Nail Salons

The Dirt On Nail Salons- What to Look out for When Choosing a Nail Salon

We have all heard horror stories about inexpensive nail salons spreading diseases with unsanitary practices, but sometimes a high-end spa experience just isn’t in the budget.  When it comes to mani/pedis, do big bucks always equate to better service?  Not necessarily. There are a few key things to look for when choosing a nail salon or technician, regardless of the price tag attached.

Nail Salons- What to Look for & What to Avoid

General Cleanliness

If you walk into a salon with filings and clippings all over the floor and work stations, turn around and run back out the door.  There is no excuse for not cleaning up after each and every service. It will make you wonder what other sanitation practices are being skimped on.


Emery boards and buffers cannot be properly cleansed and disinfected between clients.  Look for a salon that uses single-use, disposable files and buffers to avoid the potential spread of disease.


An autoclave uses steam and pressure to kill all living pathogens.  All metal implements should be sterilized in an autoclave before being reused on another client.  UV light “sterilizers” are not sufficient.  Be weary of a technician that takes tools out of an acrylic dust-filled drawer and attempts to use them on you.

Old Polish

Beware of bottles of nail polish that look like they’ve been sitting on the shelf since the 80s.  Improper storage and exposure to light can promote discolouration or fading of the pigments, as well as separation.  In addition, watch out for super thick polish.  While it’s inevitable that air will be introduced into the bottle every time it is opened, a salon should be changing them out when they become too goopy.  Many technicians will use thinners to extend the life of a polish. Be weary of this practice – too much acetone will damage the integrity of the chemical structure of the polish. This can result in a chipped manicure after only a couple of days.


Your technician should be willing to answer any questions you have about a service being provided and the Salon’s sanitation practices. Make sure you are both clear as to what you are looking for.  If you can’t properly communicate with your technician, you likely won’t end up happy.  When you’re paying for a service it is your right to leave the salon smiling with satisfaction instead of screaming in horror.




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About the Author

Melissa Orlando

Melissa Orlando

Melissa has been following her passion for beauty for over a decade. While specializing in everyday beauty and wedding hair and makeup, Melissa has also worked in Film & Television. In 2015, she was a contestant on The Marilyn Denis Show’s Search For The Next Hair Expert. In November 2016, Melissa and her husband David […]

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