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.

7 tips to make your Shellac last, plus tricks to hide chips

Hannah Bates, Nail Technician and Esthetician

Our nail technician (and esthetician) Hannah shared her top 7 tips to keep your CND Shellac manicures looking great this summer (and tips for what to do if you get a chip).


  1. Oil! Lots and lots of cuticle oil.  

Apply cuticle oil to your shellac manicure at least once a day to improve your manicure’s longevity.  When the nail bed becomes dehydrated, your shellac is more likely to chip off.  Bonus: Keeping cuticle oil on the skin around your nails will also reduce the likelihood of getting hangnails and dry skin surrounding the nail.  We recommend CND Solar Oil which is made from Jojoba and Sweet Almond Oils to nourish the skin and nail.

2. Keep away from Harsh Chemicals

Not only can harsh cleaning agents and chemicals dehydrate your nails, but they can also change the chemistry of your shellac.  Some shellac colors may change slightly when exposed to cleaning agents, or even melt a little!  We recommend wearing thick cleaning gloves to protect your manicure, as well as rinsing your hands with soap and water, and finishing with lotion and cuticle oil to maintain a beautiful manicure AND a clean house.

3. Water Exposure

We love fun in the sun as much as anyone else, and CND Shellac is the perfect product for a manicure that outlasts the sand as well as the water.  However, when our nails absorb water, it causes them to expand and contract just the same way a wet sponge does, which can lead to peeling.  So should you go to the beach in latex gloves?! As much as that would be a sight to see, we just recommend washing your hands with mild soap and water after you are done swimming to wash away the excess chlorine or salt. If you know you’re going to be swimming a lot, let your nail technician know, and we have a few tricks up our sleeves! Remember to always re-hydrate your nails with cuticle oil at the end of your beach or pool day.

4. Stay Hydrated

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, make sure you are drinking plenty of water which hydrates the nail from the inside out, and assists in keeping the nails from splitting, cracking or peeling.

5. Treat Your Nails Like Jewels-Not Tools!

Many times shellac chips or peels it’s because we are treating our nails as tools.  This is admittedly a very hard habit to break, and it’s something I personally am VERY guilty of. Use caution when opening soda cans, peeling stickers or price tags off of new items, and even doing dishes.  Again, here is where a pair of rubber gloves can seriously be a great investment in the kitchen.

6. Gardening

I just love when the spring and summer comes here in Iowa, the flowers start blooming, and I can grow fresh produce in my yard.  Unfortunately, with gardening comes WEEDING. Gardening gloves are an absolute must for the gardener who also loves their manicure!  Bonus: Adding a layer of latex surgical gloves underneath your gardening gloves is a great barrier option for keeping dirt and debris out from under your nails.

7. Always Remove Your Shellac Properly

CND Shellac is the only true non-damage long wearing manicure on the market.  That being said, improper removal can ABSOLUTELY damage your nails! My goodness is it satisfying when a corner of polish lifts up and you can slide the whole fingernail’s worth of shellac off in one lovely sheet.  However, this often takes layers of your actual nail plate along with it, and weakens your nails.  If this does happen to you, it’s best to give your nails a few weeks to recover before trying another shellac manicure, and make sure you are using plenty of Solar Oil and lotion daily.  Shellac that is applied to compromised nail plates is at risk for peeling and chipping sooner than when it is applied to healthy nails.  Remember to schedule an appointment to have your shellac soaked off by your nail technician 2-3 weeks after application! Worst case scenario, click here to see our video on removing it safely yourself at home.

So you tried your hardest and still had a chip?  Here are your best options:

  1. If the whole manicure to be re-done or just removed, call the spa and book a removal with us! A stand-alone appointment for removal usually only takes us 15-20 minutes, and we would love to assist you in removing them properly.
  2. MOST of our shellac shades are also available in CND Vinylux  corresponding colors! So if you are worried about chipping, purchase a Vinylux color for touch-ups on the go.
  3. If your chip is just on the edge of your nail, trim the edge of the nail where the chip is, and file lightly with a high-grit nail file like the one we offer you at the end of your manicure.
  4. If all else fails and you end up losing a nail of your shellac manicure try rocking an accent nail by covering the chipped polish with an accent color of your choice! 

If you your Shellac chips off of a nail, rock an accent nail like Hannah did in this pic with a polish you have on hand, especially if it is a glittery one.

Ready to book your Shellac manicure? Click here to schedule with Hannah or any of our great nail technicians! They are all a wealth of information and ideas on nail issues and look forward to your visit!

4 common reasons Shellac polish chips, plus solutions:

Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE CND’s Shellac nail polish (the Original Gel-Hybrid Power Polish), but we don’t guarantee it to be chip-free in every situation.

