Vegan manicure bridal nails

Review: cruelty-free manicure at Still London

Cool, kind and beautiful - the east London salon that'll leave you with perfect w-day nails and a true sense of zen

I’d never had a manicure before I visited Still London, a stylish salon in Dalston, east London, that focuses on cruelty- and toxic-free beauty. And I’m glad I waited because, well, my first time was rather special.

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The perfectly styled Still London
The perfectly styled Still London

The boutique salon opened earlier this year, with a quest to meet the growing demand for vegan, cruelty-free and natural nail treatments, and a focus on wellness. It is small and perfectly formed, with gloriously trendy interiors filled with succulents, marble, beautiful products and an incredible scent (Angan’s Seaweed Bathsalts smells just magical) that welcomes and calms while you sit back and have your nails prepped for the big day. And, with reiki, massage and facials on the treatment menu, as well as laid-back surrounds, it’s an ideal space to unwind, too.

Find your pre-wedding zen with a reiki or massage treatment
Find your pre-wedding zen with a reiki or massage treatment

Why toxic-free?

Not only are chemical-free nail polishes kinder on our nails, but they’re also free from toxins such as formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP), and toluene – meaning that traces of this ‘toxic trio’ won’t be absorbed into your nails. In fact, the products used at Still are free from all 10 of the mind-bogglingly long-named chemicals commonly found in polishes. They’re also vegan, meaning they don’t contain any ingredients derived from animals – and aren’t tested on animals. I’m sold.

Still London Shot by Polly Smith
Unique nail art is a fun way to match your w-day styling (photo by Polly Smith)
Bridal makeup

The manicure

My mission was to give my tired, stress-bitten nails a makeover, but as a nail novice, I had no idea what I needed. Do I go gel or standard polish? What’s the difference, anyway, and how long will it last? I had a holiday and events coming up, so I opted for gels because, as my therapist informed me, they can remain perfectly intact for several weeks – and sometimes longer if you treat your nails right (as opposed to a week with normal polish). This makes gels an ideal choice to see you from wedding day through to end of honeymoon – assuming you’re going right away. If you want something different from the standard French manicure, why not match your nails with your wedding decor or bouquet? The salon also does a fine line in nail art – so I opted for something ‘arty’.

The results of the manicure
The results: nail art using Orly polish and gold leaf

Surrounded by crystals, I unwound as my therapist prepped and shaped my nails, and applied polishes by Kure Bazaar and Orly, including a carefully applied gold leaf. In under an hour, I went from dull and plain to stylish and artistic. And within 24 hours, I’d already received so many comments on my mini works of art.

A classic bridal manicure that'll last for weeks
A classic bridal manicure that’ll last for weeks

Endurance tested

My nails lasted a whole month and I seriously put them through the mill. They survived playing the guitar (and me naughtily clipping my talons down to do so), intense house cleaning (the type where a carload of visitors are on their way) and three days of sea swimming. After the third week, the gel started to lift, but this could have been avoided by wearing marigolds while I scrubbed.

Enjoy a luxe pedicure using gorgeous Angan products
Enjoy a luxe pedicure using gorgeous Angan products

If you’re looking for a bridal manicure, something fun for your hen, or simply a rejuvenating treatment, free from toxins, and safe in the knowledge that no animals were harmed in the prepping of your beauty, then Still London is just the place. Manicures start from £18, still-london.com

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