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Nail Salons in and near San Francisco, CA

If you live in San Francisco, you know that there are hundreds of nail salons, some just doors away from each other. So it can be hard to find your ideal nail salon in San Francisco. To help you narrow down your choices, we created a list of some of our favorite nail salons and spas across the city.

Quince Spa

Location: Potrero Hill

 

Jack Skellington nails for Halloween. Rose-gold chrome polish. Gels festooned with tiny, gold chevron patterns. Shattered-glass nails. It seems like you can throw anything at the nail technicians at Quince, and they’ll be able to execute it.

 

While you wait, you can flip through the piles of magazines in a comfy lounge, outfitted with throw pillows and blankets. Or browse the rack of Havaianas to slip on post pedicure.

How Long Will Your Manicure Last?

 

  • Standard manicure: three days to a full week
  • Shellac or gel manicure: up to two weeks
  • Vinylux manicure: 7–10 days
  • Acrylics: about two weeks, then you’ll need a fill in

Tip: Extend your manicure’s life by adding cuticle oil and wearing gloves while doing manual labor or washing dishes.

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Nails by Kiet

Location: South San Francisco


Nails by Kiet seems like an unassuming nail salon in South San Francisco. In fact, it’s actually a quaint little spot next to a gas station. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but it’s one of the most well-regarded nail salons in the Bay Area. This is where beauty industry women send their friends for custom acrylics designed by a man who takes his time to craft what can only be considered works of art. It can be hard to snag an appointment with Kiet, but his partner is just as capable.

How Acrylics Are Applied

 

Step 1: Nails are cleaned, filed, and shaped.

Step 2: A nail extension is glued on and cut down to the desired length.

Step 3: An acrylic mixture is applied on top. Thin coats of the formula bond the natural nail and fake nail together.

Step 4: The acrylic nail is buffed, filed into the preferred shape, and then buffed some more. Electric files and buffers are often used during this step.

Step 5: Nail polish and a top coat goes on. Optional nail designs and 3D decorations may be added.

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Cocoon Urban Day Spa

Location: SoMa


Our customers love this SoMa day spa, so much so that it’s on our article The Most Beloved Salons and Best Spas in America. The mani-pedis here are luxe, but more importantly, they’re very clean. The salon is actually part of the Healthy Nail Salon Program run by the San Francisco Department of the Environment. That means you can expect to find safer practices, less toxic products, and better ventilation. For instance, Cocoon has a hospital-grade autoclave to sanitize its tools. Plus, its nail files and buffers are never reused—clients get to take them home.

Nail Salon Etiquette Basics

 

  • Tip 15%–20% for good service.
  • It’s totally fine to show up with old polish on; it’s expected if it’s gel polish.
  • Don’t worry about shaving your legs, the techs probably won’t even notice.
  • It’s fine to ask for a fix if you chip your polish leaving the salon, but try to hang out for a bit afterward to minimize the risk of accidental nicks.
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