What you should look out for, at a Salon!

What you should look out for, at a salon!

With Salons Opening up at every turning, how do you recognize the right one for your Hair and Beauty Treatments? It is not necessary that only a branded salon would provide you with a complete Technical and Hygienic Service experience. No matter how posh a salon, if it is not keeping up with the appropriate health and safety norms, it can become an ideal breeding ground for harmful bacteria and germs.

There are a few pointers one needs to keep in mind before selecting a salon:

Warm Customer Service: The Salon should value your business and not act like they are doing you a favor. You should feel like a welcome guest.

Hygiene: Smart consumers should look for a salon that is clean, comfortable, conscientious and capable. Don’t be afraid to ask your beauty professional anything you want to know, about your service or the salon, which concerns you.

Grooming: How well groomed your technical stylist / aesthetician are, speaks a lot about the way they will conduct your service. A professionally groomed technician represents the care he or she will take during the entire service time you spend at the salon, whereas, Jeans, flip – flops, trainers, armpits, chewing gums, Heavy metal accessories are a complete no no. How well they present themselves shows a clear sign of respect they have for the customers.

Ask yourself the following questions when you enter a salon:

  • Are the salon and individual workstations clean?
  • Does your nail technician observe proper sanitation practices?
  • What is included in the price of the service?
  • Did the nail technician explain the service to you, ask you questions about your needs, and inform you of proper home care?
  • Does the salon have a strong odor?
  • What products are used in the salon?
  • Are the technician’s Certified?
  •  Is the salon licensed?

Problem: A few months ago, a female customer at a very reputed spa – salon in Mumbai, battled a long and painful wax burn and was hospitalized. She says she is now left with a permanent mark on her feet, worse still, her fear of visiting a salon is what she is more bothered with. You, too, could be exposed to other clients’ nasty germs or Salon Negligeience.

Hidden dangers at the salon:

(Read this before you go in for your next hair or nail appointment)

These days with Government policies so lenient on Hygiene rules even in Hospitals, there’s a good chance your visit to a salon may give you a nasty infection and not just a great personality.

Bacterial, fungal, yeast and viral infections (including things like hepatitis C, staph infections and warts) can be transmitted via unwashed hands and unsanitary instruments (this can occur with overzealous manicuring — if, for example, too much of the cuticle is cut or pushed back too far).


  • Don’t allow the technician to cut your skin with either a cuticle clipper or a Credo blade (used to remove callused skin, it’s illegal abroad, though not yet in India, and our Pedicurist have a tendency to be over zealous about the usage of the same).
  • Instruments should be cleaned and disinfected between customers. The ideal method would be to use a Surgical Spirit commonly used during surgeries, and then autoclaving (heat sterilization). Chemical sterilizing the implements — from nail files to cuticle sticks — should be immersed in the solution for at least 10 minutes between customers. Ask the technician what the salon’s practices are, (some salons use glass cleaner because it’s cheap and looks similar to some disinfectants).
  • In addition to cleaning their tools, technicians should also ensure their workstation is properly cleaned between clients. Dettol Spray should be used to wipe down the area to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.
  • Each customer should be given a fresh bowl of soapy water to soak their nails in. To reduce contact with germs while customers soak, the salon can place a single-use plastic hand bowl inside the ceramic bowl.
  • Whirlpool footbaths have screens under the drains that can trap hair, skin and other bits of debris, creating an environment for bacteria to breed. Stick with plastic footbaths and have your technician line them with a never-used plastic bag. If you must use a whirlpool footbath, ask salon workers how the foot spas are maintained and how often they are cleaned (take note of their actions while they are working on clients to see if footbaths are disinfected with each customer. The disinfectant needs to work for the full time listed on its label, typically 10 minutes between customers). Microorganisms living in footbaths can enter through the skin and cause infection — don’t get a pedicure if you have cuts, bug bites, scratches, scabs or poison ivy.
  • Ideally, each customer should get a new buffer and file. If that’s not the case, bring your own implements.
  • Don’t shave, wax or use hair removal creams within a day before getting a pedicure. Recently shaved legs can give germs an entry point. If you have open cuts or cracks on your hands or feet, reschedule your appointment until after they’ve healed.
  • Before your manicure/pedicure begins, ask the technician if she’s washed her hands and used a hand sterilizer. If not, say “I need you to go wash your hands.”
  • Avoid artificial nails — these can lift from the natural nail at the base, creating an opening for germs to grow.
  • Make sure the salon is licensed and that esthetician’s licenses are posted.

