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Masomi “Marie” Ueno imported a mini Japanese nail-art craze to Los Angeles when she opened her first salon there in 2006. Now she’s on her second New York City spot since 2010, and waits for appointments still hover around two weeks. Marie Nails specializes in intricate designs done in Calgel, a long-lasting, chipless polish that usually stays fresh for weeks but requires a short bake under an ultraviolet lamp to set. Some of the outlandish requests have included the Givenchy mascot (a rottweiler) for a fashionista and portraits of a client and her beau. Not interested in wearing garden tomatoes or leopard spots on your fingertips? You can still pick from about a hundred Calgel shades in a booklet of painted press-ons and have lacquered toenails that last well past your beach vacation. Once you pull your tootsies out from the U.V. light, they’re dried hard so you can cram them back into winter boots immediately. But the real secret at Marie’s is that a regular mani-pedi combo will only run you $30, which, in Soho, is about as rare as a rottweiler on a ring finger.
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