UPDATE: LAKA Manicure Express has now closed in Hong Kong
I think you all know how much I love my nail polish by now… but you may have noticed the sweet stuff hasn’t been appearing much on Through The Looking Glass lately. Fact is, I just haven’t had that much time to devote to painting my nails recently – which is where LAKA Manicure Express comes in!
Faster than a harassed commuter dashing across the platform at Admiralty MTR, LAKA express manicures clock in at an impressive 20 minutes – the quickest I’ve found in Hong Kong so far. And far from being speedy but slapdash, their therapists are veritable varnish whizz kids, leaving you with a pristine and near-perfect mani that looks just as good as the ones that take waaaaay longer.
A bit of background on the brand: LAKA are an express manicure chain from Israel that uses their own extremely extensive line of nail products for their treatments, which include manicures, pedicures, nail art and hand massages. Their funky nail bars are all conveniently located within malls, ideal for a quick mani hit on a day out, especially as appointments are not necessary; there are currently three Hong Kong locations, in Tsim Sha Tsui’s Harbour City (which I was invited to trial), Mong Kok’s Langham Place and Kwun Tong’s apm malls.
Honestly, the most time consuming part of the process may well be picking your polish poison! LAKA have over 150 colours in their nail lacquer line and I swear almost all of them are ready and waiting on display… think Joseph’s amazing technicolour dreamcoat and then some! After discussion with my much more stylish friend (and photographer for the day!) Karen, I eventually settled on some striking spring brights for my mani – awesome aqua on both hands, with accent nails of stunning cobalt blue on one hand and a cool pinky-purple on the other. It was kind of like the Clueless credits on my nails.
My therapist Rita was a woman of few words, but was impressively methodical and thorough. I’ve had a couple of express manis in Hong Kong before and usually, the reason they’re express is because they cut corners! Not at LAKA; every step from base coat via shaping, filing, buffing and cuticle work, then onto a top coat and final touch-ups was covered… just at the speed of Clark Kent turning into Superman in his phone box!
After that, it was a five minute session under the nail dryer – not much of a hardship if you have your girlfriends with you, as it just means five minutes more solid gossip time (which Karen and I absolutely made the most of!).
The results were pretty rad. The colours looked gorgeously glossy and eye-catchingly perfect – so much so that I got compliments on my mani practically from the second I left LAKA until the second I had to take it all off! I was totally wowed by Rita’s mad mani skillz; my nails had been shaped perfectly, the polish was applied pretty darn perfectly, and my hands and nails actually felt in really great condition too thanks to the various lotions and potions used throughout.
The only downside was that one of my nails chipped after just 24 hours, when I delved mani-first into my handbag fishing for my keys. I did notice that my right hand chipped much quicker than my left (probably because I use it much more often), with the mani lasting only about two to three days chip-free on my right as opposed to around five on my left.
At just $108, I reckon that the price is just about enticing enough to get your nails did on a regular basis; don’t forget to check out LAKA’s Facebook Page for more special promotions and offers that make things even more bargainous. If I needed a quick but pro mani for a party or night out (I’m not sure I actually go on the latter anymore… but hey, why not get a mani for nights in playing Scrabble and watching Castle?), I’d definitely head to LAKA and their jet-propelled polish brushes – their colour selection puts The Rainbow Song to shame, their therapists are total nail polish ninjas and the end result will have you showing off that mani quicker than you can say “Andale, arriba!”
Photos by the amazing Karen Chiang of Helloabella
LAKA 20-minute Manicure Express costs $108; all LAKA Manicure Express locations in Hong Kong:
– LCX, Level 3, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, +852 2115 4966
– APM Millennium City 5, Shop L3-3, Level 3, Kwun Tong, +852 3427 9446
– BA228, Beauty Avenue L2, Langham Place, Mong Kok, +852 3903 8925
Note: this trial was by invitation