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Counterpoint: Full Service, Low Price, Neat Job

The Girl Files heads to Fox Chase Nails for manicures.

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 manicures and/or 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.

I have a confession prior to this week’s Girl Files edition. It’s that I have an incredibly hard time sitting still during manicures.

I just get bored and sick of not being able to use my hands to turn book or magazine pages, type out emails or text messages and the like.

By the time our next appointment rolled around, I was already anxious to get the gel polish off my nails—I simply didn’t like having it on my nails any longer, which meant a trip to Fox Chase Nails in the Martinsville section of Bridgewater.

Still, it remained mostly chip-free for the two weeks it stayed on my nails.

Click here for Audrey’s take on Fox Chase Nails.

But a word to those who do opt for the gel polish: taking it off isn’t as simple as regular polish. You’ll spend several minutes with acetone nail polish remover-saturated cotton swabs on your fingers. In this case, removing the polish meant a turn under the Dremel-thing from last time, to sand the polish off. According to Sophie Han, the owner, other gel polish brands aren’t nearly as hard to remove, however.

At Fox Chase Nails, the acetone soak meant a chance to peruse the rack of regular nail colors before having the technicians check the removal status. I’d like to say the salon stocks a variety of colors, but I did find the color selection a bit sparse. In addition, some of the bottles seemed like they were a bit old to me.

Luckily, Fox Chase makes up for the lack of colors with its level of service. Han, who we met when entering the salon, is approachable and welcoming.

As another plus, Han inquired about whether the writing on my fingers were tattoos, and didn’t make me wash my hands in an attempt to get it off.

Han extends that attitude to her salon’s services as well. She asks whether to cut your nails before using the clippers, and inquires as to whether the shape is adequate. The manicure includes a hand massage, paraffin wax dip, and shoulder massage while the wax sets.

Like Audrey, I opted for a shatter polish top coat—I remember a similar “crackle” top coat from when I was in high school. It’s not exactly professional, I suppose, but I have a track record of chipping polish and it’s unlikely I’ll be wearing it very long.

Han, who applied my regular polish and the topcoat, did it professionally and quickly, though I noticed a few spots of red polish on my skin. Luckily, those exfoliated off as soon as I washed my hands.

At first, I thought the salon didn’t have a drying station, which surprised me initially. With the very cozy feel and an absence of 1980s-style nail stations, I missed the drying station. It’s tucked between the pedicure chairs at the back of the salon and the manicure stations that are in the front.

The price at Fox Chase is quite reasonable too—with a $5 charge for the shatter polish, and an extra charge for the gel removal, I expected more than the $22 payment.

And, it’s one day in, and I still haven’t chipped the normal polish.

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