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9 Things to Watch Out For At the Nail Salon

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Last Updated: Jan 24, 2017

With the warm weather just around the corner, the open-toed shoe season is finally here. And that means we will be ramping our manicure and pedicure schedules. This means you should be vigilant on spotting and sketchy practices at your local nail salon. It’s worth noting that some practices can wreck havoc and shorten the life your nails, or even worse, put your health at risk. Before you make your next visit at your local nail salon, it is worth watching out for the following things according to celebrity manicurist and pedicurist experts.

1. How Clean is the Work Station

Inspect the salon’s floor and ensure it is clean. Check if they have scattered clippings from customer’s toenails and fingernails. Industry insider Athena Elliott insists that the floor should be cleaned after serving every customer. Inspect the drawers and tables to find if there is dirt. The garbage cans should be properly covered without overflowing piles of trash.

2. Inquire their Disinfection Methods

Inquire their Disinfection Methods

There’s nothing wrong in inquiring how the tools are disinfected and whether they follow the state’ protocol. Liquid disinfections and autoclave are acceptable to sterilize equipment. Nearly in all States, the law requires that salons should use brand new nail files for every single client. It’s very easy to contract infections if the salon uses unsanitary nail files and other porous equipment.

3. Do they Wear Gloves?

If your technician is wearing gloves, it is an indication that they are mindful of their health as well as that of their clients. Unfortunately, a survey by NAILS magazine found out that only 17% of nail technicians wear gloves regularly. Elliot says hat gloves can significantly prevent the spread of bacteria to a client. Again, insist on finding out if they change or disinfect gloves after attending each client.

4. Do Some Online Research and Communicate with Your Technician

Communicate with Your Technician

It’s paramount to carry out some online research and communicate with your nail technician. If there is no communication, chances are that you won’t be satisfied with their services. Elliott says miscommunication is the major cause of nail infections and lawsuits from nail infections. Check to ensure that the salon is licensed and has some online presence and reviews.

5. Using the Correct File

Apart from asking if the file is new, be vigilant to find out if it is the right one. Just like sandpaper, you can find files in different grits. It’s very unfortunate that most manicurist and pedicurist tend to use generic files which are too coarse and may damage natural nails. Pay attention on how it sounds on your nails. A fine-grit has a higher-pitched sound and usually feels pleasant while a coarse-grit file has a deeper sound that is unpleasant, according to Elliott.

6. Filing the Right Way

Filing the Right Way

If they are using the right kind of a file and it is new, then ensure that they are filing the right way. Filing back and forth triggers microscopic splits in the nail which can cause damages like peeling and chipped polish. Ensure that your technician is filing from the outside in towards the center. This prevents splitting.

7. Thinning Nail Polishes

If you spot any thinning polishes such as acetone, it’s an indication that the salon is trying to save money or ensure that you will go back soon. Thinning polishes are meant to water down their chemicals, rendering them ineffective. You can suggest providing your own nail polish.

8. Are the Chemicals Safe

Chemicals Safe

You should insist on finding out where they are sourcing the chemicals they are using on your nails. Check out to find if they have clear and well-defined labels for quality concerns. You can go further and verify if the ingredients used in their formulation are safe, especially if you have a sensitive skin. You can also suggest the brands which you prefer to be used on your nails.

9. Is the Whole Process Comfortable?

A session in a nail salon should be comfortable as relaxing in a spa at your home. In case of any discomforts or pain, it’s a sign that something is amiss. You are not supposed to endure any kind of pain or extreme uneasiness even if the nail technician requests so. Elliot insists that you should look for another salon if you are met with any kind of resistance.

See Also: Stunning Nail Art Design Inspirations


It is important to be vigilant every time you are visiting a nail salon. It is equitable to a hospital because you are going for a treatment. Bear in mind that most nail technicians are in business and would like to make the best from every client. It’s recommendable to conduct your own research to find out the reputable nail salons within your area. You don’t have to focus on shine and glitter but also the quality of their service and your safety.

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