Tokyo is a fashionable city; many of its citizens pride themselves on keeping up with the latest fashions, always looking neat and tidy, and enjoying sprucing up their look with dyed hair, make up, and nail art. Aside from the usual nail polish you can buy in stores, a popular technique to keep nails looking prettier for longer is locally called 'gel nail'.
One big advantage of gel nails is that it can last for up to a month. The technique of adding multiple layers and using ultraviolet light glues the color hard onto your nails and makes it difficult to chip or break.
Another advantage of getting gel nails applied is that they can come in many patterns and styles, not just single colours. This has allowed some fantastic creativity in the world of gel nails, from simple patterns like flowers and hearts to more complicated designs such as popular characters and seasonal themes, like Halloween or Christmas.
Pearl Briller (パールブリエ in katakana) is located in Ebisu, run by a friendly woman named Miya Inoue, who has decades of experience in the beauty industry.
The first thing I noticed about Pearl Briller is the trendy interior. It is ship-themed, with many wall decorations that gave it a cosy and fashionable atmosphere.
There were also many displays of the nail art she offered, making it easy to choose a design I liked. There were different colours, shapes, and patterns celebrating different themes. The designs varied in price depending on their intricacy and detail.
Inoue also offers gel nails for toes, so you can get a cute matching design for your hands and feet if you are planning to show off your toes in the summer. I just opted for my fingernails to be done this time.
Choosing a Design
You are shown a set of designs based on your taste and your budget. Nail sets start at around 8000 yen. This may sound a little expensive, but gel nail lasts for weeks and you don’t need to fix any chips or imperfections like you would with regular nail polish.
If you like a design but you are not keen on the colour, you can choose to mix and match colours you like with your desired design. I thought this was a really good feature as the flower design I chose was originally a darker shade, but she switched it to a brighter red for me.
Make sure you set aside some time for your treatment, as applying gel nail can take up to an hour! Inoue will offer you a complimentary cup of tea or coffee which you can enjoy throughout your treatment.
There are many steps involved, including trimming your nails so they are all the same length, brushing and polishing them, and applying the different layers and fusing them with ultraviolet light.
Miya Inoue is very sweet and friendly, but unfortunately, she cannot speak English. If you’d like some conversation tips, though, she is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Disney! She even has an incredible hand-drawn map of Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings in the bathroom, so keep an eye out for it.
You might also spot some of her handmade goods in the room such as a backpack with characters from the popular anime Dragonball sewn onto it. She is a very artistic and creative individual with a real gift for art!
I was very pleased with the finished design of my gel nails, which lasted an entire month! When they start to grow out, you can choose to go back to the salon to get them removed properly, or you can remove them yourself. If you remove them yourself, make sure you have some at-home nail care tools to clean up your nails afterwards.
If you are interested in visiting this trendy and cosy salon, check out the information below.
Pearl Briller is in Ebisu, which is just one stop from Shibuya on the Yamanote line and also reachable on the Hibiya line. The salon can also be reached from Daikanyama Station on the Toyoko line.
Everyday from 10:00 to 19:00. Opening hours on national holidays may vary.
Gel nail is a great way to experience Japanese fashion, which is often creative and cute! Show off your adorable new nail design to your friends and family and experience a true beauty treatment in one of Tokyo’s most fashionable neighbourhoods.