el or acrylic? Intricate nail art or a classic French tip? Extravagant extensions or a subtle no-mani-mani? Whatever your style, there’s nothing better than walking out of the nail bar, professionally applied manicure still fresh, to make you feel perfectly put together. Sure, you can paint your nails in the comfort of your own home, but where’s the fun (and the luxury) in that? Sitting down in a salon, solo or with friends, for a precious hour of pampering is always worth it, in our humble opinion. And thankfully, the capital is chock full of trendy nail bars and salons that are more than happy to take you and your cuticles in their well-trained hands. Sure, finding your perfect manicurist will always take a degree of trial and error, but to make it easier for you, we’ve put together our pick of the best nail bars in London.
Ama The Salon, Brixton
With a celebrity clientele that includes Adele, Dua Lipa and Adwoa Aboah (to name just a few), Ama The Salon has long been South London’s best-kept secret. Founded by Ama Quashie, whose work has graced the campaigns of Saint Laurent and Celine, Ama The Salon offers a range of premium, organic and bespoke nail treatments, which put nail care at the forefront. Drawing on a decade of experience, the salon’s founder has hand-picked each polish and gel brand used in the nail bar, many of which are vegan, cruelty-free and up to 90 per cent naturally derived.
340 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8QH, amathesalon.com
Aura Organics Spa, Hackney Wick
Set in the shadow of the Olympic Village, overlooking the canal from its space in Here East, spa and wellness centre Aura Organics offers a range of bespoke, holistic treatments, including a range of vegan manicures, using low toxic and cruelty-free products. Whether you’re in the mood for an express Mantra manicure to give your nails some TLC between gels, the relaxing Goddess manicure (which includes a glass of prosecco and a chakra-aligning hand massage), or even a set of lightweight, natural feel extensions, the team at Aura have everything you need to feel truly pampered.
31 East Bay Lane, E15 2GW, auraorganicsspa.com
Another proponent of the natural nails trend, Battersea’s Linnaean believes that immaculate nails are healthy nails, and prioritises nail care throughout all of its gender-neutral treatments. Using non-toxic, plant-based and cruelty-free gels and polishes, Linnaean’s extensive menu covers everything you could want from your nail bar, from a no-polish file and buff to a French gel manicure and IBX strengthening treatments.
2 New Union Square, SW11 7AX, linnaean.co.uk
London Grace, across London
Believing that getting your nails done should be a social experience, London Grace shook up the capital’s nail bar scene with its unique take on a nail-salon-meets-coffee-shop-meets-cocktail-bar. What more could you need? You won’t find any damaging extensions or OTT cuticle cutting here. Putting nail care first and foremost, London Grace uses its own vegan and ‘no nasties’ nail polish and CND Shellac across its nine London locations, ensuring that your nails feel as good as they look long after your topcoat has dried.
Offering nails and cocktails mere moments from Oxford Circus, Paint takes the term nail bar very literally. With technicians trained to offer every treatment you could think of, from classic mani-pedis as you sip on a martini to express drop-in treatments between visits to Liberty and Selfridges, you can rest assured that your nails will be in good hands.
28 Market Place, W1W 8AW, paintnailslondon.co.uk
Shian Nails & Beauty, Dalston
Based in the achingly cool neighbourhood of Dalston, Shian Nails specialises in bespoke manicure treatments and statement-making nail art. Founded in 2020, during the first national lockdown, Shian Nails opened its doors in 2021 and has since become a favourite spot for the East End’s bright young things. With six bespoke nail art packages available, as well as a range of treatments on offer including IBX and Builder in a Bottle nail strengthening treatments, not only will your nails be beautifully buffed and painted, but they’ll leave in better nick than ever.
446 Kingsland Road, E8 4AE, shiannails.com
Townhouse, across London
On a mission to redefine and elevate the nail salon experience with top quality treatments in serene surroundings, Townhouse is one of London’s most in-demand nail bar brands. Specialising in intricate nail art, with a string of brand collaborations under its belt and an illustrious celebrity clientele to boot, it’s not hard to see why. And whether you’re in Fitzrovia, Knightsbridge or Kensington, you can rest easy knowing that whichever Townhouse salon you strut into, they’ll nail it every time.
Young LDN, Westbourne Grove
The Gen-Z salon of choice, Young LDN offers you an opportunity to truly switch off as your nails are preened and pampered. Each station in the Westbourne Grove nail lounge comes complete with charging points, wireless headphones and iPads, so if small talk’s not your thing, you won’t be left feeling awkward as you totally zone out. Whether you’re after the CBD manicure, an express treatment, or the lounge’s renowned Japanese manicure, you’re free to spend your all-important me time however you choose.
228 Westbourne Grove, W11 2RH, youngldn.com