Many of us takes trips to the nail salon for a relaxing day of primping. What we don’t realize is that serious bacteria can live in the nooks and crannies of these salons. Executive editor of Women’s Health, Amy Keller Laird, gives us the tips and facts you need to know before visiting the salon.
FACT: They Dilute Bottles
Some salons will dilute nail polish bottles that have become clumpy from old age or from too much air exposure with thinning solution. This action compromises the quality of the polish, which will make the formula chip easier once on your nails.
TIP: Bring your own nail polish. This way you’ll know that your nail polish is pure!
FACT: Footbaths are Gross
Foot baths that are all connected via the same water supply are the most vulnerable. While they clean the tubs, bacteria can still get trapped in the pipes leading to infections. If you’re in a pedicure bath where the water is changed each time, there is less risk.
TIP: Try and find a salon that does individual pedicure baths.
TIP: Bring PediClear Foot Spa Disinfectant (which you can buy online and in some beauty supply stores) are packets you sprinkle into your foot bath to disinfect the water, killing most of the bacteria in 30 seconds. It is approved by the EPA and safe on the skin.
FACT: Gel Nails
Gel nails must be removed a certain way and if done incorrectly can damage your nail
TIP: Do not take them off yourself.
FACT: Ultraviolet Light Nail-Drying Sessions
You’d have to undergo approximately 13,000 ultraviolet light nail-drying sessions to increase your skin cancer risk, says a new study. (That’s one mani a week for 250 years.) But the aging effects of UV light—like wrinkles and sunspots—are cumulative and may still creep up over time.
TIP: Whether UV light comes from the sun or a bulb, apply a cream with SPF before putting your hands under a nail lamp.
TIP: Sally Hansen InstaGel Strips are cool and can last up to two weeks. They are gel polish strips you stick onto your nails, then you cure nails under a mini LED light (if you’re still paranoid about the UV light), each nail for 30 seconds. And they can be removed with regular polish remover in just five minutes. $29.99 for the starter kit.
BONUS! Before you Get a Massage
FACT: Just because a massage therapist is licensed doesn’t mean you’ll be getting a fantastic massage. Licensing is based more on theory than on hands on technique.
TIP: Do your homework!