I have troll feet. It is an inescapable fact. Mangled, broken, sausage toes cling like barnacles to the ends of my wide, scaly feet. You may also remember that my hands ain’t much to look at, either. For obvious reasons, I try not to wear sandals unless absolutely necessary. So it should come as no surprise that when sandals are absolutely necessary, I enjoy the occasional mani/pedi
to beat my extremities into submission. Last month was no exception, as I was preparing for a week-long triple-date* beach vacation in Hilton Head. With high expectations, I scheduled an appointment for a pedicure and gel manicure at Julep’s salon on 5th.
I was greeted at the front desk and offered a wide selection of beverages (hot tea! cucumber water! blood of a sacrificial lamb!) and assured that my appointment would begin shortly. I was (admittedly) several minutes early and settled back to watch Eat, Pray, Love on one of the various flat screens that punctuate the salon’s walls. However, within minutes, my technician (a small, thorough woman named Chau) whisked me back, sat me down, and soaked my feet in a warm sea salt bath. She was kind enough not to force conversation (I appreciate some quiet relaxation and frequently nap during beauty treatments), only interjecting to ask if the water temperature was to my liking and what nail shape I preferred. Next came a relaxing, lengthy reflexology massage and exfoliation, capped off with a hydrating paraffin wrap to seal in moisture. By the time I even saw a nail file, my feet were smooth as a baby’s ass and tensionless as a slackened violin string. With deftness and precision, Chau shaped my nails, pushed my cuticles, and brushed three coats of Cody (a vibrant orange) on my toes with the detail of a young Jean Fouquet.
With my pedicure complete, we started on my gel manicure. Since I opted for the Porch Manicure and not the classic Julep Manicure, I didn’t receive a sea salt bath or paraffin wax for my hands. Nonetheless, the experience was relaxing and the results were wonderful. My sandy-neutral polish looked presentable for only 10 of the promised 14 chip-free days, but I’m inclined to give a special dispensation due to the daily beating my nails endured, courtesy of the beach, ocean water, and chlorinated pool water.
Upon returning from my vacation, I made a second manicure appointment to have my gel polish removed. Tish expertly removed my gel coat, massaged my weary hands, pushed back my cuticles, shaped my nails, and repainted dem claws in a shimmery gold polish called Sienna. Her work was immaculate, so naturally, I had to fuck it up posthaste. I smudged polish everywhere when reaching for my wallet (a word to the wise: the front desk staff will gladly handle your wallet and purse when paying for services specifically to avoid situations like this). Tish then further proved her kindness by calmly repainting the 3 nails I had so carelessly besmirched. A+ effort, Tish.
The treatments are expensive, but customer service was truly top-notch. An afternoon at Julep’s downtown salon was a real treat, and while I can’t afford weekly upkeep, and I will absolutely return for an occasional indulgence.
*The triple-date in question was a long-planned vacation with my boyfriend, my sister, her boyfriend, and my parents. Let it be known that Hilton Head is lovely and I enjoyed many romantic dinners followed by picturesque sunsets with Max, but sharing those moments with my parents put the kibosh on any amorous intentions. So, for readers who want a romantic couple’s vacation, maybe don’t bring your parents along.