Beauty review: Shellac nails at Hellogorgeous Studios, Church Street


By - Wednesday 13th April, 2016

Liz Sheppard-Jones gets tip-top toes


Shellac toe nails at Hellogorgeous Studios, 85-87 Church Street, Croydon CR0 1RN.

Photo by Hellogorgeous Studios, used with permission.

I’m a medium maintenance woman. I think most of us would say the same: ‘high’ has unpleasantly princess-y overtones, whilst ‘low’ smacks of eyebrows gone feral and leg stubble sprouting like mushrooms. One of my middling requirements is definitely tarted-up toenails.

Shellac toe-job’s a life-changer: unchippable, immaculate nails for weeks (although how long the stuff lasts on your hands I have no idea, since decorated fingernails aren’t my bag). These aren’t fakes, so the treatment can’t lengthen them: it’s a blend of varnish and gel that’s painted on. It takes about forty-five minutes to (in my case) first carefully remove the previous Shellac (do not try this at home, although apparently people do and they trash their nails in the process), then apply a base coat, two layers of colour and, finally, sealant. There’s no faffing with little bottles, no waving your feet in the air to dry (each layer is baked under a lamp at the salon) and no bus ride home afterwards wearing flipflops in February: you can put your shoes back on right away. Result.

Photos by Hellogorgeous Studios, used with permission.

When I’m feeling flush, I visit scented treatment rooms with piles of white towels and new age music tinkling in the background. Broke? The town centre drop-in salons do a briskly competent job, so long as you don’t mind sitting in full view of passers-by and a fidgety queue of fellow customers. The toe-ly grail would be something in between: competitively priced, but still a bit pamper-y. So on Friday 8th April, my on-going quest took me to Hellogorgeous Studios (what’s not to love about a name like that?) right next to Church Street tram stop.

It had been a long week but the minute I arrived I felt better. Hellogorgeous is ’80s-fabulous: black, white and leather heaven. The beauty section has film star-style make-up mirrors (the ones with the light bulbs around them), there are curtained treatment cubicles, a photo studio and best of all a separate pedi-room with chill-out lighting and three deep and inviting leather seats.

My therapist, Robyn, offered me a drink (I went for tea but more exciting options exist) and carried it through to the pedi-room. She was patient and supportive whilst I agonised over colour: surely not classic red again? Perhaps emo black? Or a bold statement in blue? It’s vital to get this decision right since Shellac’s not for commitment-phobes, and eventually I opted to bring on summer with ‘Sun Bleached’, which should really be called ‘Banana Split’: a lickable, buttercream hue that would look its best with a tan. She did a lovely job, knew her stuff when I asked her about the treatment and generally made my visit as relaxing as could be.

I’ve saved the best bit ’til last. Hellogorgeous offers the usuals (manicures, pedicures, waxing and so on) plus a few that I hadn’t heard of (I still don’t know what Shellac Deluxe is, but I probably need it in my life) all costing around what you’d expect to pay in a decent salon. But they haven’t stopped there. They’ve really thought about what their customers want, so Yummy Mummy Monday means 20% off multiple treatments and they throw in a Baileys hot chocolate. Sassy Shellac Wednesday brings the normal rate of £25 down to £15 and includes a fruit cocktail. Tequila Tuesday speaks for itself.

This is pamper-plus. I loved it. Hellogorgeous has a new regular customer.


Shellac toes cost £25 at Hellogorgeous Beauty and Photography Studios and a sassy £15 on Wednesdays. The same treatment for hands is £20. To book, call in (seven days per week opening) or phone 020 8668 7009.

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Liz Sheppard-Jones

Writer and editor. Views personal, not representative of editorial policy.

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