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Problem: Today’s concern revolves around Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a type of staph infection that’s resistant to antibiotics and thus hard to treat. Everyone has bacteria on their skin (including staph), but you and your body live in harmony with it. Transfer this to another person with an open sore, and it may not be such a harmonious relationship. The infection can be as simple as a little irritation around a hair follicle, or as severe as an infection that could lead to serious illness. In addition, you can pick up various fungal infections in hair salons (like ringworm), and it’s also possible to get lice.


  • Any used instruments (brushes, combs, scissors, razors) have to be sterilized between clients. If scissors are not properly sterilized and come into contact with bacteria, germs can grow and live on your scalp. The sterilization solution must be changed regularly and the container should not be overcrowded with combs and brushes.
  • Make sure sinks are cleaned (they don’t necessarily have to be disinfected) between clients and that a freshly cleaned towel is put under your neck.
  • Look around to see if the facility is neat and clean. Salons that do not look clean in general — hair, nail clippings, dust or debris on the floor, tables — are sending a clear message that it’s time to find a new salon. Are the restrooms dirty? Do they lack liquid soap and clean towels? (If they do, that means the technicians aren’t washing their hands properly between clients.)
  • Some hair salons smell like chemical factories, with pungent fumes emanating from the salon that can make you sick. That’s a sign that the facility is poorly ventilated. Combine excessive heat (from all the hair dryers) with chemicals used in hair dyes, hair straightening, permanent waves and hairsprays and you can create fumes and inhale airborne particles that can worsen asthma, allergies and cause headaches.
  • Make sure the salon washes their robes and towels after every use. Many do not. There is a lice issue which is common in salons, Lice can live on brushes, robes and towels.
  • Experts suggest avoiding dirty electric razors (dermatologists note they commonly see ringworm when electric razors are used. Used more so on men, but with women too).
  • Make sure the stylist doesn’t stick her fingers directly into styling jars or containers, which can breed bacteria and be transferred to your skin.
  • It’s important to make sure your stylist doesn’t have any sores or cuts on his/her hands.

: Skin infections may occur from unclean wax or nonsterile waxing areas. Double-dipping with the waxing stick can also lead to contamination.


  • Ask your waxiest to use a new stick each time she dips it into the tub of wax. Bacteria can contaminate an entire container of wax and seed it with infectious organisms. Those bacteria can then be transferred onto your skin.
  • Make sure the salon is clean and that the technicians are licensed.
  • Make sure your technician is wearing gloves.
  • Make sure all the beds are covered with disposable sheets.
  • Make sure the Puffs used for powder application are disposable. Or plain simple cotton used as puff should suffice.
  • Post Waxing; avoid extreme temperatures (hot showers, tanning) because this may irritate your skin. Avoid using fragrance (perfumes, soaps, deodorants) 24 hours post waxing — you’ve just removed a layer of skin and these scents can irritate your skin.

So whatever your needs may be, a professional salon should always be remembered for good reasons and not for the following:

  • Making you cry on your first visit
  • Making the girl next to you cry
  • Stylist too self involved to counsel you & starts the technical work without asking your opinion.
  • Having a stylist who is too busy gossiping with the stylist next to her to look after you
  • Having a stylist who leaves you ten times in the space of 20 minutes to take phone calls
  • Giving all the customers exactly the same hairstyle.

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