A fun experience and perfect girls’ day out. Stick with designs the seasonal “lookbook” recommendations. It’s like a fashion line fit for your fingertips.
What to order
Nestled in SoHo, Paintbox is a high-end, modern manicure salon boasting classic colors to custom cuticle art. Their sole location is frequented by NYC’s well-groomed gals. It is constantly booked days in advance.
Money Score: OK
My nail technician was just OK, and I believe you’ll only get your dollar’s worth depending on the number of times you go–and who happens to do your mani. My non-gel manicure took roughly 40 minutes and stayed pretty solid for five days, which I found satisfactory.
However, the price points run higher than comparable luxury salons. Red Door Spa, for example, is charging $28 for Essie manicures; $50 for gel. And you can expect to pay between $70-80 for a mani/combo at most upscale studios.
Here, $68 is the running price for a single design in gel; $58 for polish. A single color? $50 and $35, respectively.
For me, it’s too expensive to do every week, but in a city where people pay $3,000 a month for a studio apartment, 60 bucks is pocket change.
Consciousness Score: Needs improvement
Here, they have some brushing up to do. What is their story? There was no information of this nature on their site. It’s a shame. It’s as if they want to be hiding…
However, their “Nails of New York” blog in the Stories blog section spotlights customer nail tales.
One other thing I wasn’t pleased about: Their lookbook showcases long, beautiful nails, and the same design doesn’t translate for those of us with shorter, rounded fingertips. I’d advise they provide more options for varying nail shapes. It’s like a designer creating clothes for a curvy body; They need a non-size-zero equivalent for nails!
‘All the Feels’ Score: Good
Futuristic and fashion-forward: sleek and minimalistic, with black, white, and wood walls. Round mirrors, bright lights, and Macs heightened the high-tech feel. The exposed brick wall in the back with a large, open window served as an accent, otherwise, the color scheme is bare-bones.
How Paintbox distinguishes itself: Champagne and beverages are served upon arrival, and there is a nail camera right before you exit the service room (so you can immortalize your nail art on Instagram with the Paintbox logo–read: clever marketing).
Stick with what the lookbook recommends for satisfaction (unless you are uber creative!). I chose “Stardust” with sparkles in green, but their current collection (browse online beforehand!) can be custom-tailored to any toenail.
Frills aside, your experience will be made (or not) by your nail technician/designer. The more skilled and service-oriented they are, the better your appointment will be.