BY EMMIE SIROKY
Taking a trip to a nail salon is a weekly ritual for some people, while for others it’s a rare treat. Regardless of how often you visit a salon, you want to be sure it is sanitary.
When walking into a business it’s hard to tell if it’s sanitary or not, but there are things to look for.
Make sure they are using disposable nail files and if they are, ensure it’s one per customer. If they aren’t disposable, then they need to be metal only, so that they can be sterilized between clients. The other types of files cannot be sterilized and so they should not be used more than once per client. The cuticle pushers should also be a one-time use, and customers should be given fresh, clean linens or disposable towels.
Although you can’t see those red flags just by peeking in the window, there are other ways to get background information about a salon.
“The reception area and entranceway is a high-traffic zone, so it might be hard to tell just from appearances. A better bet is to look up the spa’s inspection history before you go,” said Amalia Ramirez, marketing and communications person for Gina’s College of Advanced Aesthetics and Hairstyling. “The Waterloo Region has an online listing where you can look up a spa or salon by name and it will list the results of their inspections. You can use this to see if they’ve ever had any infractions and make an informed decision before you book an appointment. It’s a great way to be certain because you can’t always judge by appearances.”
Having a salon that strives in having clean tools starts from the beginning. Ramirez believes that teaching nail students to use clean tools will help them to run a better salon and have happier customers.
“This is something we consider extremely important at Gina’s College – proper sanitation and infection control is absolutely vital to a professional service. It’s like cleanliness in a restaurant – you would never want to eat at a restaurant where the kitchen is dirty and unhygienic and it’s the same with spa services,” said Ramirez. “When customers are paying for a spa service, they expect a professional service and that includes proper infection control … Bad sanitation can have a slew of negative effects on your business. You can lose clientele and your credibility and your reputation as a professional go down the drain. And it can be even more extreme, like a fine from health inspectors or even having your business shut down.”
Going to an unsanitary nail salon won’t just leave you with a few broken nails. There are infections and funguses you can pick up from dirty tools, such as athlete’s foot.
“When I go into nail salons I always look to make sure all nail polish bottles are closed and stored properly,” said Whitney Shaw, a regular at Mickey’s Nail Salon in Guelph. “I like to make sure all table tops are clean and free from clutter. Having a lot of stuff on the tabletop makes me feel like the place is dirty.”
If a place is dirty there are a couple of things you can do. Start by letting the business owner know that you are not happy with the service. If you aren’t satisfied with their response, find a new spa or salon.
You can look up health and safety reviews on chd.region.waterloo.on.ca.