If you hanker after first class service wherever you go, finding a hair and nail salon that meets these exacting standards is not always easy in Singapore. Branché Hair and Nail is a Japanese salon that hails from Aishi and recently opened a branch in the newly refurbished Capitol Piazza. Besides the posh décor — think high ceilings, marble finishes and plush leather salon chairs — the hair salon and Caplus Nail that resides inside, inject all their treatments with a dose of Japanese professionalism and attention to detail.

All customers are offered a drink from the complimentary bar. I opted for a delicious matcha latte, but champagne is also an option. I was then whisked away to the private Caplus Nail, headed by 'nailist' Safori for my session. The nail bar was relaxing and comfortable, an important point as you'll be spending considerable time there. After a brief discussion, I opted for simple nail art merging my original idea of coloured blocks on each nail tip with Safori's own creations she had designed for an earlier collaboration for Shu Uemura and French designer/artist Yazbukey.

Branche interior

The preparation for my nail art and plain paragel manicure took 90 minutes. Such was Safori's attention to detail in filing and shaping my nails into pristine ovals, pushing back and gently buffing my cuticles and layering extra strong gel on any parts of the nail that were chipped. Safori and I settled on an off-white, greyish gel base that she painstakingly mixed to complement my tanned skin and then painted on with a paint brush layer by layer.

She then proceeded to complete her tiny masterpiece of the smallest of canvases. My nail art was dotted with quirky yet anatomically-accurate lips, eyes and lashes, as well as the block design on the tips. These hand-drawn details were so well-executed, my friends mistook them for stickers.

Be prepared to spend over two hours to get your gel manicure plus nail art done, but the time spent is well worth it. Even if you are coming down for a simple gel manicure sans any nail art, you'll be pleased with the flawless job and the less damaging paragel used — and remember to ask Safori to custom mix a shade just for you.

From $115 for a gel manicure. Branché Hair and Nail is at #B1-33 Capitol Piazza or visit them here.