First published on 29 Jun 2012. Updated on 4 Jul 2012.
Ladyfinger – $12.85
Ladyfinger is a slick salon with six branches across town. The Tiong Bahru branch is packed with bright young things on the go, though the express side of ‘express manicure’ was taken a little too literally on our visit – the manicure only took five minutes, with a below-average paint job. Apart from the colour, we couldn’t see much improvement in our nails.
#01-56 Tiong Bahru Plaza, 302 Tiong Bahru Rd (6377 1711, www.ladyfinger.com.sg). MRT: Tiong Bahru. Mon-Fri 11am-10pm; Sat & Sun 10am-10pm.
DD Nails – $12 (BEST VALUE)
In a shophouse across from Tiong Bahru MRT, the narrow DD Nails is named after the smiley symbols, which gives you an idea of the cutesy, glittery Asian style at this ‘nail haven’. Nevertheless, it’s one of the best-value nail salons in town. Charming young staff greet you and happily chat about their services, involving a rainbow of nail colours and over 200 gels. The express service is thorough, with a cuticle clean-up – meaning we do indeed leave smiling.
#02-01 Block 18, Jln Membina (6274 1223). MRT: Tiong Bahru. Daily 11am-9pm.
The Nail Studio – $18
The Nail Studio in Orchard Towers is almost as much of an institution as the building it’s housed in. Sugar, the owner, has been doing nails for over 20 years, and the service here is just about worth the higher-than-average $18 price tag – just don’t be shy to ask for more than a shape and a paint. All the staff are well trained, and can do good-quality classic manis and pedis too.
#01-15 Orchard Towers, 400 Orchard Rd (6733 3607). MRT: Orchard. Daily 10.30am-7pm.
Pretty 360 – $12 (BEST HIDDEN HAVEN)
Soft, atmospheric music and friendly staff make this salon a real haven on the fifth floor of the Singapore Shopping Centre. They take their hygiene seriously, with the equipment cleaned and sprayed several times in front of you, and the 30- to 40-minute manicure is carefully and professionally done. The colour selection is more limited than other salons, sticking to the classics.
#05-25 Singapore Shopping Centre, 190 Clemenceau Ave (6337 5360). MRT: Dhoby Ghaut. Daily 11am-9pm.
A Fond Spa – $28 (BEST FOR LUXE)
A Fond Spa is an oasis in Chinatown (they have another branch in Holland Village), and the ritziest of all the salons we visited, with its authentic oriental decor. Though as much about other spa services (they specialise in couples’ treatments), the express manicure is top quality – in a private room with two wood-carved chairs, the 30-minute shape, buff and finish is topped off with a quick hand massage. Check the website before heading off, as they’re looking to relocate to another address on South Bridge Road. Score 3/5
293 South Bridge Rd (6836 0676, www.afondspa.com). MRT: Chinatown. Mon-Fri 11am-9pm; Sat & Sun 10.30am-6.30pm.