Your nails create big beauty salon business. Spending anywhere from $10 - $45 a pop for a manicure and $15 - $50 for a pedicure (not including tip), your weekly or monthly salon visits are costing you precious pampering dollars. No wonder it's a six billion dollar a year industry.Skip to see the 11 things your nail salon doesn't want you to know now.
As you can imagine, the money you spend on these little luxuries is very important to the salon industry, meaning they will do whatever it takes to keep you coming back for more. While sometimes "whatever it takes" is going above and beyond excellent service, cleanliness and technique, it can also mean cutting corners and deceiving the salon layman in order to keep costs down and business booming.
And not to totally scare you, but what's supposed to be a luxurious treat, can sometimes turn into your worst nightmare -- think skin eating diseases and infections. While yes, millions of women get manicures each year and don't experience any serious or life-threatening side effects, you'd be naive to believe that it could never happen to you. Nail salons that have been insufficiently cleaned or performed bad sanitization practices, as well as ones with inadequately trained nail technicians, could be a breeding ground for bacteria and a dangerous place for you to "unwind."
This is why we went straight to the pros who know -- nail technicians and a podiatrist in order to uncover the secrets nail salons don't want you to know. Read on to learn how to save money at the salon, your nails and possibly your life.
You are always at risk
Podiatrist Dr. Robert Spalding, author of "Death by Pedicure," states that "at this time, an estimated one million unsuspecting clients walk out of their chosen salon with infections -- bacterial, viral and fungal." And no matter which salon you go to, there is always a risk of infection. He claims that in his research "75 percent of salons in the United States are not following their own state protocols for disinfections," which includes not mixing their disinfectant solutions properly on a daily basis, not soaking their instruments appropriately, and using counterfeit products to reduce costs (for example Windex substituted for Barbicide), says the doctor. And the problem is that there is no way to really "verify an instrument has been properly soaked and sterilized," without watching the process.
They don't turn customers away
Like most businesses, most nail salons won't turn away paying customers, which means that people who are sick, have nail infections or foot fungus are being worked on next to you instead of being referred to an appropriate medical professional.
Dr. Spalding says that the greatest danger of the nail salon is "The transmission of infection from one client to another." And with "millions of people whose immune systems are compromised by diabetes, HIV, cancer, hepatitis and other infective organisms" booking services offered in nail salons, many are dangerously susceptible to infection, warns the doctor.
They swap and dilute bottles
In her long history as a nail technician, celebrity manicurist Jin Soon Choi, owner of Jin Soon Natural Hand and Foot Spas in New York City, says she has heard of many salons filling expensive lotion bottles with a cheap generic lotion. That way the salons can charge you more for the manicure by claiming to use prestige products, but in reality are just deceiving you.
Similarly, she says that some salons will dilute nail polish bottles that have become clumpy from old age or from too much air exposure with nail polish remover. This action compromises the quality of the polish, which will make the formula chip easier once on your nails. To ensure the life of your color and to protect any possible germ.
Just because there is no blood, doesn't mean you haven't been cut
"Breaks in the skin can be microscopic or highly visible," says Dr. Spalding. They can either come in with the client via "cuts, scratches, hangnails, bitten nails, insect bites, paper cuts, split cuticles -- or be created in the salon," he says. "Nail techs using callus-cutting tools and nail nippers, files, cuticle pushers, and electric burrs and drills, can and do scratch and nick skin," sometimes drawing blood and sometimes not. But just because no blood is visible, doesn't mean these "portals of entry" aren't susceptible to infective organisms, the doctor advises.
If you've ever had your nails filed and it momentarily feels "too hot in the corner for even a second," then you've had the surface layer of your skin broken -- leaving it open for infection.