Finding the next nail spa for my mani-pedi tour is as easy as taking a stroll down Manhattan Ave. There are two for every block. It was on the early side, before 10am and I walked by the place where I lost my gel manicure virginity. I saw her; Helen at Green Point Nails, Inc. She was cleaning and I wanted her – to do my gel nails proper, but I have a commitment to my nail readers. So I moved on.

I found Lilysa Nails. It was empty, but the lady in charge seemed out of sorts. It’s a new nail joint, clean and lacking in amazing nail posters; they did have a strange hand mannequin.

The lady in charge began my pre-soak and was a little too eager to get me going. Instead of letting the polish melt off, which happens when you leave them soaking longer, she rushed and tried to chip the polish off with a metal tool. I urged her to leave them longer.

After she began my manicure another customer came in and she handed me over to a less experienced, but lovely nail tech named Kelly, whom she guided through the gel manicure process. All in all the manicure was fine, a little messy, but the switch mid nail filing left me with one hand filed round and one hand filed square. First world problems!

The pedicure was okay, but when it came to the scrubbing part it felt like she was using a piece of sandpaper embedded with glass on my legs. Kelly was a little rough but a major sweetheart.


Both gel manicure and pedicure looked good and lasted. I wasn’t impressed with the service and given the many other choices on the block, I don’t think I would go back. It was cheap, though.

This entire process has got me thinking about the environmental and health impacts of the beauty industry, for both the customers and the workers who are exposed to potentially toxic chemicals on a daily basis. I found a really interesting website called Skin Deep that ranks beauty products according to the potential harm they pose to us. Nail polish isn’t that bad for you depending on the brand, but that isn’t where the story ends in a nail salon.

A study was conducted on nail workers in Northern California, and while rates of breast cancer were not higher than the average woman, the workforce is young and monitoring should be continued. The study did find that workers are exposed to higher levels of toluene,  a carcinogen which acutely causes headaches, irritations, and breathing problems. The United States Department of Labor provides guidelines for nail workers to avoid injury and exposure. Whether the workers have access to this information is questionable considering many of the workers I have spoken to have a difficult time speaking English.

Below is a video that explains what chemicals found in beauty products we should avoid and why. For a more in-depth explanation, I highly recommend watching The Story of Cosmetics.

Lilysa Nails
685A Manhattan Ave

Cleanliness: 4/5
Friendliness: 3/5
Quality of mani/ped: 3/5
Value: 5/5
Local Banter: 0/5
Variety of colors: 3/5
Bonus Massage: 2 bonus points – 0/2
No razor was offered.

18/32 points

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  1. I went there on Friday and completely agree with your review. I had the guy and he seemed completely over servicing me. Commented that I had short nails, kept asking over and over if I was sure I wanted my nail color because I picked a neutral shade and quickly flicked the nail polish on my toes. I had to tell them there was still nail showing. You would think with Jennifer’s closed and Honey Spa and Black Pearl having such loyal fan bases, they would raise their customer service bar …

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