We’ve all heard those nail salon horror stories that make our skin crawl. Stories of infections and unsanitary practices have a way of clouding the mind. But, have these catastrophes made you avoid the nail salon altogether? There’s no need for that. A professional mani/pedi service is one of life’s little luxuries and we don’t want you to miss out. Plus, most salons are running things just as they should be, offering fabulous (and sanitary) services. Sometimes it’s just a matter of being a little cautious and doing your homework. To help you with this, we’ve compiled a little list of things to look out for when you book your next salon appointment.
A little practicality goes a long way. Before stepping foot into a salon, do your due diligence and see what the general consensus is on the establishment. See what past clients have to say about the salon's ethical standards and service quality. Look out for client experiences including infections and poor working conditions and practices. Infections, especially, are not to be taken lightly, so even one or two stories of infection should be a red flag that this probably isn’t the salon for you.
Check Out the Atmosphere
Once you’ve decided on a salon, your research isn’t over. Arrive a couple minutes early and survey the staff and general atmosphere. Look for license certificates and credentials on the walls (your nail tech needs to be licensed!). Also, make sure the space is tidy. A key indicator to a salon’s overall cleanliness is often the restroom. If the salon’s staff isn’t keeping the facilities clean, it’s likely they’re not keeping a close eye on the sanitation of the rest of the business. Also ensure staff professionalism and proper work etiquette. Trust your instincts! If something doesn’t feel right, you reserve the right to leave.
Avoid Jet Baths
Stay away from spa chairs with jet baths. While they’re not a hard “no-no,” they do circulate used water through the system, which can make these tubs breeding grounds for bacteria if the filters aren’t changed regularly. There’s no way to guarantee that these are being maintained correctly, so you might want to avoid them altogether. Opt for a porcelain or stainless steel tub that’s separate from the chair. If the salon only has jet baths, ask the technician to change the filter in front of you to make sure your tootsies are protected.
Clean, Sterilized Tools Only
Nail services involve a lot of clipping, filing and buffing, making your nails (on both hands and feet) vulnerable to infection if the tools aren’t pristine. Here are few ways to ensure cleanliness:
● Make sure disposable tools (files, cotton swabs, wooden sticks, buffing pads) are taken from new, sealed packaging.
● Metal tools (such as nail clippers, cuticle trimmers, etc.) should be cleaned with hospital-grade solutions (such as Barbicide) or UV sterilizers. If the technician is using Barbicide, the solution should be clear, not cloudy.
● Ask the technicians to clean the tools in front of you using the said methods above. Rise above the possible eye rolling from your nail tech and think about the safety of your precious hands and feet.
● To ensure complete safety, you can always bring your own tools!
Appropriate Equipment & Tool Usage
This rule is especially important with pedicure services. Recently, some salons have been exposed for using tools like callus-cutters on feet. This is a huge “NO WAY” in the professional beauty world as these razor-like tools can break the skin, cause bleeding and make your calluses even worse. Look out for these outlawed tools and ensure the proper files are being used on your hands and feet. If anything looks off, speak up and ask your technician about the tool he or she is using.