Let me preface this by saying I’m a totally girly girl, and I love being pampered. I love my manicures, pedicures, and massages, and just about any spa treatment you can think of.
When I was invited on the pedicure tour to review CC Nails, in Hillsborough, I jumped at the chance!
I had never been to CC Nails before. The cost of just a pedicure is $30, which I found to be a bit high. Many salons in the Hillsborough area charge $20 - $25, so I wondered what made their pedicure worth more. It's $38 for a mani/pedi combo, $12 for just a manicure at the salon.
When I walked in, it seemed like a typical nail salon atmosphere with six light green leather massage chair pedicure stations, many manicure tables, and a waiting area where customers could browse through magazines and pick out polishes. There was also a large drying area, complete with drying lights and fans, that could seat six people comfortably—you don’t have to bump elbows with the person next to you. The salon was average in size, and they had enough nail stations to accommodate multiple appointments comfortably.
One thing I noticed right away was that there was no harsh chemical smell which sometimes permeates nail salons that do acrylic and other types of nails. I was very glad about that.
I was impressed that they used solely high quality nail polishes in the latest shades of OPI and Essie, two premium brands known for being chip resistant. The polishes were sorted by color, too, which was very helpful, rather than having to hunt for a specific shade. I was looking for a certain red, and I had an easy time comparing the darker and lighter versus brighter and more muted tones since they were side-by-side.
One customer walked in while I was waiting for my partners-in-pedicure to arrive, and told the manager she wanted to try a color from the new fall color collection. The manager knew exactly what she was talking about and showed her select shades of the latest collection OPI has to offer. It’s a great way to sample the latest shades while they’re current. I find it frustrating when I go to a salon and they don’t feature the latest season’s nail colors.
Audrey, Eileen, and I arrived on time and the three nail techs were ready for us and did not keep us waiting for our simultaneous appointments. In addition, the manager wore a wireless phone headset so she could give customers her undivided attention without pausing in the middle of their salon experience to answer the phone.
Warm water filled my pedicure basin which immediately relaxed me—no freezing feet. Eileen is obviously better with technology than I am, so she figured out how to work the massage chair and I followed her lead. I was able to set it to twenty minutes of a comfortable rolling back massage.
The technician removed my polish but did not ask if I wanted my nails cut; she just began filing. This disappointed me a bit. Usually, I get my nails trimmed every time I have a pedicure and I appreciate my tech asking me if I would like them to do it. My nails could skip the trim this time though, so I just sat back and watched her file my nails into nice shapes. She did spend a bit of time filing, which I thought made up for the missed nail cutting.
My nail tech then trimmed my cuticles with sterilized equipment, and used a scrub on my legs and feet which was very relaxing. The cuticle trim was rather quick, but left no jagged edges. Normally, I like a bit more attention paid to my toes during this part. The only thing missing for me was her using a razor to schlep off the dead skin on the bottoms of my feet. (Editor's Note: According to the State Department of Cosmetology, use of a credo blade, scraper or other implement is prohibited in New Jersey nail salons.)
At my regular nail salon, Modern Salon in Hillsborough, they know that the bottoms of my feet take a beating, especially in the warm weather months as I tend to love my flip flops and occasionally venture out barefoot. Personally, I like the ultra soft feel of my feet and I know from experience that the foot scrub alone, as luxurious as it feels, doesn’t do the job for me. I suppose I could have asked the nail technician to see if she would accommodate my request, but I wanted to see what the salon’s “usual” pedicure routine was.
After the scrub, the pedicurist wrapped my ankles in what looked like saran wrap coated with a soothing and warm lotion, to soften the skin. She then applied lotion to my feet and calves and began a hot stone massage. I truly loved this part. I never had a hot stone massage before. Now, I’m putting that on my bucket list as a must-do, but a full-body one the next time I’m at a spa.
I chose OPI Big Red Apple nail lacquer for classic toes that would closely match my already-painted fingernails. My nail technician applied the base coat, polish, and top coat meticulously and perfectly.
After the polish process I went over to the drying station and had thought that my pedicure experience was over; however, I was pleasantly surprised when the same woman began massaging my shoulders! What a wonderful way to wait while your nails dry!
Now I know why they charge a bit more for their regular pedicure at the salon: it includes a hot stone massage, warm lotion treatment, and a relaxing shoulder massage.
The staff worked silently on all three of us, not intruding in on our conversation, nor speaking loudly amongst themselves. If you wanted to sit there and relax silently it would be possible, because they were not the chatty type.
I’m still on my quest to find a nail salon that serves a selection of teas or a glass of wine while you are pampered, but I haven’t found one in my town. . .yet.
Audrey is the nail polish drying time expert, I found out. She has figured out that if you wait 15 minutes at the drying table, you’re pretty much ensured to leave the salon without smudging your pedicure.
Around the time when we guessed that our polish was dry, our nail techs came over and removed our salon slippers for us and painted a quick-dry coat over our nails to ensure we would leave the salon with pretty toes. It seems as if they didn’t forget a detail and it was nice.
On the way out, I noticed that their sign displaying their salon services and was pleasantly surprised to see they had a “Little Angels” menu posted – for those children, like my junior diva daughter, who like a bit of pampering, too. A child’s manicure costs $10 with a free design; a pedicure is $17, also with a free design.
I felt the pedicure price was a bit pricey, considering I know of other salons in Hillsborough that charge $10 for a child’s pedicure. CC Nails charges a child $25 for a combination mani/pedi including designs and again, I have seen comparable combo-pricing for a child’s mani/pedi including designs for $20. However, I thought the “Little Angels”menu idea was cute. Usually I have to ask salons whether they accept appointments for children and how much they charge. I appreciated CC Nails’s up-front advertising and information.
When I got home I admired my toes and noticed that my feet were left soft and smooth, but this feeling was temporary. After a few hours had passed I could feel the remains of some rough skin which the vigorous salon scrub alone hadn’t removed.
I’d go back to CC Nails, but it would be an occasional experience. First, because it’s a bit pricey to do on a regular basis. Secondly, I feel my pedicure should include more than the accoutrements—I like to have my nails cut, my cuticles a bit more trimmed, and the dead skin’s just gotta go via razor on my tootsies.