With Buff Nail Studios’ Melbourne locations, founder Emma Forrest set out to create a sanctuary for those wanting to nab a bit of time for themselves (and their nails).

“It’s about that transition from the street,” Forrest says. “I want people to come walking down that hallway and transition into a nice space.”

She wanted to re-create the feeling of going to a high-quality hairdresser or beauty salon – somewhere you’d want to linger for a while, rather than zip in and out of.

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Forrest opened her first studio in Brighton in the depths of Covid in May 2020, and the Camberwell studio closely followed suit in November. Both their books are often filled out months in advance, so booking ahead is essential.

From the moment you step into the concrete-slabbed space in Brighton, it feels luxe. Designed by local firm Golden, the space has a curved roof that plays on the structure of a nail bed. Both stores have playful pops of pastel pink and royal blue throughout, built by The Melbourne Builder & Co, which also took the reins in designing the Camberwell space.

A lot of research went into the dimensions of the tables, too – to ensure maximum comfort. Many of Buff’s treatments run for more than an hour, and the furniture is designed specifically to provide ultimate support for as long as you’re seated.

The team uses a nail system called Dazzle Dry, which consists of non-toxic, vegan, long-lasting nail polish that includes a base, colour and topcoat. And there’s no need to worry about ruining your nails before they dry, either – you’re able to use your hands within five minutes of getting your tips polished. Buff also offers a premium, chip-resistant gel polish that cures under an LED lamp.

Forrest recommends the signature manicure and pedicure service for those who haven’t visited before. There’s also an express mani-pedi service for the time-poor. Other services include nail art, shellac removal and hydrating collagen hand masks.

Buff Nail Studios has locations in Brighton and Camberwell. Book an appointment online.