Since May, we haven’t stopped thinking about the New York Times article on the working conditions in nail salons and how our own regular spot may or may not differ from those described. This also got us thinking about the safety regulations in place for the customers and if those are being met in our neighborhood nail shop. To ease your fears, we have taken the guesswork out of the pedicure experience and rounded up the best tips for how to tell if your salon is complying with standard safety and health protocols. Below, you’ll find the telltale signs you should be looking out for at your next pedicure appointment—keep scrolling to see them all!
Before your service begins, both you and your nail technician should wash your hands. Government regulations state that this lessens the risk of spreading germs for both of you, and helps contribute to a clean and tidy workplace for the technicians—which is essential to their (and your!) good health and safety! If your technician comes over to you straight from another client, kindly ask her to wash her hands before she begins your service.
Make sure the tools to be used in the service have been disinfected. Don’t be afraid to ask your nail technician how that salon cleans its tools. As for the disposable tools, such as nail files, buffers, and manicure sticks, those cannot be disinfected, and therefore should be disposed of in a wastebasket immediately after use. Plenty of salons will open the new tools in front of you, but if they don’t, you can request a new set (one that’s opened in front of you). Better yet, bring your own. We like Revlon’s Marchesa Manicure Essentials ($7).
Be cautious of salons that use illegal tools. In most states, the razor-edged tool or device used to remove calluses is illegal. This is because a qualified medical professional should perform a callus removal. Salon technicians, while skilled and trained, should never perform any act that affects the structure or function of living tissue. If you see one of those coming at you, speak up. Stick to the exfoliating scrub instead.
State-operated boards of regulation typically govern nail salons. Most states issue and require a salon to display a health and safety poster. Be sure your salon has one posted on the premises, especially if the board requires it.
When it comes to pedicure chairs, understand the cleaning products that are being used. The EPA states that salons should be using an EPA-registered hospital disinfectant to clean their footbaths. The labels on these products should include the term disinfectant and also hospital or medical, which indicate that the product can be used as a disinfectant on surfaces in these environments and is up to health standards. Some products may have instructions for both sanitizing and disinfecting footbaths, which your technician should be following. Feel free to ask about the process to ensure it’s being followed properly.
If you're still feeling iffy, it's best to err on the side of caution and bring your own nail tools. Turn it into a fun DIY project and pick up a colorful cosmetics case like Ban.do’s Looking Good Makeup Bag ($26) in Ticket Stripe. Stock it with nail files, buffers, orange sticks, clippers, and brushes, which can typically be found at a beauty supply store near you!
Did we miss anything that is important to your salon visit? Tell us below!