Spa spy: Halloween finger painting at Buff

Buff will get you Halloween ready with their frighteningly good nail designs.
Buff will get you Halloween ready with their frighteningly good nail designs.

Get ready for Halloween with frighteningly good nail designs from Buff in Edinburgh.

The treatment

Shellac with Nail Art.

Why go?

If you want to make finishing touches to your Halloween costume, or fancy a soupçon of spookiness, visit this place. They offer nail art, from more basic designs – a touch of glitter, say – to fully detailed and intricate creations.

Our spy says

Although I love dressing up at Halloween, I never get invited to any parties (boo hoo).

Thus, I decided to celebrate in my own way, with a visit to this two-year-old salon, which has been so popular that it’s expanded from housing a couple of nail stations to about six.

Its owner, Carly, meets me at the desk and we chat about what I want. The best inspiration, I’ve found, is on their Instagram feed, @buffcs.

The only problem is, I want everything.

There’s a night sky, complete with turquoise index finger star, pumpkin falsies, ghostly eyes and witchy pentagrams. Or, there are designs using abstract space, so they leave the half moons bare, or ombre effect numbers in Gothic hues.

In the end, I decide that I’d prefer an abstract, painterly and textural design.

Carly starts by dissolving my thick and overgrown cuticles, which are then pushed back and snipped.

She neatly shapes my talons into short ovals, then I choose three shades of varnish, ranging from pale grey to black.

From half-way up my nail to the tip, these lacquers go on as layers, with each being baked under the UV lamp on the desk. As Carly says, the idea is to make the design look textural, so the top and lighter coloured layers are painted on with a feathery brush.

Next, a smattering of chrome foil is pressed on to each nail and each has two little dots painted on in the same place, for a unifying effect.

There’s a topcoat of glossiness and, that’s it, I’m done. I don’t have to wait for them to dry and, like all Shellac, it should last a couple of weeks (or, in my experience, until it grows out, although you can get them removed here and they’ll chuck in a mini manicure for £15).

The results

My nails are not so scary that I could instantly get a job in the nearby Edinburgh Dungeon, but I feel seasonally appropriate, like a glamorous gravedigger. Now, off to carve a neep and wait for a Halloween party invite. n

Shellac with Nail Art, from £38, at Buff, Arch 6, 11 East Market Street, Edinburgh (0131-556 0090, 
www.buffcs.com).