Problem 1. You’ve spent a lot of time in water.  (The inspiration for this post was my weekend trip to swim in Wisconsin’s gorgeous, but skin-drying lakes…between the water and piles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, my Shellac chipped on one very dry nail).

Water will cause your nail plate to expand and contract which gives more opportunities for the polish to lift.  Spending time in chlorine-y pools, ocean water (yay, vacation!) or soapy water (lots of hand-washing) can also really dry out nails and polish leading to chipping and lifting and there isn’t much your nail tech can do about that.



Solution: Keep CND solar oil handy and apply regularly.  I know, it isn’t fun to think about cuticle oil on vacation, and it is a pain to think about re-applying it regularly if you have a job that requires frequent hand washing, but it is really the best way to try to keep all that time in water from causing your Shellac to chip or pop off.

Also,  using rubber gloves if you happen to have to be washing dishes or kids toys soapy water for an extended period of time helps!

Problem 2. Picking off your polish.  If you pick off your polish, it will cause nails to peel (delamination).  When your nail tech re-applies your Shellac, it is likely to peel because the nail underneath is peeling.

pick at nails

Solution: Keep a Shellac removal kit handy, we sell them, you’ll get several  uses out of them, and knowing you have a removal kit at home can save you from mindlessly picking off your Shellac while waiting for your next appointment.

If the damage has already been done and you’ve got peeling nails, try a treatment like CND’s Rescue RX for a week or two on “naked” nails before going back to Shellac to give your nail tech a healthier canvas to work with.  You can also just go to a polish like CND Vinylux which wears well (but not nearly as long as Shellac), removes easily (not a fun one to pick) and doesn’t require the extra time or up-charge that Shellac does.

3. Using your nails as tools.  If you use your nails to scrape or peel at things, you are likely to experience chips at the tip of your nails, even with the best polish application.

Nail quote


Solution: Knock it off!  ha ha, ok, I’m so guilty of this so I can’t really talk, but if you use your nails to pick at labels or tear open boxes, keep goo gone and box cutters handy so you have fewer excuses.

4. You have super short nails: Shellac still is great for short nails (we have so many massage therapists on the team so our nail techs are used to working with our little nail nubbins) but they can’t really “cap the free edge” of the nail as well as with nails that extend beyond your fingertip.  This is a polishing technique that helps Shellac stand up to wear, tear, and shrinking better.


Solution:  If you are trying to grow your nails, Shellac can be a good tool because it is a harder polish so makes them less prone to breaking and less fun to nibble if you’re a nail biter. Can’t grow nails because of your job or lifestyle?  No worries, you are less likely to use your nails as tools (See #3) so you might still get some great wear out of your Shellac.  Plus because the polish is thicker than regular polish, you might get away with a bit more length than normal because it blunts the edge of your nail a bit.  You can also go with a more neutral color so it isn’t obvious if it pulls from the tip a bit.

Need expert help?  Book a manicure with one of our awesome nail techs!  They are great at advising you on the best polish or treatment, helping your nails to look great at the length they are, or helping you to grow them if that’s your goal!

Safety and Prenatal Services

We’ve been getting lots of questions about the safety of spa services for pregnant women and I’m excited to share more information with you!  First of all, massage therapy is a time-tested and safe way to help nurture a mom-to-be.  Unfortunately, many people hear conflicting information about what is and isn’t safe and we’d like to help dispel any myths.

Myth: Prenatal massage is only safe in the second and third trimester.
Truth: Prenatal massage is safe throughout a healthy pregnancy.  If your physician has any concerns or you are at particularly high risk, please consult with them so they can share with your massage therapist their recommendations for the best treatments.  If you are having a healthy pregnancy, massage is great throughout!  For a great article about the safety of massage in the first trimester, click here.

Myth: Pregnancy massage should be performed with the client laying face down and her abdomen poking through a hole on the table.

Truth: While many prenatal therapists do use a table or pillow positioning system that has the pregnant guest laying face-down, more and more therapists and experts are recommending the sidelying positioning for pregnant women (which we have always used) to prevent injuries to the back and uterine ligaments.  Also, sidelying position allows great access to the hips, gluts, shoulders, low back, and legs, where most pregnant women complain of pain.

