Long live the pedicure!

For the past year and a half, I have been on the hunt for a good pedicure in Rome. Every few months, I’d do a bit of recon, popping in a salon for a "curative" pedicure-- paring the snake skin, converting hooves into feet and adding new epoxy-like paint job in red or fuschia. And I’d always leave frustrated, nostalgic for the quick, cheap and easy mani-pedi lifestyle I led in Los Angeles.

Unfortunately for most manicurists and pedicurists, I am deathly ticklish, and worse yet, I am hyper—critical, from the selection of nail polish to the technique used to paint the nail. Over the past 18 months, I’ve noticed that Italian manicurists and pedicurists don’t always like to coat the entire nail, leaving the sides exposed and clear. This really pisses me off, but it doesn’t always happen. Happily, some do paint the entire nail, yet don’t use more than one coat of polish (?), and often times, omit the top clear, protective coat (??). And I’ve learned that not every salon is like the paint department at Home Depot, with hundreds of fresh and durable colors.

As my mom says, it never hurts to ask—for another coat, a protective clear polish or a different fuschia that isn’t gunky. And its okay to BYOP (bring your own polish). But if I don’t like the technique, I don’t like it. So I’ve hired myself as my own manicurist. Three hours in the bathroom and several fights with color stains has been a bi-monthly ritual since late 2003. I suck.

Yep, months of research have surfaced two nail salons that not just focus on excellent “American” style manicures and pedicures they cater utterly and completely to the client.

For the “I love to spoil myself” gal or guy—
Enhancements, via Umbria 13b, 06 42013496
A mod nail salon by Piazza Barberini, open form 10 to 7 (no break), Mondays through Saturdays. The relaxing minimalist design (sparsely decorated white walls, floor and furniture) is a nice contrast with the luxe attention and nail treatments—more than 20 different pedicures and manicures styles including a champagne pedicure. Each pedicure station (4) is equipped with DVD player and a selection of shows, if you don’t feel like chitchatting with Marcella (the manager) or one of her five manicurists. Colors are Essie and OPI, and Enhancements also has it own line of creams and oils.

For “Let’s just get it done right” gal or guy—
Nail Bar, via Giulia 72, 06 6838911
A bit smaller than Enhancements, Nail Bar offers the same, great nail techniques in a more intimate space. Located in the Campo de’ Fiori neighborhood, Nail Bar is open from 9 am to 8 pm (no break), Mondays through Saturdays. Owner Loredana, Sicilian, was schooled in Germany in the fine art of American nail painting—sounds crazy but she’s great. And she does quick repairs as well. Nail Bar’s color selection is good, just not as vast as Enhancements.