Bargains Are Good, Infections Are Not: Choosing a Clean Nail Salon
Here at The Stylish City, we’re all about saving money. Heck, you could even say that it’s our primary goal. What we’re not OK with, though, is skimping and cutting corners. For example, a super discounted pair of shoes may be alluring, but they’re not worth your money if you’ll never wear them. And sometimes it’s not about buying cheap things, as there are times when splurging today means dollars saved tomorrow. Ultimately, we’re all about making wise financial decisions when it comes to your style and beauty senses.
Which leads us to nail salons, where pathogens have the potential to thrive. There are many a Groupon and countless salons with enticing specials that draw you in. We love getting a good deal, but not when it compromises health, happiness and safety. If you’re a little unsure about the cleanliness of a salon, refer to these tips before handing over your hands and feet.
1. Get There Early And Look Around
“Arrive 15 minutes early to your appointment so that you have time to glance around the salon,” advises Robert Urfer. He’s the founder of Lucas-Cide Salon and Spa Disinfectant, so he knows all about banishing bacteria. Urfer says to evaluate whether the salon presents itself as clean, professional and organized. “A tidy salon is a good indication that the owner and technicians value cleanliness and more likely taking extra steps to sanitize their equipment and tools. If trash cans are overflowing and dust is collecting on shelves, do not trust that the foot baths and nail clippers are sanitary.”
2. Locate The Professional License
All salons must have a license clearly posted near the entrance. With the salon license should also be all the technicians’ individual licenses.
3. Examine The Tool Sterilization Station
Locate the tool sterilization counter. “Some salons use UV sterilizers – devices that resemble toaster ovens,” says Urfer. “A UV sterilizer does not kill bacteria. Instead, you should see a bottle of disinfectant.” That liquid should be clear, not cloudy. Also ask if the salon regularly test strips the disinfectant solution to make sure it’s up to standard.
4. Check Out the Pedi Stations
Technicians should clean and disinfect footbaths after every single use. To do this, they should wash the tub in hot, soapy water and then fill it again with water and disinfectant. That solution should run in the footbath for a minimum of 10 minutes before being emptied and wiped down.
5. See if Technicians Wash Their Hands
“If you are getting acrylic nails or fillings, make sure the nail technician washes her hands before getting started,” advises Urfer. “She should also apply an antibacterial spray or gel to your hands.” Additionally, the technician should use properly disinfected tools and discard disposable items — such as nail files, paper towels, cotton balls and cotton buds — after every use.
6. Cut Cuticles Are A No-No
Even if the customer requests their cuticles cut, it is not wise to do so. “Cuticles provide natural protection against infection in your nail bed,” explains Urfer. Not only that, but cut cuticles are very susceptible to infection. “Rather than allowing the technician to cut them back, ask the technician to either leave them alone or gently push them back.”
3 Tips For an Even Cleaner Experience
- Consider bringing your own nail tools. This not only cuts down on waste, but ensures you’re using tools that have only been used on yourself and were properly cleaned by you.
- If you’re worried about infection, opt for a MedSpa instead of a standard salon. These are overseen by physicians and are held to medical sanitary standards.
- Give the State Board of Cosmetology a ring if you have concerns about a specific spa. “The State Boards of Cosmetology are in place to look out for the clients well being,” says Urfer.
By Wendy Rose Gould
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