Getting a manicure is a simple, chic pick-me-up for any woman - there's nothing like a perfectly polished set of salon nails to make you feel pretty and put together. Be careful though, lurking behind that fabulous table of polish options is the very real threat of communicable diseases and health risks.
Here's a nail-salon checklist you should follow before you pay for service, or confirm an appointment. Big hint: If the salon won't let you take a quick peek around, move on.
First Look - Always visit your potential salon in person. What is your first impression? Do you want to spend an hour in this place, and put your health and beauty in the hands of this establishment? Are you comfortable? Do you smell strong chemicals, or does the salon have good ventilation. Is the reception area clean and organized?
Staff - Are the nail technicians well put together or sloppy? Are they alert and efficient? Does the receptionist glare at you when you come in? Hospitality is the name of the game. Do you feel welcome?
If all you see are a bunch of tired, rumpled staff members that look like they need a nap and a proper meal, run the other way. You can't trust underpaid, under-motivated employees to pay attention to the little things.
The Bathroom Test - Ask to use the restroom. Is the sink clean and well looked after? Are the dispensers stocked? Take a look at the state of the floor - is it dusty in the corners? Is there a fine layer of grime on everything, or is client comfort and hygiene obviously a priority? If the salon is cutting corners with cleanliness, odds are they're slack in other areas as well.
Are they Licensed? - Most countries and states require nail technicians and manicurists to have licenses and permits. Check your local laws. You should see certifications on the wall near the front desk, or on a visible wall.
Ask about Sterilization - Some women are uncomfortable being assertive about their expectations. But, you nee to ask about tools and sterilization before you sit down or agree to any services. Think of it this way, can you live with contracting warts, hepatitis or nail fungus because you were too scared to ask?
You want heat sterilized tools and new instruments where appropriate. If the receptionist or technician seems offended that you asked, you have your answer - this is not the salon for you.
Pay that Little Bit Extra - Sometimes, the nail salon that meets your safety standards costs a little more than the bargain manicure, but that an extra few dollars are a bargain in the long run. That extra cost means that you are getting clean, experienced, safe service, it's worth it.