Pedicure Safety Myths

‘Tis the season to prep and polish toes for spring break trips and soon-to-be sandal weather! It is also the season of pedicure safety myth-busting.

Myth #1: A good pedicure will leave your feet baby soft.

We have calluses to protect our feet. A safe pedicure will gently soften the callus, but won’t cut it. Razors and graters that cut or aggressively file calluses are illegal in Iowa and many other states (though some salons still use them) Cutting calluses can open you to infection and will make them grow back harder. We use a safe foot file that we send home with you so you can continue gently softening your calluses safely over time.

Myth #2: You should to bring your own tools to a nail salon to avoid infection.

If you feel like you need to bring your own tools to your nail salon, you probably need a new nail salon. Salons are required by law to properly sanitize tools in an EPA Registered disinfectant like Barbicide (the blue liquid), or by heat or steam sterilizing them. We use both Barbicide AND heat sterilization for our metal tools. Sterilized tools are then sealed until use. Porous tools like files, buffers, flip flops, toe separators and wooden sticks must be immeidatly disposed of or given to our guests to take home. If a salon re-uses disposable tools, it is likely they are cutting other safety corners too.

If you bring your own tools, it is unlikely that they are sterilized to our standards. If they’ve been rolling around in your purse, car, or make-up bag in a punctured Ziplock, they are likely contaminated with bacteria or debris that can cause infection. Just because those tools are only used on you doesn’t mean they are clean! If you have any doubt about your salon’s sanitary standards, ask them! Salons that do things the right way are always proud to discuss their sanitization proceedures.

Myth 3: I need to bring my own nail polish to a salon.

Nail polish at a reputable salon is safe. By the time it is applied to a guest, their nails have been cleaned sanitized. Our polishes are also selected for safe ingredients. Guests who come with a diseased toenail are required to go without polish or purchase a bottle to keep. We do not use shared polishes on these guests for everyone’s safety.

If you bring your own, it might not look as great as we’d like. Different consistencies and brush sizes mean that our nail technicians aren’t going to get the same results they get with the brands they trust and use every day, plus they may not combine well with our top coats.

Myth 4: It’s “just a pedicure.” Laws and regulations are excessive.

Several states are facing legislation to try to reduce licensing in cosmetology professions. In Iowa, licensed cosmetologists and licensed nail technicians can legally do manicures and pedicures. They spend hundreds of hours training in not only how to make your nails look good, but to learn how to identify nail health concerns, infection control, safety techniques, and chemistry of products they use. They have to take regular continuing education including topics like safety, sanitation, and the law. Licensed nail technicians and cosmetologists are subject to oversight by the department of public health.

We’ve all heard nail salon horror stories. Many of these issues are caused by salons that are not following the laws. Insist that the person giving you a pedicure is educated and practicing legally. The salon license and every individual nail technician or cosmetologts’ licenses are required to be posted in the business.

Ready to book your safe pedicure at East Village Spa? Click here to book online! Remember, wherever you go, it is ok to ask questions. If your gut tells you something isn’t right, it is ok to end the service and leave. Your health is worth it.





“Cheap” nail services may come at a high price

I typically try to keep this blog focused on lighter topics, but the issue of human trafficking in the spa and nail industry lately has been bubbling up again on my radar.  Often people think of sham “massage” businesses when they think of human trafficking, but over the years criminals are getting more creative in hiding victims.

We know we are not the “cheapest” place to go for a manicure or pedicure.  We don’t compete on price.  We hire experienced, licensed, and just super nice nail technicians and cosmetologists to provide our services, use high quality products including many we send home with you, and our polishes are widely regarded as some of the best in the industry in their categories.  We love our employees and know if we treat them well, they will treat our clients well.  Providing manicures and pedicures is a great job, one that our employees thoroughly enjoy.  They get to be artistic, nurturing, and spend time getting to know their clients.  Their regular clients are like their family to them!  Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for all people working nail salons in the United States.

We know how expensive it is to provide great nail care (the spa cost of one teeny tiny bottle of CND Shellac is $18.95!), which is why I’m always shocked at the ridiculously low price of some manicure and pedicure services, especially in big cities that have a much higher cost of living.   To compete on price alone, salons have to cut costs elsewhere.  Typically this is done by using lower quality products.  Unfortunately “cheap” salons frequently cut corners on sanitation because they depend on high volume to make rent and proper sanitation takes time (it takes more than 10 minutes to disinfect a whirlpool tub in a pedicure lounge, but rarely would you see that happen in a high volume salon).

The most alarming reason for “cheap” nail services is that costs are being cut with labor.  It might be that employees are not being paid a fair living wage, but sadly,  some nail salons are being used as human trafficking fronts and raids and arrests in other areas of the United States are shedding light on this.  In recent years, nail salons were found operating as a front for human trafficking in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Virginia, and California.  Nails Magazine published one of the best articles on this problem specific to nail salons.    Click here to read it.  Just last month, a popular DC spa came under scrutiny for suspected willful refusal to pay wages and abduction.

Fortunately, the  majority of nail salons are like ours in that they strive to build nurturing relationships with clients to help them look and feel great while providing a supportive work environment.  The unfortunate reality is that unethical and shady business practices are more common in the industry than people realize so consumers need to be vigilant.  The Polaris Project works to educate the public and rescue victims of human trafficking.  These are the warning signs they recommend looking for.

It was never my intent to learn as much about nail salons and nail care as I do (I’m a nursing home activity director turned massage therapist!) but I’m glad I know what to look for and I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with the bright, enthusiastic, and creative women providing the nail services at our spa.  I appreciate them and I know for a fact, they appreciate all of you!

happyCassandra, Camille, and Leah posing for our New Year card!