4 Tips for Picking a Nail Salon
Getting a manicure or pedicure is one of the lovely mini-luxuries in life that can give you that fresh, sparkling feeling. But in order to feel clean and rejuvenated after a nice mani-pedi, your salon should be spotless, hygienic, and safe. Here's what to look for when picking a nail salon.
All nail salons are required to undergo inspections and health grading on a routine basis. Inspectors investigate whether tools are being sanitized properly; whether stations, floors, and sinks are clean; and whether all salon employees are licensed technicians. Salon technicians are required to complete a certain number of hours of training, which includes education regarding bacteria, sanitation, acrylic use and application, and other safety concerns. Check to make sure that your salon has its safety inspection score displayed and that your technician's license is displayed and current.
While the safety of the customer is extremely important, it's crucial to look into how the employees are treated as well. Some salons have been found guilty of labor law violations and unsafe work environments. Also, some nail polishes, nail design materials, and nail polish removers contain harsh chemicals that can cause serious health problems after prolonged exposure.
Ask your salon whether it uses products that are low in volatile organic compounds (low-VOC products), which are safer to use in salons where employees are exposed for hours on end. Also, check whether your salon technician is wearing personal protective equipment. Salon technicians should be wearing disposable personal respirators, even when working with low-VOC products, to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals. They should also be wearing gloves and should have supportive stations to prevent back, knee, or wrist problems as much as possible.
Clean Tool Practices
It's not uncommon for a manicure or pedicure to result in a nick or a scratch. These things happen, especially when dealing with unmaintained cuticles or thick calluses. So if you're going to subject your hands and feet to a little tough love, you'd better make sure that the instruments being used are clean and sanitized.
Although nail salons do undergo health inspections, it's important to observe the salon's actual behavior for yourself just in case the rules go slack between health grades. When you walk into a salon, look around to see that each station has specifically labeled, separate "sanitary" and "soiled" compartments for tools. Salon technicians should always use new, sanitary tools for each guest and should thoroughly clean the surface of the station between guests.
Don't be afraid to ask questions of the employees at your salon. Ask them how they like their work, whether they are treated and compensated well, and whether they take safety precautions to prevent problems from overexposure to chemical fumes. If a salon employee seems reluctant to respond or answers negatively, there's a good chance something is amiss. If you observe or suspect any problems, report your concerns to the Department of Labor.
It takes more training and skill than you may think to be a salon technician. Make sure your salon passes the tests of a health inspection, clean tool practices, and employee care. Get to know your salon employees. They're taking care of you, so be sure to return the favor and show some concern in return.