This post came to be because many ladies asked me about the specifics of Japanese nails in Ask Anything. So I thought I’d make a post and hopefully answer a lot of the questions. Thanks everyone for asking, I’m always happy to do requested posts if I have the capability to do so :heartsmile:
Make an appointment!!
Walk-ins are incredibly unheard of and I promise you will win the award of super horrible gaijin if you do so. Even if you walk-in, try to make an appointment in person for the next day instead.
Show up exactly on time!!
Too early and the staff feel rushed and it will unsettle the atmosphere. If you’re late it’s beyond unheard of. Apologize profusely. Lateness is considered a horrible trait.
At your appointment:
When you show up you will probably be asked to sit in the waiting area (usually small) and possibly asked if you’d like a drink. Usually it’s the choice of cold or hot tea.
Most beauty places give you a locker or ask to take your bag. Or they will give you a small wooden basket for you to put your bag in. Go with the flow and let them take it or stow it.
You will be given a small lap blanket. No matter the weather or the inside temp. Let it drape on you, this is to keep your outfit clean while the nailist works on you.
Nails take quite an amount of time. I’ve taken as long as 4 hours to remove + sand + new set. Nail places allow for these long chunks of time. Once you are there they will make the upmost effort not to make you feel rushed.
Choosing your set or style
Nails are designed in steps.
First you choose the color of your acrylic (or gel). In every case of nail salons I’ve been to it’s a board of colors with sparkle or no sparkle. Colored acrylics are always in Japanese nail salons. However, if you’re considering putting nail polish on all your nails (not french or bare) then choose the non-colored cheapest acrylics since colors do cost more.
2. LENGTH and SHAPE
Secondly they will ask length (どんぐらいですか don gurai desu ka?) and shape （形 かたち katachi). Nails are always done on forms not TIPS! I know tips are very common in American nail salons, but most Japanese nail salons do not do tips.
Forms often have either numbers or letters on them. Carry’s forms have S-M-L. So you just say エスで / S de / I want S or エスとエム中で / S to M naka de / Between S and M.
Then they will ask shape which is either:
OVAL / オバール
SQUARE / スクエア
SQUARE OFF (square but rounded at the ends) / スクエアオフ
ROUND / ラウンド
POINT / ポイント.
While they’re doing this process you will have time to consider your design. All nail shops have photobooks of their favorite nails. Carry’s is full of models showing off their nails with Kanako, Kaoru, Romihi, Rumi, Nana all posing in their books with their new nails. Books always contain a nail shop’s selection of current nail trends and prized nail art.
Carry also had boards of their newest designs. When a nailist at Carry isn’t with a client they’re usually working on a nail tip to make new designs.
Please remember that the more work parts/stones/paint jobs you do, the more expensive it will be. For a first time into a shop there’s always a discount, but do expect to pay around $100 USD+.
Once you decide your design, the nailist with double check everything with you from color to shape. Each time you are slowly walked through the process.
4. GEL COAT
Once everything decided and your nails are finished, they will ask if you want a gel coat. A gel coat is necessary if you have parts on your nails. It’s a stiff outer coat that keeps jewels or big parts from falling off. Even in Houston my salon does a gel coat to keep my parts on and together.
In Japan the gel is thick and heavy and takes a while for it to be painted on each nail and set under a UV lamp.
5. OIL FINISH
Once it’s set, the technician will usually ask if you’d like OIL or LOTION to use for your cuticles. OIL is the most common. RoungE has scented ones you can choose, Carry just has simple OIL.
6. AFTER NAILS
You will commonly be asked if you’d like a drink. Your choice is usually hot or cold tea. They will lead you into the paying area and you can relax while they work up your bill. If you have a point card they will ask for that and possibly give you a discount.
For Ask Anything, Maki asked if it’s okay to bring designs.
Yes: If they’re generic and not from a rival store.
Yes: If they’re hand drawn.
Since I was a Political Science major I was stuck in a lot of lectures. Some of which by senior year I was used to hearing, so I would often draw nail designs in class. I think my notes are 80% nail designs and 20% actual classwork. Sigh I’m a slacker student
I would bring these to Carry and we’d discuss them. I think my conversational level is passable, but it’s definitely easier for me to communicate through drawings. Especially when talking about specific work. Admittedly I would often come in with a design and instantly change it when I saw their new work, or something in their nail book that caught my eye. Too much eyecandy!
When I went to RoungE I simply said 私の誕生日のネイルだからきれいな姫になりたいです aka They’re my birthday nails so I want them to be for a beautiful princess.
Two popular gal nail shops are RoungE and Carry. Both are located in Shibuya although they have multiple locations. Models from all the gal magazines go to either of them.
Map and picture taken from their website. See how close it is to 109 A ton of este places are
RoungE is a bigger studio with several nailists. Their set-up is the popular one with larger nail places. You’re given a comfortable chair and a mini TV with local channels in front of you. The nailist works on either side of you. While I found the TV nice and distracting, with 15+ people all using their TVs and controlling the volume it can be a bit of a noisefest. I watched Detective Conan when I was there LOL. I’m not a big anime lover, but lol Japanese TV not much on sometimes
While RoungE is capable of extreme nail art, their speciality is doing simple and elegant nails. Which is sometimes my theme, but not always. I also felt the kneeling beside me to do my nails was a bit princessy in an uncomfortable way. It was hard to discuss anything with someone sitting in a tiny chair next to you like Mini Me
ikebukuro address: 東京都豊島区池袋２-44-2 ITSビル3F
ikebukuro hotpepper with map and coupon: http://beauty.hotpepper.jp/kr/slnH000043673/
shibuya address: 東京都渋谷区道玄坂２-25-9 ロマーネ80-3Ｆ
shibuya hotpepper with map and coupon: http://beauty.hotpepper.jp/kr/slnH000113780/
Carry is my preferred nail salon and if you’ve read the Doll you know I’m a junkie for them. At the Ikebukuro and Shibuya salons both ladies are quite wonderful. Gals of all types go in there, and it’s just gal. Agejo hostesses to shy teens getting their first set. I can safely say it’s one of the places within the gal world I’ve felt the most comfortable. I may be a gaijin but through frequent visits I was THEIR gaijin.
Carry also has the more typical nail salon set-up you’re used to in the States with a table and you’re facing your nailist. Carry shops are very small, just 6 seats available for people to get work done. It’s an intimate atmosphere and fuels conversation. I talked my nailist, customers next to me and other nailists. I really miss that place. :upheart:
In both salons they have a large flatscreen mounted. They either play music video dvds (like Koda Kumi, Ayumi Hamasaki and Exile.) The Shibuya manager loves hiphop so often they play hip hop dvds (censored of course). Sometimes they show movies on silent and pump in recorded music from LA Radio stations. I’ve never heard Japanese music on their radios.
Carry is expensive, probably moreso than regular salons. Although Carry specializes in the things gals like: long nails, several parts, large stones, custom 3-d work, and more. These things add up. For me I was happy to eat horribly cheap for 2 weeks in order to afford it. It was also a great conversation piece with shop staff and such.
Learn through nails
Here is a nail dictionary in Japanese of different nail terms used in salons. It’s quite a lovely website in general to check out if you’re nail obsessed.
Below are some simple phrases to practice when thinking about getting nails done at a salon. You will not get by with just these, but it helps to become familar with them :heartsmile:
Yoyaku iretain desu ga
I’d like to make an appointment.
Atrashii setto hoshi desu.
I’d like a new set.
Kore to Kore dochira houga ii desu ka?
Which one (of the two) do you think is better?
Neiru no shashin arimasu ka?
Do you have any photos of nails?