Having my nail tech certification I often get asked for nail tips, and suggestions for the best nail salons. I do my own nails, but occasionally if there's a group of us doing a pedi-party I will go to a salon. But I'm very picky about where I go - particularly when it comes to sanitation.
Here's some advice for doing your own nails and tips for looking for a clean nail salon.
Doing it Yourself
Whether you're applying regular polish or a gel the same rule applies - polish adheres to rough or sticky surfaces. This is why nail techs file/buff the shine off your natural nail. Otherwise if we didn't, that colour would peel off your nails within a couple of days.
For those of you who want to invest in a gel system - there are 2 types: UV and LED gels. UV gels require a 2 minute cure with a UV nail light. LED gels are newer and only require a 30sec cure with an LED nail light. Make sure the gels you buy are compatible with your nail light because they are not always interchangeable. Important - when curing, keep your polish capped and away from the light! Otherwise your polish brush is going to start hardening.
When buying polishes stick to the brands you know - don't go for the cheap. Brands you've never heard of may contain ingredients that cause allergic reactions. Some of the brands I recommend include: OPI, Morgan Taylor, Gelish, CND Shellac and Akzentz.
Salon & Sanitation
There is always a possibility of injury when getting your nails done. Sharp tools like cuticle nippers and metal cuticle pushers can cause damage. There is also the risk of infection and even bacteria that causes nail fungus. So finding a clean nail salon is important.
Pedicure chairs with jets
I NEVER use whirlpool jet pedicure chairs. Bacteria, including the ones that cause nail fungus, loves warm moist environments. So when you have jets, that bacteria can linger in the plumbing. In order to fully clean that tub, the salon would need to fill the tub and run the jets with the right ratio of cleaner or bleach after each client. And when a salon books clients back to back, I can assure you there is no time to do this properly.
Each client should be getting a CLEAN set of nail instruments - metal and plastic tools like nippers and nail brushes can be disinfected with either an autoclave or a professional grade cleaner like Pre-Empt. But things like wooden cuticle sticks and foam toe separators can not. When I do a nail service, I will offer the wooden cuticle stick and toe separators to my client to take home if they wish because they can not be used again for another client.
This has been around for a little while now. It is a process where you dip the nail and finger into powder and it does not require curing. But if the client has a cut or broke skin on the finger then your entire jar of powder is now contaminated. Make sure your nail tech is pouring out your own container of powder and when your service is finished, watch to see if that left over powder is being thrown out or if it’s being returned to the jar (that is a no no!).
Health Inspections & Research
And finally - do your research. Health reports are public information. In the Fraser Health region you can find out how your local salon did on past inspections HERE.
Below is an example of a local salon who is flagged as "HIGH RISK" because the tools and the jet tubs were not disinfected properly.
Hope these tips have been helpful. Drop a comment if you have any questions! 💅