It’s not easy getting in the door at Valley Nail-Wax. Sure, the salon “welcomes” walk-ins, but it hardly ever has openings; reservations are booked well in advance, especially for Valley’s coveted nail art appointments. But nothing worth having ever comes easy, and an original commission by the artists is definitely worth it. Inside the cozy, low-ceilinged Nolita salon, two neat rows of technicians painstakingly apply tiny brushstrokes to nail plate canvases with the attention and intensity of ancient clockmakers. They do it all—French manicure, reverse French, chevron, tulip, ombré, glitter, 3D. You want nails inspired by Warhol, Mondrian, Banksy, Keith Haring? Rest your wrists on the terry cloth, and watch your ragged excuses for cuticles get trimmed and your nails buffed, oiled, lacquered with several layers of gel polish, and transformed into masterpieces so pretty you’ll be tempted to seal them in a glass sphere like J.P. Prewitt, the world’s greatest hand model.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 16, 2013