Monday, June 2, 2014

Sekai Nail & Beauty Bar: A Review

From Sekai's Facebook page
It’s sandal season, which means it’s pedicure season. While I’m a big fan of The 10 Spot, I no longer live just up the street from one. Thankfully, there are quite a few other nail salons in my current neighbourhood and on Saturday, I decided to try out one of them: Sekai Nail & Beauty Bar. I decided to give this place a shot as its Givins and Queen location is a quick walk from my house and it has four-and-a-half stars on Yelp. The prices are also quite reasonable, only $40 for a mani-pedi. Normally I don’t get manicures, as I tend to destroy them within 48 hours, but at that price, how could I not?

While I initially planned on just getting my nails done, by the time Saturday rolled around, it was clear that my eyebrows need some worked so that morning, I asked if that procedure could also be worked. The woman who answered the phone said that yep, we’d work something out.

I ended up starting my Sekai experience with that wax job as my nail technician was running a little behind schedule. Waxing, along with facials, are done in the basement, which actually doesn’t seem that basement-y at all thanks to lots of white paint and a high ceiling.

The woman who did my brows was efficient, appropriately friendly and great at her job. She did a great, fairly painless, job and I am quite happy with the results (it’s been over 48 hours since my visit and there’s no sign of any post-waxing infections, an issue I too often have).

With my brows tamed, it was time for my nails to get a similar treatment. My nail technician, whose name I forget (I suck), started with my feet and within 30 minutes, she was done. In that time she filed my toenails, filed my feet, gave a pretty good foot/calf massage and applied the polish. While she was quick, she was also gentle and clearly knew what she was doing.

The same applies to my manicure. Again, the whole process was efficient and professional. And yes, it was also very hygienic. The whole spa was very clean; fresh files and other tools were being used for each client while some kind of spray would be liberally applied over the work area after each job was over.

My technician was quiet, only speaking to ask me questions that directly related to my nails. I was okay with this though I did feel a bit weird since everyone else around me was chatting with their technicians. Overall, the vibe at Sekai is on the casual side; if you want luxury and that spoil-me/serve-me feeling, this isn’t your nail place. The place does get busy and since there’s not a ton of space, it’s not the type of spa where you’ll find yourself lingering, enjoying the atmosphere.

But what it lacks in fanciness, it makes up in friendliness. While my technician was on the quiet side, really only speaking to me when necessary, all of the other technicians were quite friendly and everyone was smiling. The woman who ran the front desk particularly impressed me with her strong customer service skills. Besides keeping everything organized, she checked in on each procedure, making sure that it was going smoothly. This was a really nice touch and not always something you get at non-high-end spas.

I was also impressed by the selection of colours available. Lots of blues, purples and darker shades were on offer, along with the usual pinks, reds and neutrals. Also available, for an extra fee is the long lasting Vinylux brand as well as gel polish.
Service menu - Click to read
Unfortunately, despite waiting three hours before putting anything on my feet (besides sandals), I smushed my toe polish. ☹ I thought it was dry – it felt dry – but it clearly wasn’t as most of my toes now sport the weave pattern of the tights I later put on. While a fast dry spray was applied to my fingers, it wasn’t to my toes. Next time, I’m going to ask that all of my digits get the spray.

My fingers fared much better. While there are some “bubbles,” they’re small and not very noticeable. They’re also, at least in part, the result of not keeping my hands still for long enough after application (that’s really hard to do!).

The pre-tip, but post-tax total for my nails and brows was $54 and change, a very reasonable amount for the services I received. I will definitely check out Sekai again and I completely recommend the place if you’re looking for an efficient spa that gets the job done right.

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