Pastel Nails — Salon Review

I tried out Pastel Nails, a salon with decent Yelp reviews in my neck of the woods, hoping it would be my new once-a-month hangout.


The atmosphere is better than what you would expect, considering its location — an unassuming strip mall on Melrose. The interior is open and airy with a green and pink color scheme. The light fixtures and other design elements are definitely on the girly side; a feminine space, to be sure. There are some manicure tables along one side of the salon for those who are getting manicures only. Spa lounges are arranged along the opposite wall.

Color Selection

Pastel Nails has a sizeable collection of colors; a good combination of OPI and Essie, including new collections. They have a wide array of gels to choose from, too.

Service & Skill

The service is difficult to review, since there was very little of it. My pedicure was pretty good, and I was satisfied with it. My manicure, on the other hand, was a very different story.

Looking back, I see that my polish removal was foreshadowing what was to come. I was wearing a denim blue polish... and I still am wearing some on a couple of my cuticles, because it was not properly removed. And speaking of my cuticles, what happened in that regard is what made me sigh to myself, "Yes, a review. A review must be made."

I was cut during the cuticle trimming process. I understand that mistakes sometimes happen; I've cut my own cuticles on occasion. But I was cut twice, on two different fingers. And that doesn't seem like an isolated incident. What that sounds like to me is carelessness.

My middle finger bled enough to fill the space between my nail and my skin. I wasn't gushing blood by any means, but the bleeding was definitely noticeable. I wondered to myself, what would she do? There's a little potion you can put on wounds like that to clot the blood very quickly. She did not opt for that. Instead, she cleaned my bleeding fingers off with acetone. You know the old phrase, "like salt in a wound?" Yeah, it felt a little like that. (And, as a side note, there was no apology uttered; no eye contact; no speaking at all, actually.)

And the paint job... was messy. The amount of polish that made it onto the skin surrounding my nails can only be described as "unprofessional."  Sometimes manicurists move fast with lacquer, but come back around with a small brush to clean up. Not this time. And the top coat was OPI, which is fine, but the product in the bottle was so thick and tacky, it looked like hot glue. Unsurprisingly, my manicure was left looking very bubbly.

I looked back at an old post of mine, and the following quote haunts me...

 One of my special hatreds is paying for a professional manicure and, when it’s complete, examining it to find that I could have done a better job myself. For free.

When the salon owner passed by me, I called her over, saying "Excuse me?" She came to my chair and stood expectantly. I held out my hand. "This manicure... was not very good. There is a lot of polish on my skin — can you see? — and I was cut two times." She examined my fingers and said, "I can do clean-up for you, but I can't do anything about the cuts." And with that, she dipped her thumbnail in acetone, used it to get rid of a paint spot I'd pointed out to her... and walked away. Um, case closed I guess?


Pastel Nails is $30 for a manicure pedicure combo.


I cannot recommend Pastel Nails to anyone.

Stay Shiny, Francesca

Bellacures: Larchmont Village — Salon Review

Bellacures invited me to try out a complimentary service at one of their eight locations in Los Angeles so that I could tell you guys all about it. Get ready for the scoop!


One of the things that sets Bellacures apart from your average nail salon is the quality of the interior. The color scheme is a collection of soothing greens and taupes with warm maple accents.

The chairs are not the semi-controversial, whirling spa chairs; they are oversized, microsuede armchairs filled with accent pillows. To sit in a Bellacures chair is to feel enveloped by complete comfort. I also like that for a pedicure, they bring over a little green bucket and have sterilized tools. You can feel safe from fungi and the other gross varmints said to lurk in spa chairs when you're here. :)

The walls are used as space to display the pricing list and proudly show off framed PR mentions — of which there are many. Bellacures receives accolades on the reg.

The music selection was really great; it sounded like they were using Pandora or Sirius XM because I don’t remember hearing any commercials; just some fun Frank Sinatra, summery instrumentals, and contemporary (but not headache-inducing pop) hits.

The clientele was well-heeled — literally. I went to the Larchmont Village location, and if you’re an LA local, then you know that Hancock Park is a little hoighty-toighty. This is a place that caters to Ladies Who Lunch. The woman who sat beside me looked exactly like Bunny, Charlotte’s vile ex-mother-in-law from Sex and the City.

Color Selection

Bellacures has an incredible array of colors. It puts my personal stash to shame. One of the things that my inner goddess… I mean, control freak loved to see was that the bottles are organized by color. Look at how beautiful! They even have a great selection of gels. Professional pastels, bold plums and pinks, on-trend neons… you want it, they’ve got it.


The service was fantastic. The entire staff was incredibly friendly. I know there are some cold, unfriendly salons out there where you feel as if you are an intruder; other salons have a detached, sanitized quality to them. Bellacures on Larchmont was a cheerful place, and I could feel it in the air.


One of my special hatreds is paying for a professional manicure and, when it’s complete, examining it to find that I could have done a better job myself. For free.

That was not the case here at Bellacures. The manicurist who worked with me was definitely a pro. My only critique was that the cuticle cleanup was a little too thorough; a little too much was cleaned up. My nails grow pretty fast, so although it’s only Day Four of my manicure, the grow out looks like Day Six. Just something to watch out for. That said, the cleanup did look really nice on Day One. For people with normal nails, this is probably a benefit. For me and my talons… well, we have special needs.


Bellacures is not cheap. In fact, it’s tempting to call Bellacures overpriced. I’m sure there are plenty of salons in the city that may have higher prices... Then again, there are probably thousands that charge significantly less.

I do, however, think that the old adage is usually true — you get what you pay for.  Although Bellacures is more costly than other salons, it is also better staffed, better stocked and better looking.


Although Bellacures is too expensive to be my regular once-a-month haunt, it is a salon I will consider for special events from time to time. For example, if I were going to treat a friend to a birthday gift card for a mani/pedi, I’d consider Bellacures for sure.

Check out to find the closest location to your neck of the woods, plus a full list of services, the company's back story and more.

Stay Shiny, Francesca


It was an evening... of enchantment. An off-the-cuff suggestion from a friend to do some shopping after work led to the discovery of a fantastic sample sale — complete with DJ, champagne (gratis, mais oui) and KLEUR.

Like KLEUR on Facebook; they post awesome new designs every day, if you're craving inspiration. And if you're here in Los Angeles, then get going! Let's support these talented local artisans. You can find KLEUR at 1520 North Cahuenga in Hollywood, right across from Umami Burger.

xxo, Francesca