Hygiene should be the paramount concern in any self-respecting beauty or nail salon. If you have serious doubts then contact the relevant licensing authority for your area, because fungal infections can cause permanent nail damage.
Basically it's up to you, the customer, to decide whether you feel the nail salon deserves your business. So here are a few pointers to get you started:
• Word of mouth is always best.
If you can get a recommendation from a friend who uses a reliable salon then you will be much better off.
• When you enter the salon the atmosphere should be calm and welcoming. Part of what you are paying for is the experience so the staff should be friendly and accommodating.
• Are the Certificates and Licenses on display for the various technicians? If you cannot see them ask why they are not visible.
• What are your first impressions of the staff?
• Does the beautician or manicurists look clean? Sound crazy? Think about it, appearance is everything in the beauty business so has the beautician made an effort to appear well groomed?
• What condition are their hands in? Do their nails appear clean and short? Do they have any apparent cuts or grazes where bacteria, or worse, blood could be transfered to you? Have they removed their jewelry?
• If the technician sneezes or uses a tissue to wipe their nose they should cleanse their hands prior to returning to any treatment.
• Does the technician eat or use their cell phone whilst working on your nails? Food crumbs will attract vermin which will equate to droppings. Using the cell phone could cause cross infection.
• If the technician hurts you tell them. It is not acceptable for your cuticles to bleed and the technician continue to work on your nails since nips and cuts to the cuticle are a point of entry for bacteria.
• The treatment should not be rushed or rough.
• It's OK to object.
• Be observant, is the work station wiped down with an anti-bacterial cleanser between clients?
• What happens to the residue of nail filings, are they disposed of in a sanitary manner or just swept to the side?
• It is perfectly acceptable to bring your own files etc, for the technician to use. If you do not, then request new or sterile ones to be used for you.
• Equipment should preferably be sterilized by heat treatment, if not then the use of chemical sterilizer
• If you are having a pedicure, often a disposable self-contained unit is used for each client. If not, don't feel embarrassed to ask for it to be changed in front of you. Imagine all the debris from previous clients such as hair, dead skin and nail clippings, that can lay unseen in the bottom of spa baths or in the pipes that feed them.
Some of the above requests may sound a little demanding, and if you are not that kind of character it may make you feel uncomfortable to request such things. Remember though, nail infections are extremely painful and can cause permanent damage to your nail bed so don't be shy.