Similar to having your hair cut or colored, investing in nail art has the potential to completely transform your look—especially at Tinailery, an adorable Japanese-style salon that creates tiny masterpieces for your digits. Thumb through its vast collection of options (gems, glitter, and painted butterflies, oh my!) while enjoying tea served in graceful china, then let your nail artist work her magic. 92 State St., Boston, MA tinailery.com.
Treating yourself to a mani/pedi at this recently opened salon is like taking a deep breath of fresh air: relaxing, satisfying, and totally necessary. The bright space strikes a balance between clinical and cushy, with skilled technicians ready to trim, shape, and polish your digits to perfection (and have fun with nail art, if you please). 1389 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02446, bellacquer.com.
When a manicure lasts longer than two weeks, you can consider it a work of art. Though Bella Santé excels in many other ways as a day spa, it's the manicures that most impress us, consistently ensuring the most perfectly shaped, expertly polished nails we've ever had. And we put them to the test washing dishes, doing laundry, even playing pickup basketball. After all that punishment, there was not a chipped, peeling, or broken nail to speak of. Just think what they can for clients who actually treat their hands well. 38 Newbury St., 2nd Floor, Boston, MA bellasante.com/.
Let’s be honest: Those DIY mani/pedis just aren’t cutting it anymore. When you’re ready for some real pampering, book the next available session at this formidable Back Bay salon, where even the most basic nail services include oh-so-necessary sugar scrubs and soothing massages for tired hands and feet. Pros here excel in polish application of all kinds, nailing classic looks and tricky art trends (ombré dip powder, anyone?) with careful precision. The team’s meticulousness extends to safety, too: In addition to providing masks, sanitizer, and temperature checks for customers upon arrival, the salon features Plexiglas dividers between stations for ultimate client and staff protection. 665 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116, bostonsnailsandspa.com.
Getting a weekly manicure is one of life’s little luxuries, and this local chainlet has the process down to a scienceliterally. The salon’s "Clean Lab" uses hospital-grade sterilization techniques to make sure your polish job doesn’t come with a side of someone else’s germs. Of course, manicures are also an art, and technicians here are experts in shaping, filing, and polishing nails to perfection. And with add-ons like an extended massage and warm-oil and paraffin treatments, your experience can be as luxeor as simpleas you’d like. 296 Newbury St., Boston; and other locations, miniluxe.com.
You can thank the Tager family's sharp eyes and dead-on sense of balance for many of Boston's most beautiful homes. Principal Sheldon Tager brings to his two New England antique shops in Newton and Nantucket the same originality and knowledge that has made him a nationally acclaimed interior designer. The proof is in the distinctive pieces—from American crafts to French country gems—brought back from regular trips to Europe, antique shows, and auctions. But the true kicker is how the store mixes and presents them: a subtle drama that flat-out nails the art of rustic refinement. 26 Elliot St., Newton, MA bellemaison23.com/.
After a harrowing drive to our appointment in heavy rain, we felt the tension melting away the second we stepped foot inside this immaculate Somerville salon. The staff? Competent and courteous. The service? Insta-worthy, with exemplary shaping, flawless polish application, and a much-needed hand massage. But what really wowed us was the ambiance, with softly playing music, a trickling water feature near the pedicure chairs, and low lighting creating a relaxing environment for express services, trendy color dips, and gel-based full sets alike. 485 Revolution Dr., Somerville, MA 02145, arnailbarsomerville.com.
For the ultimate drink with a view, head to this chichi waterfront lounge, plant your feet firmly in the sand, and try a Moscow Mule or a North Shore (made with local 888 cranberry vodka). Sip and repeat until the sun sets, then retire to the dining room for lobster tail and a veal chop, prepared by the new executive chef, Neil Ferguson. 54 Jefferson Ave., Nantucket, MA galleybeach.net.
This eco-friendly, health-obsessed nail salon does things a little bit differently—for starters, you won't find your favorite OPI and Essie shades on offer (too many chemicals). What you do get: highly trained technicians; a bright, supremely clean atmosphere; and a fine selection of carcinogen-free polishes that can be combined to create custom hues dutifully recorded for your next visit. 143 Huron Ave., Cambridge, MA wetpaintnailspa.com.
It's a relief to find a nail salon run by a family that cares about its customers and its employees. At this cheery all-white storefront, you'll find autoclaved tools, bath liners, and technicians protected with masks and rubber gloves. And then there are the spalike touches: every pedi includes a deep, hot-stone foot-and-calf rub. Best of all, callouses are quickly vanquished with a power sander. Why didn't anyone think of this before? 1042 Beacon St., Brookline, MA 02446, aernailbar.com.
Ingenue specializes only in nails, and it shows. Situated in a townhouse off Newbury, its decor is welcoming and its facilities are extensive. The staff is well trained and helpful, offering knowledgeable opinions on everything from nail-tip maintenance to polish color. The salon stays open until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday; men are also welcome. 51 Gloucester St., Boston, MA .
Mia was trained in New York, the epicenter of marvelous manicures. No wonder hers last so long. 168 Newbury Street, Boston, MA .
Few food-world darlings have gotten more love of late than chef Tony Maws; everyone from Martha Stewart to James Beard has gushed. But for all the highfalutin accolades Maws has received for his inventive dinner menu, we can't help gravitating to Craigie's always-packed bar for his more-casual fare. There you can sup on food that qualifies as both hearty and succulent—and that never fails to satisfy: crispy fried pig tails, roasted bone marrow, and the grass-fed burger that's become as famous as Maws's other, more-studied creations. 853 Main St., Cambridge, MA 2139, craigieonmain.com.
Perfect Nail looks like a simply average nail-and-beauty emporium tucked into a street-level storefront behind the State House on Beacon Hill. Thank goodness appearances can be deceiving: Running the show here is Tammy Giuoag, the best eyebrow doctor in town. Tammy operates with a light touch, and shapes eyebrows according the the client's exact specifications. Her sense of proportion is right on the money, and she'll have you in and out of her salon in a flash. She's so good we almost hate to give her away. 45 Bowdoin Street, Boston, MA .