Many of us ladies (and men) enjoy the luxury of nail services. It seems like there is a nail joint on every corner, literally. One if the few indulgences I still enjoy, maintenance wise, is the occasional mani/pedi. It’s relatively quick, I can do it while the kiddos are at preschool, and I have presentable paws and hooves for a couple of weeks. It’s a time to sit and relax, or more accurately, mull over the 800 things I have to get done. The last thing I want to think about is how clean the nail salon is.
I’m not trying to be a buzzkill or ruin anyone’s alone time, but I had a situation arise that made me reexamine the salon I was going to. Nothing awful happened, but it could have. I had been going to a little shop close to home for a few months. I’m guilty of tuning out and getting engrossed in my phone while sitting in the pedicure chair. Something made me put my phone down. When I looked up, I noticed that the place was filthy. I mean, bad nasty. I’d never even noticed. It was very early morning, so it had been like this from the day before. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Gross.
This seems like common sense, but you really want to make sure the nail shop you patronize is clean and up to State Board standards. You can get some really nasty things from these places. Nail fungus is probably the most common side effect of a dirty shop. You can also pick up seriously dangerous things like MRSA, even Hepatitis B.
Here are some tips to tell whether or not you’re flirting with disaster at the nail salon you frequent.
1. Look around. Does it look tidy? Are there dirty towels lying around? Are lids put back on jars? Are the tools lying out in the open air? Dust bunnies all around the furniture? If they aren’t doing the basics of sweeping, then they aren’t cleaning anything else either. My new nail joint uses plastic bowl liners for the pedicure bowls. They look like a giant shower cap and they just throw it out after they use it. Brilliant!
2. Bring your own implements. Bring a nail file and a buffer. They are cheap and easy to get. You can’t sterilize or sanitize these things, so the salons are supposed to discard them after each use. If a salon has tiny squares of buffers, that’s great. It means they throw it out after each use. I know a lot of people bring their own polish too.
3. Check the State Board rating sign. It should be visible and easy to spot. Obviously, you want an A rating. You can also research this online in most states.
4. Is it busy? Are the nail techs just sitting around on their phones? Are there other patrons there? Do they seem like regulars? Odds are other people will notice when things aren’t right. If its always dead at a place, wonder why.
5. You get what you pay for! If you find a deal of the century, be very skeptical. Supplies for a nail salon are expensive. If they seem to be giving it away, they aren’t spending money on things like Barbicide.
6. Check out the polishes. If they look old and crusty, thats a bad sign. It means they’ve been used a lot and sitting around. You want a place that stays on top of the new collections and seems to have fresh product on the shelf. If they don’t have 3 out of 5 colors you ask for, be concerned. Do they have high end brands? OPI and Essie are always good.
7. If they bring out a credo blade for your callouses, do not let them use it on you. These are not allowed at all by State Board in NC ( and most other states), and they can be super dangerous.
8. Ask questions. If you’re unsure of something, ask. It may seem uncomfortable to question someone on cleanliness, but its worth your piece of mind. Ask how they sanitize the utensils. I always tell them I’m a cosmetologist, so they know I’m aware of the cleanliness standards. If you see something that sets off your inner alarm, get out of there. Pay for whatever you’ve had done and get your butt out. It’s not worth the possibility of a nail fungus.
Bottom line is to find somewhere you feel comfortable and safe. I am lucky enough to have two great options in Charlotte. They are both consistent and clean. Polished Nail Bar and Ultra Nail Bar in Ballantyne are both fantastic! A mani/pedi is such an easy way to feel human and should be enjoyable and relaxing. Find a great place and enjoy some alone time, Mommas!