Nail art has become the shiny new ammo in a savvy fashionista’s arsenal, providing one more outlet for expressing style and personality. And while dressing up one’s nail beds is anything but new, it has become a formidable craze in the wake of Japanese trends (as seen on Tumblr and Pinterest) and various celebrity endorsements (Rihanna, Zooey Deschanel and Nicki Minaj are fans, to name a few).
Two Brown Eyed Girls, a newish nail art salon on Sepulveda just south of Santa Monica Boulevard, has brought nail art to L.A.’s West Side (and has made it affordable for the average consumer). I checked them out after seeing a friend post a photo of her fancy manicure on Facebook; having never seen nail art on a non-celeb’s nails, I was intrigued.
I walked in on a Saturday without an appointment and was surprised to find they were able to accommodate me. The salon is open and bright, decorated mostly in white. One of the co-owners, Victoria Pavia, greeted me immediately and helped me decide on a polish type (gel, $45) and color. She then showed me their book of nail art, featuring everything from 3D add-ons to hand-painted designs. Prices for art start at $3 per nail and get higher from there, depending on intricacy or materials used (their crystals are Swarovski, for example).
A major pro of TBEG is that Pavia and her technicians pride themselves on cushiness and cleanliness: customers are offered something to drink (I recommend the cucumber water) and then asked to wash their hands before sitting down. Each manicure yields a freshly sanitized set of tools (“Don’t let other salons fool you,” Pavia says. “A lot of times they’ll crack open a new set in front of you to make you think they clean them, but you should always ask to see their Autoclave sterilizer”).
The technicians are meticulous—a plus if you know what you’re walking into, but not ideal if you’re short on time. The first manicure I got only required art on one nail, but the whole shebang still took an hour and a half. The second time, I got a minimalistic design on all of my nails, and I was there for two hours and fifteen minutes. It’s a long service, sure, but Pavia says it is part of their shtick. “This isn’t a place where you can get in and out,” she says. “The designs these technicians do require time and precision. But we can guarantee you’ll be happy with it, and it will last.”