-the-art infrared sauna and birch filled shower room.
In keeping with its holistic approach, you can also buy crystals, jade rollers, organic bath salts and a wide range of wellness products from niche brands. Still London now has a residency at 180 Health Club, at the top of 180 The Strand, where 180 Residents and Soho House members can have their luxury manis and pedis, alongside the latest body treatments.
450 Kingsland Road, Dalston, London E8 4AE
Although not strictly a nail bar, this Islington based salon has kept things delightfully simple with just three options – facials, waxing and nails – and a treatment menu that will take care of all your beauty maintenance under just one roof. The space is a serene sanctuary of pale pinks and forest greens set across three floors, and it’s in the tranquil, naturally-lit basement where an experienced team of technicians will see to your every nail need.
As well as offering manicures and pedicures in three categories – Dash, Trademark and Lux – they also do nail art, gel removal and callus treatment. The focus throughout is using non-toxic, vegan brands – The Gel Bottle, Nailberry and Grown Alchemist – and they also offer Le Manucurist Green Flash, the first LED nail polish that you apply like gel polish and remove like regular polish, which is formulated with bio-sourced ingredients.
325 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 2XQ
Founded by fashion industry-approved session nail stylist Ama Quashie, AMA was London’s first natural nail salon when it opened its doors in Brixton at the end of 2018. It comes with some seriously clean credentials – they only use eco-friendly products for their treatments, and also offer a “free from” menu featuring polish and gel brands that are up to 90% natural, 10-free, vegan and cruelty free.
Whether you choose an organic or bespoke treatment, products have all been handpicked by Ama and include Kure Bazaar’s non-toxic polishes, LA-based gel system NCLA, known for its vegan and cruelty-free formulas, and British skincare brand Pinks Boutique for scrubs and creams. The eclectic living room-style décor, where the walls are covered in mismatching prints and photographs of the local area, and well-chosen Spotify list give the place a cosy, home-away-from-home vibe. Ama also has a salon at The Londoner Hotel in Leicester Square.
340 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8QH
While Soho House’s hugely popular spas can be found in many of its UK outposts (Babington House, Soho Farmhouse, Shoreditch House and The Ned), you’ll also find a standalone Cowshed in the leafy environs of Primrose Hill.
In typical Soho House style, the nail salon was designed with comfortable-luxe in mind; there are cosy chairs to sink into complete with plumped up cushions and mini TV screens with wireless headphones to keep you entertained while one of the expert nail technicians buffs and files your nails to perfection. Try the Ultimate Cowshed Manicure, which includes exfoliating treatments and a scalp massage with their gloriously scented in-house products.
115-117 Regents Park Road, Primrose Hill, London NW1 8UR
Shoreditch Nails has two studios: one in Shoreditch, the other in Dalston. Both may be on the bijoux side of small, but there are plenty of treatments on offer, from classic Shellac styles to monochromes, block colours and metallic tapes. They also offer BIAB (Builder in a Bottle) aka builder gel, which is specifically designed to add strength and structure to natural nails.
Book in with one of the friendly, down-to-earth nail technicians and make sure to ask them about their nail art options, which range from bold art-inspired graphics to striking glitter fades. So popular is the studio that they’ve launched their own collection of polish, which is vegan, cruelty-free and 82% bio-sourced, using ingredients such as sugarcane and corn to partially replace chemicals. Little wonder their tagline is ‘Consciously Colourful’.
13 Cleeve Workshops, Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7JD
48 Dalston Lane, Dalston, London E8 3AH
Main image: Lila Moss for Marc Jacobs Beauty