To start off the New Year right, I treated myself to a mani/pedi at Sugarcoat Nails, Austin’s newest downtown nail salon.

Situated perfectly at W. 12th and Lamar (right next to Hem Jeans), Sugarcoat Nails knows how to treat its downtown clientele. The staff there is all about creating a personalized pampering experience – and one that’s not going to break the bank. For the girl in a hurry who’s looking to glam up her nails on her lunch break, they offer the Sugar Rush, an abbreviated mani/pedi that sends your on your way in under an hour (and the whole shebang for just 30 bucks!). Or, for those looking to freshen up their feet after a tough run around Town Lake, Sugarcoat offers the Runners Delight, an intense pedicure created especially for the sports enthusiast. And that’s just the beginning – whatever you need, Sugarcoat’s there to treat you.

When you first walk into the spacious salon, you’re greeted with inviting turquoise and silver décor and a  cocktail of your choice. Then, you’re asked to pick which scent you’d like for your manicure or pedicure.  I decided to go with Sugarcoat’s standard scent, Vanilla and Brown Sugar. Next time I stop in, I’ll hit up the “Candy” Bar, where you can pick your favorite scrub and lotion combo from an assortment of scents – Japanese Cherry Blossom, Sweet Satsuma, Mango Sorbet, and Tuscan Citrus & White Tea, to name a few.

Next, I went to pick my colors. I had been dying to try the nail polish line by Deborah Lippman, who is considered the go-to manicurist for all the celebs. Since I always need a second opinion in choosing my color, my awesome nail tech, Pearl, helped me with my choices ( “Don’t Tell Mama” for my fingers, an awesome emerald green, which the girls at Sugarcoat told me is Pantone’s color pick of the year for 2013; “Swagga Like Us,” a matte gold, for my toes). After discovering my love for all things vintage, Pearl did some amazing nail art on my fingers, removing the polish on the half-moons of a few select nails to create a shabby chic look for the fingernails.

While my nails dried and I sipped on a mimosa, I kicked back in my reclining leather chair and chatted with co-owners Sanaz Khanbolooki and Becki Farrah about their hot new nail spot.

Q&A with Sanaz and Becky, The Sugarcoat Girls

Why does Austin need Sugarcoat Nails?

Becki: Downtown is expanding at a pretty rapid rate, and people need these services at their disposal and within walking distance.  We realized that there were very few places downtown that offer nail-only services.  People are going to spas to get their manicures and pedicures and they’re paying higher prices for the experience of going to a spa. We offer the same experience at a lower price point.

Sanaz: We provide a very spa-like setting in terms of the aesthetic and ambience. When you walk through the door at Sugarcoat Nails, you’re greeted with your choice of scents, polishes, and even cocktails. We have a scent bar – we call it our “candy” bar – where we offer you an array of different scents to choose from for your manicure or pedicure. This is something that sets us apart – at other nail salons, they usually have some standard product and you don’t know what it is before it gets slathered all over you.

What kind of experience do you want an Austin woman to have when she walks through your doors?

Becki: We want everyone to come in and have a relaxing, truly personalized service. You can literally kick back – our pedicure chairs fold all the way back so you can fully relax. You can do your manicure in your chair if you want and you can even take a nap! Take a 30-minute siesta while getting your nails done on your lunch break. Enjoy a beverage of your choice while reading a magazine, watching TV, or having a full-fledged convo with your friend or one of our nail technicians. One requirement for our technicians is excellent verbal skills so that our clients get exactly what they want out of their service.

Sanaz: And, we also have services geared toward our male clients! We say that our “Sugar Daddy Special” puts the “man” in manicure. It’s a well-groomed service – trim, file, and buff. The scent we use for our male manicures smells like cologne, which women are really attracted to!


“Midnight Sugar Fix,” another creation by Pearl

What sets apart the Sugarcoat Nails team?

Becki: Both of us come from a healthcare background, and so we really pride ourselves on cleanliness and following all the sanitation guidelines. We make sure every client receives a brand new packet of nail implements. We never reuse files or buffers – in fact, after your service, you get to take those home along with your lotion and scrub.

Sanaz: Our nail tech girls are just the best! Our staff are experts in nail art – if you look at our Facebook page, you’ll see the assortment of beautiful creations coming out of here. They’re also well-versed in different types of massage technique, such as hot stone therapy.

I love your “Candy” Bar! Tell us more about that and the products that you use at Sugarcoat.

Sanaz: We have our two standard scents. The first is vanilla and brown sugar, or we have our “sugar-free” option, which is a less sweet-smelling lavender and lemongrass. If you don’t like those two, you can head on over to our “Candy” Bar, where we have an assortment of scrubs and lotions you can pick as you desire. All our lotions and scrubs are pre-portioned, so whatever isn’t used during your manicure and pedicure, you are welcome to take home with you! Everything that we use is all natural – our body products are sulfate- and paraben-free, and our all-natural polish lines are tourmaline and formaldehyde free.


The “Candy” Bar

What sort of polish lines do you offer?

Sanaz: We have two natural polish lines that are 5-free. We have Deborah Lippman, who is considered to be the manicurist to the stars in Hollywood and New York. Nobody else in the surrounding area offers her polish line, so we’re really excited to have it here. We also offer SpaRitual, which is a great vegan line. Then, of course, we have the tried-and-true polish lines Esse, OPI, and the CND Shellac, which is really popular right now.

Speaking of trends, what kind of hot nail trends are you noticing for 2013?

Sanaz: The hottest color for spring is going to be green. Pantone’s pick for color of the year is Emerald. Mint green is going to be hugely popular – it’s the new pink.  Green will also be a big accent color – think jet black nails with green designs, like we saw coming out of the Nicole Miller fashion show in New York.

Becki: Also, white nails are going to be on-trend for the spring. Deborah Lippman created a line specifically to meet that trend, with colors such as “Like a Virgin” and “Don’t Touch Me,” which we’ll have here.


What New Year’s Resolutions do you have for Sugarcoat Nails?

Sanaz: Well, we definitely want to start carrying retail – stay tuned in February for that. We’re going to market in Dallas in a few weeks, and we want to pick up skin care products, make-up brushes, and fun little knick-knacks. We want to be a one-stop shop where you can get your nail service, purchase your beauty products, and pick up a fun little gifts for your girlfriends.

Becki: We also want to really focus on the days that we know are important to our clients. When a new client comes in, we have him or her fill out an intake form where you list your allergies as well as your birthday or anniversary, if applicable. We want to know when your special days are, and we want to celebrate those occasions with you!

Other than that, we want to continue to be your downtown destination for the trendiest manicure!


Be sure to stop in soon and let the girls at Sugarcoat sweeten your day!

Sugarcoat Nails is looking for some talented nail-techs to join their team. If you’re interested, send an email to

Sugarcoat Nails
916A West 12th Street | Austin, TX



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  1. I am so excited to have Sugarcoat Nails as the newest addition to the Enfield Shopping Center.

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