Rose says: "It goes without saying that my manicure was perfect (I went for vintage half-moons and crimson nails). The salon smelled like flowers and made me feel like I was about to model for Vogue. However, being in the heart of the CBD, the salon caters for the suited and booted crew – some whom may have lost touch with how much things cost in the outside world. My nails cost about three times the amount I’d ever feel comfortable paying ordinarily. For that price, I'd have liked a longer hand massage! Luxury’s guaranteed at Miss Fox – as is a fab result – but be prepared to spend big."
Visit Miss Fox at Levels 1-3, 285 Little Collins St, Melbourne. We paid: $120 for manicure and half moon finish.
Emily says: "To be fair, Tips and Toes is known for its quick manis, not nail art. Knowing there’d be limitations, I went for something minimal with a bit of sparkle (a French manicure and a bit of bling). It’s pretty kitsch in here, what with the bright pink walls and plastic chandeliers, but I like a retro fitout. The result was a bit too ’80s wedding for mine, but it was quick, simple and cheap. The approach here is more business than pleasure, but half its beauty is the no-frill approach. Best for a quick, reliable polish."
Visit Tips and Toes at Shop G05/261, Clarendon St, South Melbourne. We paid: $30.
Meg says: "I was a bit nervous, not knowing whether the shop was named tongue in cheek. I’m no trophy wife. Thankfully, it catered for my kind and my new nails are like a vibrant, animal-print party. Mostly using Aussie brand Kester Black, it’s a low toxic environment and we’re pretty sure the salon’s got good feng shui – it’s jungle-full of plants."
Visit Trophy Wife Nail Art at 2B Bridge Rd, Richmond. We paid: $50 for five different designs.
Elise says: "I came here for classy, asymmetrical patterns in block colours (navy and nude). The salon’s all about high-end nail luxury: the outfit belongs in an architectural mag and the mani comes with a warm ocean water soak with pure essential oils, a hand massage with an aromatic vanilla moisturiser and a green tea cuppa. In a reassuring move, I got my own file and orange stick (which you can take home) and all polishes are five-free."
Visit Missy Lui at 1/1161 High St, Armadale. We paid: $38. Nail art varies from $7-$10 depending on design.
Other places we recommend
Sarah says: "The shop’s run by sisters Rohani and Rosalie Osman. They have loads of designs, a sensational colour palette, give a good hand massage and use mostly five-free polishes (no toluene, DBP, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin or camphor)."