When we found out we’d be getting a visit from Svetlana Klubkova, who works on the Russian NAILS Magazine, we were excited. This would be her first visit to California, and she wanted to take in some of our salon culture. How could we deny her that pleasure? We’re lucky that NAILS is based in Southern California, which has more than its share of hip nail boutiques, immense day spas, and small mom-and-pop nail salons to choose from.

After thinking about it for a couple of days, it was decided that I would escort her to several salons, including one where we would both receive nail services. We settled on Mimosa, a cool little salon not far from the NAILS office.

Before heading to Mimosa we made a pit-stop at Happy Nails, a salon chain with 45 locations throughout Southern California. Manicures and pedicure are the salon’s mainstays, and that was evident when we walked into a location at a nearby mall. Several pedicure thrones sat prominently at the front of the salon and nail techs worked away, some two at a time giving both manicures and pedicures, on clients. Needless to say, Svetlana was taken aback by the whole scene. In her country, she said, nail services are performed in a more leisurely, spa-like atmosphere. While the services at Happy Nails are not exactly spare, most services do focus on getting clients in and out of the salon quickly.

Then it was off to Mimosa. The salon is full-service, offering everything from hair services and facials to body treatments and of course, nail services. Owner Mike Daneshmand recently revamped the menu, changing the names of the services to better reflect the name of the salon. Pedicures range from the Purple Mimosa and Mojito to Lemon Drop and Mudslide. Manicures include the Sea Breeze and Rosetini, which is what Svetlana and I treated ourselves to.

Before our manicures, Svetlana sat with her nail tech Melisa Bruce and manager Liz Sprunk. The three talked about nail trends in the United States, as well as trends in the salon and in the area. They helped give Svetlana some insight on what the American nail industry is really like. Then it was time to get our hands tended to. While Melisa and Mae Green (who did my manicure), pampered our hands, we sipped complimentary mimosas at the nail bar. Svetlana opted for a French manicure, while I chose a sheer shade of wine.

Svetlana enjoyed her service and loved the salon. “I liked the service. The procedure by itself was interesting. I especially liked the paraffin mask,” says Svetlana. “I did find one thing strange. When I asked my nail tech for a French manicure she said she would apply the white color on the tip last. In Russia we usually apply it in the beginning and then cover the nail with pink.”

Mimosa has a spare, clean look and a trendy, hip vibe that is a perfect fit with the laidback beach community of Hermosa Beach. I’m sure her visit was one she won’t soon forget.

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