How to choose a nail salon...


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Jun 30, 2003
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My local paper has asked if I could write a 'how to choose a nail salon' piece. I just wondered if anyone would be willing to read it over and let me know what they think or add anything to it.

We have 7 non-standard salons (of the suspect MMA variety) locally and a very poor non-MMA one, as well as many good ones obviously. Therefore I want to make sure I cover all angles as well as not being too technical or too long.

I'm not sure whether to add 'ask to see certificates etc, as I'm not sure this will actually be of any use to Joe Public...

Anyway, I'd be grateful if you could let me know what you think.


How to choose a nail salon

The nail industry has never been so strong, however as in all strong industries there are persons who are irresponsible and greedy, interested only in the revenue that can be gained at the expense of others.
Unfortunately such persons within the nail industry are not only taking money from the public, but in many cases their health too.

So, how does an unsuspecting client know what to look for? Here’s a few industry tips…

Ask if it would be possible to have a chat with the technician who would be carrying out your service. As with all trained professionals the technician should be able to answer any queries you might have with ease and leave you feeling confident in their abilities.

The products used
1. Ask what products the technician uses, specifically the nail enhancement products. All products/containers should be clearly marked with the manufacturer’s name.
2. Enhancement products will have a ‘chemical’ smell. However, the smell should not be strong so as to ‘hit you’ when you walk in, or to cause a headache after extended exposure (this is an indication that the technician is using MMA-a cheap toxic acrylic manufactured for industrial use, not cosmetic, which has been prohibited for use within the nail industry in the US for over 12yrs due to it’s health risk factors)
The tools used
1. A skilled technician using a quality product will not need to use an electric file/drill. Technicians using MMA (see 2 above) will definitely be using these as the product is extremely hard to file. Therefore a reputable technician will be using normal nail files and buffers.
2. Nail drills should not under ANY circumstances be used on the natural nail plate.
3. All tools used by a technician should be disinfected between clients in order to prevent cross-contamination. Ask what sanitary procedures the technician uses and look for evidence that these procedures are being practised.
4. Is the technician wearing a mask? If so ask why. It may be that they have a cold/allergy/hayfever, however it is also an indication that they are using MMA and do not wish to risk their health!

If the salon/technician you are visiting is a reputable one they will be more than happy to answer your queries. If they are unable to do so and do not put you at ease, or if they practice any of the irresponsible procedures mentioned above LEAVE, your well-being and health is simply not worth that set of nails you so desperately wanted today!

Finally, if you remember nothing else, remember this… if in doubt, GET OUT!
The overall gist of your message is good, however I would be very cautious about your statements regarding using efiles and masks. You are lumping everyone who uses these products into the same category. I understand that you are focussing on NSS but the general public does not know that.

Doug Schoon recommends using a mask to filter dust in his Product and Chemistry book (mostly when using an efile) And if memory serves me correctly, a very well known nail technician and educator in the US...Vicki Peters....had an efile bit designed and named after her.

I agree with Laura, there are lots of very highly regarded technicians who use e-files. You could re-word that bit to say something like "if they use E-files, what training have they had".

Also if the potential client is visiting the salon, check the certificates on the wall, are they current and are they for the person doing your nails, check also for insurance.

I did a very similar but shorter piece for our local paper which they printed in their letters page.

It is really good that as a result of Watchdog, there are lots of pieces appearing in our local papers.
Both Nat Nails & Scratch have made good points - there are teks who are well trained that use E-Files - some ONLY use them to file down thick product from other salons :shock: I would be happy to 'tailor' what you have done if you want me to :?: :idea:
The only other point about what you have written is about the smell. Smelly is relative LOL Someone who has never smelt monomer before, will not be able to decide whether the smell is strong.

I did my own nails today and my builders said - wow what is that smell - to me it is not very strong but to the untrained nose it was LOL.

Just another thought!
I certainly agree with others that it is incorrect of you to speak anti-electric drill and anti-mask. It is not correct to make an implication that electric drills equals mma/nss, not correct to make an implication that mask equals mma/nss.
You are correct to associate the use of mma and the lack of acceptable sanitation with nss.
Now please let me continue with a personal opinion. You seem to be writing this from a viewpoint of 'let me tell you how to keep away from a 'BAD' nail shop. Sure, yes, that's ok, but, it is a very negaitve position. And to you that just makes a negative light for the NSS, BUT, what I always fear is that for the general public out there, it sort of puts ALL the nail business in a less than desirable light. I much prefer to write this kind of stuff from the prespective of 'let me tell you how to find a 'GOOD' nail shop.
People can call me picky, but dont attack me for this, sometimes you need to accpet that it is all in the WAY that you word things.
I feel that perhaps your research and knowledge of NSS and MMA could be deepened. I am surposing the the NAIL GEEK has material somewhere on this web site. AND, I know that there is GREAT material available to all at the website.

example - masks are not associated with vapors, masks are worn to filter nail and product dust to protect the lungs from irritation AND the mask most techs are seen wearing are not doing the job because nail shop dust is mostly at the .3micro level or less and they really need to be purchasing the more expensive industry masks for small particles, not the cheap workshop masks or medical room mask that are actually worthless protection against nail dust.
sawasdee ka

i think what oliniminh speak and others very good maybe better speak little about what is no good if you want but speak many about what is look for good nail shop beacuse them have many professional nail shop with number 1 everything and can make very safe beautifull nail .

I think for future in nails if people show the customers about great product and beautifull nails and show shops and safe and products that are same same better for everybody for sure .

Because all the world have so many nail shop and company that make product you will always have bad just same lady who have dirty place that make bad food but i think them not stay long time .

I only learn now and have many many thing to learn the best nail tech with number 1 product that can make beautifull nail will do good for long time for sure .

Kop khun ka mui
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