Nail expert Buff has opened a sleek new studio, tucked away down a quiet Fitzroy street. It’s bringing its premium nail services to the northside, following the success of its salons in Brighton and Camberwell. The Fitzroy location is the first Buff salon to offer a dry pedicure – meaning the foot-soaking experience is entirely removed. Founder Emma Forrest tells Broadsheet that the service is more hygienic than a traditional pedicure, offers a “deeper exfoliation of the feet” and is more “environmentally friendly, as there is no water wastage involved”.

The rest of the menu is simple. “We do nails and nails is all we do,” says Forrest. Services include bare, express, and signature manicures and pedicures – all using cruelty-free, vegan products with minimal toxins.

Designed by Ewert Leaf, the design studio behind Lune’s Armadale store and July’s QV boutique, the space is warm from the moment you enter, with moody lighting, a blue marble handwashing station, playful pops of the brand’s signature cobalt blue, and a private pedicure area zoned off by sheer blue curtains. Here, you can sink into a reclining leather chair and put on the supplied eye mask and noise-cancelling headphones while your technician gets to work.

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Forrest wants to “mimic the special moments of ‘me time’ you get at hair and other beauty salons”. Since opening, she’s noticed nail art being requested for almost every service – she calls nails “tiny little canvases”.

“Just as with the makeup you wear and the way you style your hair ... nails are a new form of self-expression for people,” she says. As demonstrated by viral nail trends like Hailey Bieber’s “glazed doughnut nails” and “clean girl nails”, as well as the popularity of styles featuring gems and glitter, there is no doubt that nail care is “taking hold at the moment”.

For those who want to come once a month, Forrest recommends Buff’s signature (and most popular) manicure: Builder Gel, or BIAB (builder in a bottle), which is designed to structure and strengthen nails, while promising not to chip.

Next year, Buff will open a fourth site in South Yarra. And if you can't make it to a store, or your nails need some extra love between visits, you can look forward to the impending launch of Buff’s at-home self-care range featuring full-scale nail routines.

Buff Studios
420 Gore Street, Fitzroy
0482 779 810


Mon, Tue and Fri 10am–6pm
Wed & Thur 10am–8pm

Sat 9am–4pm