Beauty / Favourites

Your guide to the best nail salons in Sydney

nail salons

As someone who has sat on both ends of the spectrum, that being chewed-up nails coated in dirt to inch-long talons bulbous with 3D art, life feels a lot easier (and more put together) with a fresh manicure.

Sure, there are moments when I curse the impractical length. They are mostly when I'm trying to peel the sticker off an apple. Those are the times when I think about acrylics as the equivalent of voluntarily putting a dog cone around your neck. But then I ask myself, "what would Cardi B do?" And immediately snap out of it. After all, is there anything that makes you feel like a hot girlie more than the obnoxious tap-tapping of your nails on your phone screen? There's a reason it's a highly-requested trigger in the ASMR world.

Anyway, I digress. What I'm trying to get at is that nail art is a far cry from the days of pharmacy French tip press ons. On Instagram, the creativity of nail technicians is impossible to miss, with celebrity manicurists building followings to rival stylists and makeup artists – as they should.

These days if you wish to keep things short and sweet, you've got plenty of options. Likewise, if you want to amp up your nail game – be it with colour, extensions, texture, volume, nail shapes – there's no better time to make a trip to your nail tech. Speaking of, here are our favourite nail salons in Sydney, to aid you on your nail journey.


1. Jocelyn Petroni


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Where: Woollahra

Meticulous nail care is what you'll get at Jocelyn Petroni – an official Chanel nail expert and long-standing favourite of the RUSSH team. Petroni's eponymous clinic is all about enhancing what already exists, and much of your appointment will focus on building nail health. After all, as Jocelyn Petroni told RUSSH "a manicure is only ever as good as the health of the nails it sits on". Petroni uses Chanel Le Vernis polish to achieve simple yet classic and enduring manicures.


2. Mannequin Hands


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Where: St Peters

Chances are you already know of Mannequin Hands. Its owner, Victoria Houllis, is a weapon when it comes to nails, and her work is always fun, experimental and ahead of the curve. Aside from being skilled at micro-drawings, you'll find interesting 3D styles, along with eye-catching chrome detailed sets and airbrushing. Although you're going to have to love them from afar, Mannequin Hands is notoriously difficult to get an appointment at with books closed to new clients. However, bookings do occasionally come up when clients cancel, so turn on story notifications to snatch one up. Alternatively, you can secure press-ons, as well as cuticle oil and decals on her website.


3. The Waterless Manicure

Where: Eastern Sydney

When RUSSH Editor in Chief Jess Blanch sends you her nail link, you listen. Based in Sydney's East, Tulin comes to you for perfectly private luxury nail care. She uses Hermès polishes exclusively and preps your hands with a roster of the best names in skincare; think Augustinus Bader, Chanel and Sisley.


4. Sets by Onyx


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Where: Sydney

If you're a fan of LA-based nail tech Caroline Cotten and NYC nail artist Mei Kawajiri, then you'll want to get in the books of Claudia Spirou STAT. Working on natural nails and offering gel extensions too, Spirou's work is a colourful smorgasbord of airbrushed talons, dotted with jewels and gel-based texture. We can't look away.


5. Saikou Nails


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Where: Town Hall

Conveniently located a stone's throw from Town Hall station, Yuko has over 10 years experience creating Japanese Gel designs. Her portfolio includes fruit soda jelly sets, gummy bear candy inspired nails, riffs on anime and miniature hand-painted designs. I can't stop looking at this mermaid manicure that takes Hailey Bieber's famous glazed donut set to new heights.


6. Bridget's Nails

Where: Haberfield

Gel queens, meet Bridget's nails. Touting 'Builder In A Bottle' options too, take any inspiration – even, say a still of Maddy's nails in Euphoria – to Bridget and she'll whip up your dream mani every single time. Her Instagram is a trove of hand-painted mismatched patterns, from checkerboard motifs to flames, stars, cow print, smiley faces and butterflies. Her books are currently open for a month in advance, so try your luck now.

7. Zydi Nails

Where: Paddington

For those who like to keep it minimal. Zydi Nails in Sydney's Inner East is all about delicate nails, preferring to file natural ovals shapes only. Open Wednesday through to Friday, this outpost is helmed by Anna who regularly posts her dainty designs on Instagram. If you like Betina Goldstein's work, Zydi Nails is for you.


8. Lily the Nails Lady

Where: Blacktown, St Peters

Splitting her time between Blacktown and Mannequin Hands' studio in St Peters, Lily specialises in gel, BIAB and Russian manicures. While you can trust you'll leave her studio with the freshest set, know that Lily is steadfast in her commitment to caring for your nails too. The transformation photos speak for themselves and if you trust the process, she can bring even the most careworn back from the brink.


9. Miss Betty Rose

Where: Glebe

With more than 2o years experience under her belt, Miss Betty Rose has attracted a roster of high profile clients including Lizzo and Nicole Kidman. If you're booking here, be sure to take advantage of the nail artist's steady hand and eye for detail. We're still thinking about her Basquiat and hentai-inspired sets.


10. Nails Makeup by Julie

Where: Ramsgate

Every few weeks our Content Director Elyssa Kostopoulos rocks up to the office with a shiny new set of nails. Every week we're in awe. It turns out Julie Dovolis is behind those claws – which currently look like a glazed snack à la Hailey Bieber. This nail salon is for the girlies who know what they want, and what they want is clean and classic.

Once you've booked in at one of the best nail salons in Sydney, here are some spring nail trends to get behind. Otherwise, take a look at our nail shape guide.

Stay inspired, follow us.


Sets by Onyx: One & Two

Saikou Nails: Three

Mannequin Hands: Four & Five