My dear friend Carina Da Piedade, her sister-in-law Saira Fontes and their respective hubbies recently opened a luxury nail bar outside of Montreal called Lux Bar a Ongles – and it’s fabulous.

Besides their stunning gold plated decor, meal service and snack bar (yes, you can drink bubbly and while getting your nails did), and luxury products including Christian Louboutin Nail Polish (!?), they also offer vegan mani-pedis.

Now, I may be of the pescetarian persuasion these days, but I do try to maintain a mostly vegan lifestyle. Animal rights activists, environmentalists, and even regular consumers have been pushing the beauty industry to eliminate animal testing and the use of animal by-products for years, and the nail industry is fast catching up to the growing demand for vegan, cruelty-free and non-toxic products.

So naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to book a treatment.

Walking in, I was greeted by my humble friends, who brought me on a tour of their not-so-humble luxury salon. I marveled at the gold-plated details and lacquered furnishings; no plastic basins and decades-old chairs to be found here. Carina proudly showed off her sterilization room. Cleanliness and unrivaled sanitary practices are held in superior regard at Lux; all tools are sterilized, and all nail files are given to clients to take home with them once used, along with a nail buff and cuticle pusher (all these items should be single-use, explained Carina).

I plopped down in a brand new, comfy chair for my pedicure with Saira. As I sipped on my latte, Carina broke out a line of vegan nail care products called SPARitual.

“How AMAZING does this smell?”, raved Saira, as she dolloped some sugar scrub on my arm. The signature scent is Chinese Jasmine, and it’s truly aromatherapy at its best.

After a foot scrub, cream, massage, and some nail maintenance and prep, I was ready for a few coats of SPAritual nail polish.Though I was initially wary that it might not last as long as regular polish, I’m pleased to say I wore the polish, chip-free, for nearly two weeks (not sure about you guys, but this seems to be the standard for me in summer.

Though we initially planned for a SPAritual manicure, I’m ashamed to say I opted for a regular shellac manicure to repair my botched acrylic-damaged nails. In order to preserve the health of my regular nails, Saira buffed down the cementlike acrylic base and used CND Shellac, suggesting I let my nails grow out the damage before resuming with regular/vegan polish. I’ll definitely be booking my vegan mani soon. 

I left the spa refreshed and glowing, with my new mini nail kit in tow. Luxury has never looked – and felt – this good.

Though Lux Bar a Ongles graciously offered me a complimentary treatment, opinion remains entirely my own.