Treatwell has been a godsend as far as my beauty needs are concerned. Being an expat in Cologne, who doesn’t speak the language, poses a lot of trouble – especially when I need certain services.

I was looking for a manicure and found Kawaii Nails on Treatwell. It had good reviews, was close to my place and claimed to be a specialised nails studio. It looked good on paper, so I went ahead and booked an appointment online. You gotta love online booking systems!

Traffic (and not my usual habit) pushed me behind the schedule. I called in to inform and was happy to hear that they could still accommodate me.

I arrived, looked around but couldn’t find a manager or receptionist. All of the staff were busy attending to customers; eventually, one of them pulled down his masks and asked me to take a seat when I told him I had an appointment.

He then assigned a person to do my manicure and pedicure. I was guided to a nail station, and he started with manicure. He then noticed my shoes and told me that it would take 30 minutes for my nails to completely dry.

Bummer, because I had no idea what was he saying.

His German was compromised and mine is a mess. He then called the same guy who had (sort of) received me. He spoke English fluently and translated my conversations for the evening. Bless him.

So we started with pedicure instead. I had asked for a 60-minute Luxus Spa pedicure, with colour, on a massage chair. In my rather extensive experience of pedicures, a spa pedicure is relaxing and includes a foot massage. This one was more like an express pedicure, with the exception of a massage chair. Ethan (my therapist) was efficient and went through nail file – heel file – exfoliation – nail colour process thoroughly. I wish there was moisturising and massage included as well.

Next came express manicure, which only focused on nails. File – cuticle removal – nail colour. There wasn’t any love extended beyond nails. Fair enough.

What was perhaps most disappointing was the quality of nail lacquer. I chose one from the shade card, so don’t know the brand. To my surprise, the colour literally peeled off entirely before I went to bed that night. To my further dismay, the remaining started coming off soon after and I peeled them all during my flight next day. Without a nail polish remover.

If you were wondering why I had naked nails on IIFA’s red carpet, now you know.

What I liked about my experience at Kawaii Nails:

The massage chair was phenomenal and very relaxing. The staff was pleasant and hospital, and I truly appreciated the translation services. Also, the exfoliator – green grainy potion – used for pedicure was coarse enough and worked well to scrub off dead skin.

All in all, it was an average experience. And I would probably try out another place instead of returning to Kawaii Nails, because there is nothing like a bad manicure.

In the meantime, here are memories of some good manicures: