Thoroughly Modern Nail Art: Paintbox, Reviewed

Paintbox Geometry Class Manicure with Butter London Primrose Hill Picnic

I was a pretty early adopter to nail art, so it makes sense that I became fatigued by it very quickly - in fact, in recent months, I've been all about a super classic red, orange or pink lacquer for both fingers and toes. But last week, I had drinks with a friend who had the most modern nail art I've seen - a geometric, negative space mani in bold teal. My interest was piqued, and so I booked a subsequent appointment at Paintbox, a newly opened, manicure-only salon in SoHo.

Founded by a longtime beauty editor Eleanor Langston, the Paintbox experience is like no other, even in New York. Modern and well-designed, the salon feels comfortable but luxe. I was greeted with an offer of complimentary iced coffee or champagne, and invited to browse the seasonal Nail Book to choose my design - all created by Creative Director and celebrity manicurist Julie Kandelic. All of the designs felt fresh and unfussy, though selecting my polish color from swatches on a page felt inefficient at best. (Full disclosure: I made my manicurist bring out 5 different polishes so that I could see them in bottle.) 

At the end of the day, I loved the finished manicure and the Paintbox experience - it feels uniquely differentiated from any other salon in Manhattan. That said, I didn't find my manicure 'labor-intensive' enough to warrant the steep price tag of $55 (+ tip, of course).

Paintbox is located at 17 Crosby, near Grand. Manicures range from $35 (for a "Manicure Experience") - $65 (for a "Design Experience" in Gel). To book an appointment, visit