How to Choose a Top Quality Nail Salon

This information is reprinted from an editorial in Nails Magazine and is meant as a guide for the nail consumer in choosing a top quality salon. This guide may be used to determine whether your salon is providing not only great nails, but a safe and pleasant experience as well.

  • Are the salon and individual workstations clean? Does your nail technician observe proper sanitation practices?

Before the technician begins your service, you should both wash your hands and nails thoroughly. The towel at the table should be cleaned off between clients, disinfected with a hard surface disinfectant, and freshly washed linens put out. All non-disposable instruments used in the service should have been disinfected. All disposable items should have been discarded and fresh ones taken out for your use. Don’t be afraid to ask your nail technician how the instruments have been disinfected, and what solutions have been used. Ask to see the bottle of sanitizing solution if you aren’t satisfied.

  • What is included in the price of the service?

Many salons provide all-inclusive service prices; some salons charge a-la-carte. Be sure you understand exactly what services are performed for the price being charged. For example, is polish extra? Is top coat or fast-dry extra? Will you be charged for broken nails?

  • Did the nail technician explain the service to you, ask questions about your needs and inform you of proper home care?

There have been so many advancements in artificial nail products that nail technicians can make the most natural looking nails in the world, but artificial nails aren’t for everyone. Your nail technician should ask you about your needs and explain the at-home maintenance you should perform to care for your nails between salon visits. You should also share pertinent medical information with her/him (certain medications, for example, can hinder the application of certain nail products).

  • Does the salon have a strong odor?

There is an odor associated with some artificial nail products, but there is no danger to customers smelling it during their service. However, an overpowering odor can be an indication of an inadequate ventilation system in the salon. Ask your nail technician or the salon owner what is done in the salon to minimize exposure to odors, vapors, and filing dust for customer comfort. An overpowering odor can also signify the use of MMA which has been prohibited by the FDA for use in nail Enhancement Products since the 70’s.

  • Does the technician use a drill or electric file?

Drills (or electric files) are commonly used in the industry and, when used properly, are perfectly safe. You should not feel any pain or burning when the drill is being used; if you experience any discomfort, tell your technician immediately. The only time a drill should be used on the natural nail is with a buffer (no grit).

  • Are the technician and the salon licensed?

All states except Alaska, Connecticut, Nebraska and Utah require licenses for nail technicians, and most states require that the license be displayed for customers to see, and have a photograph of the technician attached to the license.

  • What products are used in the salon?

Most salons use products that are for professionals only, and your technician should be able to explain what products she uses and why. There have been a great many advances in nail chemistry in the last 10 years, but some salons still use chemicals whose use in nail care is not recommended, specifically a product called methyl methacrylate (MMA).

  • What if you have a problem with your nails?

Good communication between nail professional and customer is essential, so if you are not happy with your service or your nails, talk to your technician or the salon owner about it.