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Counterpoint: Clean Work at a Bargain Price

Stop number seven on the Pedicure Tour: Em Nails & Spa.

Editor's Note: We will be reviewing nail salons in Bridgewater, Hillsborough, Basking Ridge and Warren, and providing a point/counterpoint argument about our impressions of their pedicures. If you would like to join us on our tour, and provide your own thoughts, e-mail us at audreyl@patch.com or eileen.oldfield@patch.com

And with the end of summer comes the time when we stop wearing sandals and start wearing shoes, thereby covering our toenails. So we’re asking, should we continue this column anyway? Should we start reviewing manicures instead? Do you still want these reviews? Let us know in the comments, Bridgewater!

With fall beginning on Friday—and signaling the end of sandal season—it’s a bit of a wonder that we’re still touring Somerset County’s nail salons, hunting for the best, worst and in-between locations.

Well, when user-recommended locations come in, we try to get there.

That’s precisely what led Bridgewater Patch Editor Audrey Levine and I to Em Nails, located on Route 202 in Bridgewater.

Click here for Audrey's take on the Em Nails experience.

If there’s a tendency for nail salons to be narrow and space at a premium, Em Nails is the opposite. Instead, the salon’s quite open with at least 10 pedicure chairs and many, many, manicure stations lining its interior.

In addition, the salon offers massage and waxing services, so there are also massage chairs and a room for waxing services in the back of the salon.

Despite the variety of offerings, Em manages to keep the center of its salon, open rather than cramming everything into a too-small space.

As Audrey and I headed over to the racks upon racks of colors—mostly OPI brand, though I saw a few Orly, China Glaze and something called Color Club— the selection took us aback. Colors ranged from reds to pinks to purples, blues, greys, greens—and even browns, oranges and yellows. It’s perhaps the best variety of colors I’ve seen at a salon thus far.

But that variety had a downside, mostly since I couldn’t pick a color.

Without concerts, charity events or other preferences, there were just too many options to choose from. After about 10 minutes, I settled on a pearly-grey OPI shade that I thought would be darker than it appeared on my toes.

I’m not a huge fan of it, but that’s my fault. Perhaps I should have taken a cue from Audrey and chosen a more elegant and traditional French tip. But with several concerts coming up, a friend who’s enlisted me as a training buddy for his marathon training [Note: I am only going up to half marathon, at this point!], and the chance for broken nails and chipped polish, a regular pedicure seemed more economical.

Bottle in hand, Audrey and I headed over to the pedicure chairs.

I’m going to admit that I went into this pedicure after having my feet trodden on at a show in Philadelphia two days prior. When we entered, I was a little worried that the technician would clip two broken toenails too short—meaning a painful period waiting for the nails to grow.

Luckily, the technician clipped the nails to make the broken spot even, and painlessly to boot.

But trimming the cuticle left a bit to be desired. I’m not a fan of the practice anyway, since I think it looks weird and it can be really painful sometimes. This time, it was a little uncomfortable, which meant slight pain later in the day. It faded by the next day, but it’s still not something I enjoy.

The real treat for this salon—at least this time—was the foot rub that preceded the polish application. After dancing at shows Friday and Sunday, and then running with my friend on Monday, my feet ached more than I realized.

The pedicure came out clean and neat, with no mistakes. And, at $25 for the work, it’s not a bad price either.

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