What to look for in a salon.

There are so many salons to choose from, but how do you know which one to pick? Intuition speaks volumes, but there are certain things to look for that could be red flags that often times get over looked. I currently live in Texas, but previously spent 8 years in North Carolina, and was born and raised in California. So these few states will base what I think you should be looking for. Chime in, comment below if your state does something different.

Cleanliness is a given.

If there are excessive nail clippings, trash on the floor, hair clippings but no one is cutting hair at the moment, trash is overflowing, things are not organized. Even the fixtures being dusty, screams to me they don’t care about their space or the overall health of their clients. If an Artist is with a client, doing a full set of nails, it can be common to see a piece of a nail tip that flew away. It happens, but this doesn’t mean they don’t care. Excessiveness or what you feel is “dirty” can be a red flag.

Barbicide jars at stations or at the sinks.

Ok, seeing the jar is great, but is the jar clean? Is the Barbicide a light colored blue? It shouldn’t be super dark in color like a deep ocean blue or green like the fungus growing on your left overs in the fridge from three months ago. Think of that beautifully un-filtered sky blue in Hawaii. Now, they do have other liquid disinfectants that don’t have color. You can tell the solution is mixed in the water though. If you aren’t sure, ask what they disinfect with. When a client comes to me for the first time I let them know my process for my tools, my pedicure bowl, cleaning my tables, etc. I even show them the bottles! This establishes trust, and trust is a big thing in the nail industry.

Heat sterilizer or auto-clave, what the hell is this?

So Texas, requires a high heat sterilizer, or auto-clave in addition to using barbicide. This is the first state I’ve worked In that requires this additional step. I think it’s great, but an auto clave to me seems excessive given we aren’t performing surgery. Let’s be real, it’s a nail service. However, if you go to a salon that has cut you following the basic standard OSHA rules, properly disinfecting the tool these come in handy. This is why you might see the tools going to be used on you in a sterilizer pouch. You will know that they actually have been sterilized because the pouch changes colors. For our industry the standard is a light blue to a light brown, the seal is where the color changes. This is also an indicator for the Artist that they have been sterilized to the appropriate time.

Towels, towels and more towels!

I think it might be safe to say, ALL states require bleach in addition to laundry detergent to be used when cleaning the salon towels. If you are receiving a service and the towels, sheets, robes are stained. Guess what? They are not doing the laundry correctly. It also isn’t professional seeing towels with holes, strings coming off the end. The cost of owning a salon comes with investing in items such as towels. Yes, they can be costly, but so can losing clients because you won’t replace them when it is necessary and clean them properly. Sorry baking soda, vinegar and love just doesn’t cut it.

Nail files, toe separators, pedicure slippers and buffer blocks, oh my!

None of these can be re-used! Why? Because it’s gross, who wants cooties from the previous person they were used on? I know I don’t, and this is a way to spread some unwanted friends in a nail salon! You’re friend fungus, or athletes foot…ew. These should either be given to you or thrown away in a trash can, not a pretty basket from World Market™️ underneath the nail drying station.

Callus buffers…

Don’t let them use a cheese grater on your skin, why? Your skin creates calluses as a protective barrier from getting blisters. When these metal foot files, even Credo knives, are used to remove your calluses; your skin in return and vengeance, will grow back faster, thicker, stronger and have a hardness to it. Calluses should be worked on slowly. At home care for your feet is crucial for keeping calluses from getting worse. You only need to get a Pedicure once a month, twice a month is a treat.

If you are suffering from cracking, calluses, dryness…use A+D Ointment. Treatment: nightly for 30 days, use a Pumice Stone twice a week! Just after the first week huge difference. Then the second month switch to weekly treatments. A great morning foot lotion is important, I love Footlogix Daily Maintenance it is amazing! Free of perfume and strong fragrances.

So I feel I might have touched on everything that is considered basic industry standard. If there is anything I missed leave a comment below!



The Nail Society

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The Nail Society

Published Freelance Nail Artist serving you in the Houston + Greater Houston Area.

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