By Liana Shlien
Photography by Kalynn Friesen
Noir Nail Bar, the nail salon in Toronto’s Liberty Village, starkly contrasts with your basic mani-pedi joint.
There is a polished ambiance felt as one wanders into Noir, comparable to a chic lounge, with its moody lighting, wall art and soul-house music. It’s not hard to see why this modern nail salon is a draw to the young up-and-coming neighbourhood.
Melissa Leiva, whose background is in cosmetology, says she always wanted to put her own flair into a spa. Leiva co-owns Noir with her mother Teresa, and describes the salon, which opened in February, as “a little edgy and funky, but not too trendy.” The name “Noir” was derived from her devotion to the colour black, she says, “with hints of pink.”
Making optimal use of the intimate space, each service is stationed separately. The “nail bar,” complete with heightened stools, and of course a mini bar, is front and centre. Leiva had this format in mind for hosting events with bartenders and DJs, who came to play for their official launch party in April. Noir was also the site for the Diet Coke and Joe Fresh product launch Beauty Boost, and a handful of girly spa and bachelorette parties – liquor permit not included.
Lining the hall are private rooms for waxing, lash or brow tinting, and hidden in the back is the pedicure lounge. Leiva says this separation of manicure from pedicure is well-received by clients, who can enjoy a relaxing, no-rush service: sip coffee, watch TV or even surf complimentary Wi-Fi, while getting their toes pruned and painted.
“I want them to feel like they’re getting away,” says Leiva.
This type of enjoyable atmosphere that encourages friendly lingering is what makes first-time customers become regulars. “It is not your typical spa environment that’s just ‘in and out’,” says Shayna Pereira, one of the estheticians.
Leiva adds that to her “it feels like a family – like home.”
Aside from offering the reputable OPI and China Glaze, one of the other most popular polish options is CND Shellac or Axxium (OPI brand Shellac). The treatment costs an extra $15, but is well worth it for the mileage – manicures can last two weeks or longer, without chips or scratches.
Pereira says that a Shellac pedicure during winter can last for several months.
Noir Nail Bar