Myth: If you rub over a point on the ankle a woman can go into labor
Truth: Pregnant women have been getting foot massages from their untrained partners for ages, wearing tight shoes, and more without stimulating preterm labor.  True, some forms of therapy (particularly Reflexology, Acupressure, and other Eastern techniques) do focus on points in the body that correspond to other areas of the body like the uterus and some practitioners feel that if intentional, firm, and sustained pressure is applied, those points could stimulate uterine contractions.  However, for a normal foot or leg massage, this will not be the case.  Your massage therapist and nail technician can give you a great foot massage (which is very helpful for feet with swelling and pain from the added weight) without lingering deliberately on those points.  If you have any concerns, please talk to your massage therapist and if it helps you to rest easier, we can skip the foot massage, but truly, your poor feet deserve it and experts from the American Pregnancy Association feel it is safe.

Myth: All spa services are safe for pregnant women.
Truth: While most services, including modified facials, pedicures, and massage are safe and very beneficial for pregnant women, some forms of these services should be avoided including facial peels or facials that use ingredients that are not pregnancy safe (we only use the products recommended by the Derma E for pregnant women, our estheticians know which ones to avoid!)  Our massage therapists will not perform heat treatments like body scrubs (lots of hot towels) or hot stone massage on pregnant women so as not to raise core temperature.  The only therapists who perform our prenatal massage are those who have training and who LOVE helping our pregnant guests.  We also recommend that if pregnant women want nail services, they look for nail salons who have very high safety standards and who use high quality products.

For more information on the safety of prenatal massage from a trusted source, The American Pregnancy Association, click here.

To schedule a prenatal service, including our Pampering Pregnancy Massage, our Pregnancy Glow Facial, or any of our manicures and pedicure, click here.

Copyright © East Village Spa 2014 All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced without East Village Spa’s express consent. Our photography may not be used in any manner without our express written consent. Backlinks and sharing with the buttons at the bottom of the page are allowed.

“Will Shellac Ruin my Nails?” and other Shellac FAQs

Are all gel hybrid polishes the same?
CND was the first company to create a true gel/polish hybrid with their Shellac Power Polish.  Shortly after, other gel polishes followed from different brands (OPI Axxium, Gelish, Gelluv, etc…)  Like we call all brands of tissues “Kleenx” whether they are puffs, generic, or actually from Kleenx, some salons and nail patrons have (unfortunately) taken to calling any kind of gel nail “Shellac.” 

What makes True CND Shellac unique is that it is a power polish, not a gel.  While we recommend salon removal, it does not require harsh buffing of the nails to file off the polish.  CND’s gentle removal soak will dissolve the polish when wrapped on the nails for just 8 minutes, making it so you or your nail technician can gently push off the polish and your nails will be healthy afterward.

When clients come in with an imitation brand of Shellac or gel nails, the removal can be difficult, time-consuming, and can damage your nails as we are not equipped to remove the harsher products since we do not use them.

Can I pick my Shellac off?  How can I safely remove it?
If you pick off your Shellac, your nails will peel as the Shellac has adhered to your nail, there is no other way around it.  If you follow the instructions and wrap your nails in cotton and foil with the CND Removal solution, then gently push off the polish, you’ll have no damage.  We recommend having this done professional at least once, then your nail tech can tell you what you need to safely remove your product at home in the future.

Cassie’s nails right after safe Shellac Removal, but before a manicure.

Will the lamp used to cure Shellac cause cancer?
No, you get less UV exposure from our nail lamp than you do steering your car. Exposure time is minimal, just 10 seconds for the first coat, 2 minutes for each additional coat. Click here to read more about studies done about the UV lamps used for nails.  If you are still concerned, you are welcome to apply sunscreen to your hands prior to curing.

Why do you have to know before my appointment if I want Shellac? Why does it cost extra?
Because Shellac requires about 15 additional minutes (curing time and very precise application), we need to make sure we have enough time set aside.  The additional service time plus a product that, for a smaller bottle costs us nearly 4x as much as our regular polish necessitates the additional charge.

I feel like I need to let my nails “breathe.”
If you follow your nail technician’s recommendation and apply solar oil daily, it will hydrate your cuticle and nail around and through the Shellac, it is designed to penetrate the pores in the polish.  Nail (the hardened part we polish) don’t need to “breathe” because they are not living tissue.  Dryness or damage comes from using polishes with harsh chemicals (which we don’t) or not hydrating with a cuticle oil daily. 

Should I do Shellac on my toes?
You certainly can…but truth be told, most people just use CND’s Vinylux, a traditional polish that doesn’t require a lamp to cure, is in shades matching Shellac, and dries in 10 minutes.  Most clients find that they get several weeks of good wear with Vinylux on their toes, and it doesn’t require removal wraps.  Some people (Cassie included!) think the removal wraps feel weird on the toes.  Plus, with Shellac, you get your nail care and polish done first, then your soak, scrub, and massage after (we can’t let the nail expand from the soak prior to using Shellac or it will peel).  If you’ve had a long day on your feet, chances are, you’d prefer a nice soak, scrub, and massage (The GOOD stuff!) before your polish.

