This story first appeared in the June 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Flawless nails are serious business in Hollywood. Female power players pay a premium to keep their digits pristine -- even going as far as having nail technicians come to them for mani-pedis at home. Some visit nail spots embedded in luxury hotels. And execs on the run pop into one of L.A.'s bazillion strip-mall nail salons. Comedian Anjelah Johnson, who's known for her gut-busting impressions of manicurists, frequents Sherman Oaks' Serene Haven (13511 Ventura Blvd.; 818-986-3001): "It's clean, reasonably priced and quick. I can walk in without an appointment."
The hottest hotel and spa salons are Four Seasons, Kinara and Beverly Wilshire's Nail Bar (9500 Wilshire Blvd., 310-275-5200; manis from $50). Book Giannina Pinnell, whose following includes Jennifer Hudson and Revenge's Madeleine Stowe as well as several Paramount execs (Pinnell previously owned a salon near the studio); request the private station if you want to avoid prying eyes. Polishes range from ever-popular Essie and Chanel to nontoxic Butter London. Bonus: Execs who can't disconnect are given iPads with the latest magazine downloads (THR included).
While high-end spas get their share of industry foot (and hand) traffic, certain salons are known for specific treatments. At Rossano Ferretti (345 N. Canon Drive; 310-598-6780; manis from $50), Vita's application of the instantly drying CND Shellac is gentler on nails than gels, which require removal by acetone soaks, and can last up to four weeks. The former Louis Licari artist's clients -- among them Arianna Huffington and Paul McCartney's wife, Nancy Shevell -- appreciate her ability to make office or set visits and match colors to skin tone. Says Lacey Ford Williams, Ford Models' heiress: "I've been going to Vita for years. I have beautiful nails without ever chipping."
Jessica Nail Clinic (8627 W. Sunset Blvd.; 310-659-9292) offers a single service -- the $30 Nail Cultivation System -- and counts Jodie Foster, Demi Moore, publicist Pat Kingsley and producer Jennifer Klein (Pearl Harbor) among its clientele. Says Kingsley, "Every Saturday, my daughter and I go to Chin Chin and then Jessica's."
The Mid-City location of Paint Shop (7938 W. 3rd St.; 323-658-1930; manis from $35) lures America's Next Top Model's Tyra Banks and Janet Jackson. The serene establishment eschews acrylic treatments, so the air is scented with essential oils, not chemicals. The $35 Revive 10 Manicure, which bolsters weak nails with warm tea tree oil, is the most popular treatment. The clientele veers fashion-forward -- think bold varnishes (not gels with noxious acetone soaks, mind you) and reverse French manicures.
The proximity of The Painted Nail (13327 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; 818-783-2022; manis from $40) to CBS' Studio City digs has made it a favorite with execs. Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, indulges in manis and pedis and hosted a salon party for her daughter's bat mitzvah there. White-washed wood floors, white armchairs and lavender walls are a haven for young Hollywood types like Hilary Duff and Vanessa Hudgens, who flock to owner Katie Cazorla, a star in her own right on reality show The Nail Files by Jersey Shore producer SallyAnn Salsano.
If time is scarce, try Beverly Hills Nail Design (423 N. Bedford Drive; 310-205-0694; manis from $16). Says philanthropist Jamie Tisch: "It's fast; they do a great job. And it's always a party because you see people you know." One downside, per a PMK/BNC publicist: "Kim Kardashian is always getting snapped by paparazzi when I go!" Another crowd-pleaser is spa chain Bellacures. Its Beverly Hills outpost (239 N. Robertson Blvd.; 310-550-5822; manis from $20) gives gentle "gelicures" to Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Garner.
And for those who wish to avoid public salons, make like Rita Wilson or Willow Bay, wife of Disney's Bob Iger, and get your mani-pedis at home. "I've been using the same woman for 20 years -- Theresa," says Wilson. "I'm not telling you her last name because she's too busy already!" One pro that industry and fashion insiders book is Georgyanna Giardini (323-655-5046; manis from $30), who's known for her old-school buffing technique. She has worked on Uma Thurman and Sarah Jessica Parker, and if you don't want her to come to you, you can go to her L.A. apartment.
Additional reporting by Lindsay Flans.