Beauty

Five Boston Nail Salons to Check Out Right Now

Forget just picking a color. These days, nail artists can transform your fingertips into teeny painted masterpieces you’ll never want to chip.


Aer Nailbar’s light, bright space / Photo by Jenna Skutnik

FOR FREESTYLE ART
Karen Pham

Karen Pham had no idea that the oil paints her dad bought her when she was 11 would pave the way for a successful nail-art business. As an adult, she took her talent first to a station at a tiny nail salon and then to a hip hair salon in Southie. Once the stylists began to show off their artful nails to clients, her career really took off. Today Pham works out of Le Salon in Dorchester, where she asks regulars to find inspiration for their nail art in the everyday: the swirl in their coffee, the tiles at a café. Snagging an appointment can be tough, so keep an eye on her Instagram @karen_deconailz for openings.

157 Neponset Ave., Dorchester.

FOR BEDAZZLED NAILS
Tinailery

At Cammie Lo’s Japanese-style nail salon, sip organic flower tea served in an adorable cup and saucer while perusing the talented nail artists’ collection of ultra-feminine designs: a marbled canvas with tiny pearls; delicate flowers and crystals. Or upload any image from your phone to the salon’s high-tech printer and have it transferred directly to your fingers and embellished. Bonus: All of the polishes are Japanese brands with fewer chemicals than their American counterparts.

92 State St., Boston, 857-277-1171, tinailery.com.

Karen Pham’s original designs / Courtesy photo

FOR RAINBOW CHASERS
Treasured Hands

If you want a manicure that’ll last for weeks but don’t have the time to cure your gel polish under a UV light, try the practically unchippable dipping-powder mani at Treasured Hands. Instead of applying liquid color, staffers paint an adhesive on your nails, which are then dipped in a fine colored powder and sealed with a topcoat. With hundreds of shades to choose from, you can have fun experimenting with color trends, painting just the ring finger a different hue or showcasing the whole rainbow on your hand.

15 Boylston St., Boston, 617-236-5529, treasuredhandssalon.com.

FOR PAMPERING WITH YOUR POLISH
Aer Nailbar

The nail art at Aer Nailbar comes with a side of serenity: namely, 15 minutes of neck and shoulder massage as well as a soak featuring the salon’s signature mani-bomb, which is way less threatening than it sounds. When met with water, it fizzes and releases moisturizing oil and natural deodorizers. The talented technicians who hand-draw nail art request that you send along inspiration a week prior—so when you arrive you can sit back, relax, and know your nails are in good hands.

1042 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-505-3600; 47 Lincoln St., Newton, 617-332-2777; aernailbar.com.

FOR TRENDY “COFFIN” NAILS
Boston’s Nails and Spa 

Nail-art fads emerge as frequently as Trump’s tweets. Instead of trying to keep up, schedule a regular appointment at Boston’s Nails and Spa, whose plugged-in techs stay up to speed on the newest trends. The shop boasts a menu of nail extensions to create the popular long, pointy style and such en vogue finishes as chrome, ombre, and matte. And if all of this is outdated by the time you book a session, the salon will hook you up with the latest styles.

665 Boylston St., Boston, 857-233-2325, bostonsnailsandspa.com.

A few of the masterpieces available at Tinailery / Courtesy photo