Copyright © East Village Spa 2014 All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced without East Village Spa’s express consent. Our photography may not be used in any manner without our express written consent. Backlinks and sharing with the buttons at the bottom of the page are allowed.

Poison ivy? Please reschedule your spa visit.

“Leaves of Three, Let them Be!”

As a massage therapist and spa owner, I have to tell you that one of my biggest fears is contagious skin conditions, which is why we take extra precautions.  Something that drives us nuts is when a client comes in trying to hide poison ivy or casually doesn’t mention it until we undrape the affected area hoping if we don’t notice their rash, they can still get their service.  I can personally recall at least two clients who have tried to downplay their poison ivy, one stating “Oh, you can go ahead and massage right over it, I think the lotion will feel good.”  No, thank you!

Fortunately, we can quickly spot a rash and end treatment.  What is scary though, is that in many cases, a rash won’t appear for up to 72 hours after exposure to poison ivy, which means that a person may still have contagious oil from the plant on their skin, but it might not be visible to them or others. 

If you get a massage, facial, or nail service and have oil from a poison ivy plant on your skin, we could not only be spreading the oil to our own skin and onto a larger area of your skin, but even after washing with regular soap and water, we could still  potentially spread that oil to other guests as poison ivy requires the use of a special soap to remove the oil.

If you suspect that you have come into contact with poison ivy, even if you don’t yet have a visible rash, we ask that you play it safe and reschedule your appointment.  As long as you give us at least some notice so we can try to fill your appointment time we’ll happily waive the no-show fee in appreciation of you helping us to keep you, your therapist, and other spa guests safe!

For a really good article on avoiding and treating poison ivy, click here.  We hope you all have lots of fun outdoors this season and don’t stumble into anything scary or itchy during your gardening, camping, or other outdoor adventures!

Copyright © East Village Spa 2014 All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced without East Village Spa’s express consent. Our photography may not be used in any manner without our express written consent. Backlinks and sharing with the buttons at the bottom of the page are allowed.

Why we don’t use whirlpool soaks in pedicures

We’ve finally had 2 days in a row over 60 degrees and many people are taking a look at their toes for the first time of the year!  Our friend, Colleen, from Star 102.5 just asked us some questions about how to know if a nail salon is safe (listen for answers on the air this week) and I figured now would be a perfect time to answer your BIGGEST question about Pedicure Safety:

Why don’t you use whirlpool tubs?  They are so relaxing!

We don’t use whirlpool baths because we think that knowing you are 100% safe is more relaxing than any amount of bubbles in your foot soak.  It is true that there are ways to safely disinfect a whirlpool tub, but many establishments don’t take the time to do so and when a client gets an infection from an unsanitary whirlpool tub it can be very severe!  Instead of whirlpool tubs, we use a bowl with a disposable soak liner.  We dispose of the liner and clean the bowl between clients so you are guaranteed a safe soak. 

If you insist on going somewhere that uses whirlpool jets, it is important to pay attention to how long the establishment lets a hospital grade disinfectant run through their soak tubs.  If it is less than 10 minutes and you don’t see them also scrub down the bowl to remove any debris first, leave.  For example, if you’re waiting in a walk-in salon for a pedicure and you see the technicians turning over clients in the chair with less than 10 minutes of cleaning time, they are not following EPA guidelines, putting you at risk of a Mycobacteria infection (like the outbreak of 110 people diagnosed in California in 2000 linked to improper cleaning of pedicure whirlpool tubs.)

Feel free to ask any of our licensed nail technicians about pedicure safety, they are all happy to talk about our tool sanitation and sterilization procedures and their own training and licensure.  We also send you home with your file, buffer, and even heel file at the end of each visit instead of re-using them on other guests so you can be confident if you visit our spa, you can relax knowing your safety is our primary focus.

East Village Spa Pedicure

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Rockstar Nail Foils now available!

We are super jazzed about our fun new nail foils!  Basically, these allow for extreme customization of a Shellac manicure.  You can foil just a few accent nails or do a full set of foils for a fun party look.

These are only available with CND Shellac manicures and pedicure.  Please request at the time of booking to ensure we have adequate time to provide a great service for you.  If you choose up to 4 nails, it is just $5.  If you choose a full set of 10 nails to be foiled, it is $10 extra due to extra time and supplies required.

Copyright © East Village Spa 2014 All Rights Reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced without East Village Spa’s express consent. Our photography may not be used in any manner without our express written consent. Backlinks and sharing with the buttons at the bottom of the page are allowed.