I was first introduced to Jin Soon Hand & Foot Spas by my friend Maria from Liz Claiborne. We went to the tiny West Village location on Jones St. between Bleeker and West 4th Street years ago. I remember at the time thinking it was pricey but more than that it was extremely cramped with only two children’s desk stations. I thought it odd and it didn’t feel quite so luxurious. I knew nothing about the salons at the time. Since then, Jin Soon has become an often featured person in the beauty industry, particularly with the resurgence of ‘color’ in nails.
Jin Soon Choi has been dubbed the ‘Nail Guru’ by the New York Times and has become quite famous for translating fashion trends into nail art. She’s the go-to gal of fashion magazine editors. She works with designers and celebrities, often doing nails for runway shows. She launched her own nail polish line in 2012 which is free of harsh chemicals and has a high shine polymer gloss.
One Sunday afternoon after eating at Bobwhite Counter on 6th and Ave C I was headed out shopping in Nolita but felt like getting my first ‘nail art.’ I did a quick google search for good salons nearby and Jin Soon came up first on the list. She has an East Village location at East 4th between Bowery & 2nd Ave so I took a walk over to see if I could get in. The place was amazingly similar to the West Village location with the same tiny space set up with children’s desks as mani stations. Words cannot describe the minuscule size of this salon. People are literally tripping on one another and nail drying machine cords.
They told me only about 5 minutes so I spent the time perusing the gigantic selection of polishes. They carry Jin Soon’s line as well as Nars, Chanel, OPI, Essie, China Glaze and on the list goes right on down to Revlon. I stuck with the Nars & Chanel shelf figuring if I’m spending on the manicure I should go for the expensive polish. Their standard manicure runs $18 and pedicures are $32. I had no idea what my nail art would cost, but went ahead with it.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with the new ‘half moon’ shape so I chose that from her fairly small collection of nail art. I wasn’t up for decals or glitter so I figured keep it simple.
I went online on my iPhone while I waited to see if I could find a color combo I liked when I discovered what I’d call a reverse french manicure with gold outlining the base of the nail and black at the top. I showed the manicurist my photo…
So what I got as an end result was not a half moon nor was it a reverse french manicure, but kind of a geometric gold stripe at the bottom. No complaints, it looks pretty good, but next time I am going to go for the half moon 😉
What I really enjoyed about this manicure was not only the perfect finish and precision work, but the SERIOUS forearm and hand massage. As it happens I am currently in physical therapy for tendonosis in my right hand. $29 might be a little steep for an mani, but with that massage I could easily do this instead of a $60 co-pay physical therapy session (crap insurance) and come out with nice nails for half the price.
So I heard there’s a place called Valley Nails from a friend at work that apparently does some amazing nails as well. I am going to check it out during my little 6 day vacation. I plan to head back to work with another fab new look. This beats my brief 3 month obsession with Shellac, which looked so damn good but destroyed my nails.
This is my first ‘salon services’ write up so I hope all the food fans will bear with me. I’ve been adding a bit more shops as well lately. Both are better for my waistline if not my wallet.
56 East 4th Street – East Village