When I heard about Glossslab, the start-up changing the nail game, I immediately booked an appointment. I had seen a friend post about their $89 membership for unlimited gel manicures and pedicures. As a total gel manicure addict I knew I had to try it out. Unlimited gel manicures? Count me in. But of course I had to wonder: Is the membership too good to be true?
Glosslab Review: Is It Worth It?
How the Membership Works
The details of Glosslab’s membership are pretty simple: $89 for the month. Unlimited manicures and pedicures. Includes gel option for both manis and pedis.
Gratuity for your nail technician is not included and you have the option to either automatically charge 20% on your card while checking out after your appointment or you can Vemno the tip directly to your technician.
The membership does auto-renew every month, but you can cancel your membership at anytime before your next billing date. In other words — you’re not signing your soul away for an unlimited mani/pedi membership.
With gel manicures being ~$50 a pop at my go-to places in my neighborhood, I knew I’d get my moneys worth as long as I got two gel manicures a month. Throw in pedicures and you’re saving a decent amount of money. Even though it’s winter I still like to keep my toes looking fresh… I am after all barefoot basically all day as a yoga teacher.
Glosslab is a technology-enabled nail salon designed to get you in and out as efficiently as possible. I’ve totally gone down the internet rabbi thole of reading all about the badass founder, Rachel Apfel Glass, and her journey to creating Glosslab.
So what does it mean to be a technology-enabled nail salon? This nail salon is totally cashless. Yup, that means no hitting up the ATM to tip your nail technician. Instead you have the option to Venmo your technician or automatically charge gratuity to your card.
Glosslab also uses an online booking system to schedule all appointments. From my understanding you can take your chances and walk-in for an appointment, but the salon tends to be super busy.
How do you create an efficient, hygienic approach to manicures and pedicures? By going waterless. Yes… even the pedicures are water-free. Which apparently means it’s a more hygienic experience. Plus it wastes less water.
The Manicure and Pedicure Experience
I’ve only been to the Flatiron location as it’s the closest to me. There are also 3 other locations: West Chelsea, West Village and Battery Park. So far I’ve had 2 gel manicures and 2 regular pedicures since I started my membership at the end of February.
As is advertised the manicure and pedicure experience are a lot faster than at other places. I’ve always been seen within 10-12 minutes of my schedule appointment… which is better than I can say about the wait time at my doctor’s office.
The whole experience feels a bit “no-frills” to me, if that makes sense. It’s very get in, get out, and you’re off in your merry way. If you’re looking for a super luxurious, spa-like, nail experience this is not that.
I’m personally okay with this: I don’t need a long, drawn out massage or to be waited on.
But I have noticed a lack of extra effort. I’m a total klutz so promptly messed up my fresh pedicure when I went this Friday trying to move my puffy jacket and purse over to the high stool for the manicure.
I also feel like the rushed nature of the experience meant I got nicked a lot more while having my cuticles cut and the tool used for buffing was bizarrely sharp and left me with a gash on my thumb. Not that this never happens otherwise, it’s just usually once in awhile rather than 3 times in one manicure.
With that said, Glosslab still offers a pretty clean experience being water-less and new nail files for every client. I do wonder how often they are really sweeping up the area where pedicures happen.
I was the most curious about how a water-less pedicure would work
It still totally got the job done — my feet still got some much needed exfoliation and I like the warm keratin sock they use instead to soften your cuticles and callouses. You’re not going to get a deep callous removal situation, but it will get the job done and your feet will still leave soft and well moisturized.
My biggest complaint?
It’s not the most comfortable manicure / pedicure experience. For the pedicure portion you’re sitting on a typical living room chair which can feel a bit awkward once your lifting up your foot and all.
The manicure happens on these high stools. Like I said earlier, I’m a klutz. High stools are a pain in the ass to me — I’m short and they leave my feet dangling. I’m not sure if there’s any reasoning why the manicure stations are set super high besides that maybe it looks cool and like a bar?
I find it super awkward, especially if you’ve just gotten a pedicure and you’re trying not to mess up your toe nails. I don’t need my manicure seat to be super fancy, but at least don’t want to feel like I’m going to fall off the chair for 45 minutes. And maybe this is just a problem I have as a total hot mess of a human 😂 Who knows?!
Two Weeks Later:
Of course the real indicator of how “good” a manicure or pedicure is is how long it lasted.
My first gel manicure didn’t last as long as it usually does. I even got my usual signature turquoise polish knowing that this color from CND can sometimes last 3-4 weeks and still look damn near perfect. Maybe it’s because they don’t use “bond-aid” which is something I typically see put on before the primer coat for gel manicures? I get my nails cut super short and yet they still kept breaking at the tip which I’ve never experienced and felt weaker than they usually do.
It wasn’t the end of the world and I was able to file them after each break. Ultimately, though, the gel manicure didn’t last as long as it typically does for me. This is after two weeks:
Not terrible, but not as good as they usually look two weeks later and I kept breaking my nails. If I wasn’t going on vacation this week I probably would’ve waited another week to get them re-done. But then again with unlimited manicures, why not get them done the second they look chipped?
I’ll spare you the photo of my feet (blech!) but my pedicure still looked great after two weeks. I always find my pedicures last forever whereas my fingers get more of a beating from daily life. I used Dazzle Dry nail polish for my pedicures and I’m a fan — it dried pretty quick considering and I didn’t have to wrap my toes in saran wrap when I left.
All In All:
Despite a few “cons” I’m obsessed. As with any review I write I want to be super honest and give you the full pictures. But overall it’s still a super positive experience.
For me the good (price, efficiency, ease) really outweigh any of the negatives. I’ve always seen getting my nails done as this necessary evil. I love the way my nails look when they are polished and well maintained. But I’ve always hated sitting around to get my nails done. The quick approach to gel manis plus price make this membership well worth it for me at this time.
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