February 27, 2015 10:00 AM

What Is It: Milk & Cookies Kids Spa and Salon

Who Tried It: Regan Stephens, Photo Editor

Why We Did It: I imagined I’d take my daughter for her first manicure when she turned 16 — around the age I got my first. (A celebration for passing my driver’s test.)

But at just 3½, she’s had an eagle eye on every painted digit we’ve passed for months. When I heard about Milk & Cookies — a spa for the small set — I couldn’t resist treating her to a little Valentine’s Day outing.

Regan Stephens

Pros: The Milk & Cookies Spa and Salon is adorable. The stuff of Willy Wonka’s dreams, if he were in the beauty biz — there are glass vessels filled with candy-colored, cookie-shaped soaps, a station for creating custom bubble baths and lotions, and mini manicure and pedicure stations.

The moment we walked through the door, Benny was offered her choice of chocolate or strawberry milk and a fresh cookie. We chose her manicure from the delicious list of options: S’mores, Mint Chocolate Chip Cookie and Gummy Worm Mud Pie.

She opted for the classic Milk and Cookies with a strawberry-scented soak and chocolate chip scrub. I’m impressed she didn’t lick her hands.

Regan Stephens

She didn’t like the orange stick under her nails, though she needed it. (The grime that accumulates in the hours since her last bath is baffling.) Sonia, the kind and kid-friendly manicurist, graciously skipped this step and went straight to a gentle buffing, then on to painting — Benny’s favorite part.

Sadly, since this was her first manicure (and she’s, uh, 3) she’s not versed on the tradition of waiting for polish to dry. Poor Sonia had to repaint several times before Benny got the message. To her credit, the manicurist was incredibly patient — more than I can say for anyone who has had to fix my own nails. (I admit, I too have trouble keeping still post-paint.)

For the final touch, Benny chose some glittered colors for the flower decal Sonia painted on two of her nails. The polish line the salon uses is non-toxic and dries in a flash, so after a few short minutes, Benny was ready to show off her new pink nails. To every person we pass on the streets of New York City.

Regan Stephens

The Verdict: Four whole days later — eons in toddler-time — Benny is still showing her perfectly-polished nails to every passerby and reminding me of how much fun she had.

The only drawback of a visit to Milk & Cookies is how spoiled she is now for the experience — no normal spa will ever compete. The salon caters to both girls and boys (though some of the staff reported most boys opt for haircuts) and it’s a fun treat for a well-deserving kid. Even if she hasn’t passed her driver’s license test just yet.

Regan Stephens

Cost: Basic manicures start at $10.

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