Review: The Nail Spa - Bluewater

Review: The Nail Spa – Bluewater


The Nail Spa Review – Bluewater Shopping Centre

Service: Full Set Acrylic Extensions [French finish]
Price: £32  [advertised £28 in window]
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

False nails are a last resort for me. I’ve been painting on natural nails for about three years now and I like to keep it that way if I can. Over the winter we had many viruses lurking about and tonsillitis hit me for five to six weeks. During that time I had some very kind sponsors waiting for reviews and so the moment I was finally ready to begin filming, the nails on my ‘good’ hand shattered while trying to fix a PC. Having planned the filming for the next day and not wanting to keep the sponsors waiting even more weeks for the nails to grow back, I decided to rush out and try The Nail Spa at my local shopping centre. I thought this would be a simple and quick solution so that I could begin swatching as soon as possible.

As I walked through the doorway I was greeted by.. well, no one. I stood there for a a few minutes which immediately made me feel as though I were intruding and began to feel a little awkward. Along the left side of the salon there were pedicure benches with one lady sat there having her feet soaked, and along the other side, a manicure bench running the length of the salon with about 4 manicurists working away on a selection of acrylic extensions, removals and gel applications.


Having caught the eye of the lady closest to the reception desk for the third time, she finally made some sort of noise at me. Above the noise of the salon I can only imagine this was something along the lines of ‘what do you want?’. I replied to her that I was hoping to have acrylic extensions, to which she made a nodding movement. I took from this that it was my cue to go and perch on one of the three stools lined up against the wall by the window for an unknown period of time. I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to observe and learn from professionals as they work, however there is no actual way of knowing if they are even professionals. The distraction was short-lived. I waited about 15 minutes before, once again, the lady spoke to me, and once again, I had no idea what she was saying. Perhaps I am half deaf or the general noise of the salon was just too loud but it certainly added to me feeling a little intimidated, especially when the rest of the time the staff were talking amongst themselves in a language that wasn’t English. Her gestures indicated that I was being called over to one of the chairs along the table, then waited another 10-15 minutes for someone to be available to perform the service (it’s okay, I had the OPI manicure video on loop, and a whole wall of polishes to look at to keep me entertained).


A young lady sat down to begin the work. No client consultation or any talk except for the basics, making sure of what finish I wanted (french). She began by using the nail buffing tool on my nails only to realise that there was still some other polish on the fingers, so with a sigh, half heartedly removed them with some polish remover. After some more scary tool zjushing later, she wiped them then prepared and applied the nail tips. My last memory of having nail tips fitted is clearly very out of date as I remember when they had to glue the tips on then file them with the tool again to match them down to the level of the nail (damaging the nail plate in the process). This wasn’t the case and they now come in white and don’t need any filing down onto the nail plate once affixed, hooray. Now I had some terrifyingly long claws attached and felt like the lady on the click-bait adds; ‘This lady has never cut her nails!’. To my extreme relief, this moment was only brief and she cut them right down and began working on the acrylic layer. Now, for me, this was the most unpleasant moment and possibly one of the reasons I really dislike getting my nails done by someone else. Relax the hand! The more someone tells me to relax the more tense I tend to become and I concentrate so hard to let the fingers go floppy so that the manicurist can do their job. Nothing was good enough for this lady. The position that I was in was not very comfortable in the first place, then that combined with the visible and auditory frustrations of the lady applying the acrylic, made for an unpleasant experience. To be fair I do feel sorry for her as she had to ask me to relax the fingers more than once, but not once did she ask in any kind of pleasant or polite manner. I half expected her to roll her eyes at me. At one point she twisted my finger round in such a rough movement that it cracked and it bordered on painful. Some buffing, filing, washing and a top coat later, I was out of there and relief washed over me.

I left the salon with some very shiny, strong nails and the overwhelming feeling that I had massively inconvenienced the staff just by paying them money for a service that they were offering. The quality of the nails looked great at a distance but on closer inspection there were several air bubbles within the acryic. French finish only required the painting of one layer of OPI Top Coat over the acrylic so I’m unsure why they added on £4 to the advertised price of £28 for a set in the window. To be honest, I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible so I couldn’t be bothered to find out.

The next morning my nails just hurt, there are no two ways about it, they were throbbing with pain. My assumption is that the nails were being pulled to the shape of the acrylic, which they were not used to, having not had plastic nails for a couple of years now. The only way to ease this seemed to be to have a bath and make sure to soak them in the warm water for a long time. After this, they were absolutely fine. A couple of nails began to lift from the edges after a few days but that was nothing major. They lasted well until I removed them myself at home after two weeks.

If you are looking for an ’emergency’ set of nails in a rush with no choice, this is a great option to have as the store times are very long (open until 10am-9pm weekdays) and the queue times are not terrible. The prices are standard, but from a customer service perspective do not expect to be treated with any form of kindness or respect. You could pay the same and get far better treatment in a salon but I suppose at The Nail Spa you pay that price for the convenience, not the customer service.


I loved having acrylics for a bit though, clacking them on every service is so theraputic!


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