Beauty or Bust? Sense Beauty & Lifestyle Store

by Daphne Thiele


Sense opened four months ago in a prominent location on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. The giant picture window full of a rainbow of my favorite Essie polishes caught my eye, so I made an appointment for myself and a girlfriend to be guinea pigs. Sense is opened late, which I truly appreciate in a city closing before happy hour, and they were very accommodating scheduling the two of us for last minute evening pedicures.

Once arriving at the salon, we were ushered into big, plush chairs and welcomed with jasmine tea. The atmosphere was soothing with soft trance music and a minimal black and white ‘soda fountain chic’ interior. That nice picture window I mentioned earlier works both ways, as we were also greeted by lurking vagabonds and tourists passing by on their way to the Bulldog.


My manicurist was the store owner, former Soap Treatment Store technician Nadia Bouchingour, and the neighboring manicurist was no less skilled. We were treated to an aromatic soak in the built-in foot baths, followed by the usual clipping and shaping of the cuticles and nails. We scheduled the ‘Sensual Pedicure’, which included the removal of calluses, because our feet were looking a little haggard after a summer of flip-flops. This was done by hand quickly with a metal file and, unfortunately, we were left with some patchy dryness. These ladies would really need the tenacity of a power drill to get our feet baby-soft.

After another soak, I was asked “would you like me to remove the hair?” This was followed with a few quips from my friend likening me to Sasquatch. My embarrassment was quickly replaced with curiosity as the manicurist whipped out a space-age heated wax roller and quickly defuzzed my pigs.

We were now to the grande dame of the pedicure, the foot massage. This is essentially the only reason I get pedicures. I can paint my toenails at home, but convincing my boyfriend to give me a foot massage requires a lot of bribery. The massage of my feet and calves with a peppermint scented cream was divine, endorsed by the fact that I nodded off for a few minutes. I was awoken with a choice of polish colors. I use ‘choice’ loosely, as she was holding only a handful of bottles. I find joy in searching through a hundred shades of red to find the exact color of my inner diva, but since my friend was already using the ‘red’, I went with a shade I can only describe as Barbie Pink. A drop of thinner was added to the polish bottle, which means it’s past its prime, but nevertheless, my shiny pink toes made me happy on this dismal Amsterdam day.

We were offered more tea and left to chat as long as we liked as the polish dried. All in all, Sense was a truly relaxing, pleasant, and professional experience. As my girlfriend and I headed off in search of some good wine in our flip-flops, we agreed that Sense will definitely host another pedi night for us in the future.

Sense Beauty & Lifestyle Store
Beauty ¶¶¶¶¶

Location: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 114
Hours: M 12:00-22:00, T-F 10:00-22:00, Sat 10:00-18:00
Services: Mani/Pedi, Facials, Waxing, and Eyebrow/Lash Tinting
Cost: Basic/Deluxe Pedicure €35/43, Manicure €20/28
Products: Essie, Dermalogica
Specials: The Sensual Rich Experience, 3.25 hrs., €140.
Sensual Facial, Manicure, Pedicure while noshing on sushi from Kobe House and sipping on Rich canned Prosecco (the one ridiculously marketed by Paris Hilton.)

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