Getting your nails done is one of the most relaxing feelings in the world. Whether it’s the complimentary hand massage or x-amount of minutes you spend chatting with your friend or nail technician, it feels great to finally get a chance to decompress from your stressful day. Plus, you get to walk out with a super cute design. But before you book your next mani-pedi appointment, you may want to do some research beforehand.
We’ve all heard the horror stories about nail and skin infections from super sketchy places that use unsanitary utensils or cut costs with unlicensed workers. If it seems shady, chances are that it is. Here’s what you should look out for so you avoid changing your plans from a simple mani-pedi session to a doctor’s visit.
THERE ARE ZERO LICENSES ON DISPLAY.
The first red flag for a suspicious salon is if none of the nail technicians have proof of their credentials where you can openly see it. Having a technician who is properly trained is crucial to having a good experience. When it comes to hygiene and safety, there are many protocols that must be followed. In most states, having your license in view is required by law.
THE WORK STATIONS ARE FILTHY.
Here’s a word of advice: If the floors or equipment look like they have not been cleaned in a long time, run for the hills. Your nail technician should either take extra care sterilizing the tools (preferably using an autoclave or UV light sterilizer) or open a new pack in front of you. In fact, most states mandate salons to use a new nail file for each customer. For extra cautions, any tool that isn’t metal should also be new. Another tell-tale sign of an unsterile manicure station is food lying around from the workers’ lunch break.
YOUR TECHNICIAN DOESN’T USE GLOVES OR A MASK.
Not only is this a serious risk to your health, it also affects your technician. There may be harmful ingredients in the nail polish you wear. For instance, some polishes contain formaldehyde which is known to cause cancer. Wearing the mask and gloves protects your technician from getting sick and also keeps your nails from getting infected by possible germs. If your nail salon doesn’t carry nontoxic products, you may want to bring your own to be safe.
THERE’S NO VENTILATION SYSTEM IN PLACE.
You love getting mani-pedis as much as the next girl, but that doesn’t mean you’ll ever get used to that strong nail salon smell. The air needs to be circulated somehow, whether it’s via fans or a fancier ventilation system. Being in a well-ventilated room will decrease your chances of feeling dizzy or getting a headache.
THE PEDICURE TUBS ARE GRIMY.
This is a huge no-no. Pedicure tubs are a breeding ground for fungus. Before you sit, make sure that your chair is wiped down and the tub is completely drained and disinfected. Poor tub hygiene is the biggest sign of a sketchy nail salon.