They say beauty has a cost, but gorgeous nails should never cost you your health or safety.
So we’re sharing our best tips for keeping your manicures safe from start to finish, whether you’re doing them at home, or at a salon.
1. Say No to Dirty Dipping
At a salon you don’t have complete control over the environment, and you may be dipping your fingers into powders where previous clients have also dipped… and while salons take measures to ensure all customers’ hands are clean, you never quite know.
If you’re worried about cross-contamination, you can put your mind at ease by bringing your own dip nail powder to the salon. Your nail technician won’t mind, and you’ll know there’s no chance of any nasty stuff getting in the powder.
Whenever you’re grooming your nails at home, make sure all of your tools are clean and prepped before even touching them to your nails. Swab your clippers and any other metal tools with rubbing alcohol and use small dedicated nail brush to go over each surface, and every nook and cranny.
Always, always, always wash your hands thoroughly before your manicure (and before any between-manicure touch-ups).
3. Toss Suspect Supplies
If you’ve had any skin or nail infections, go ahead and toss out all your polishes, powders, files, brushes, and buffers. It’s not worth the risk of re-infection!
On a routine basis, go through your supplies and toss any old files and buffers that are worn down.
Though it’s fun to do manicures together, don’t share your emery boards with friends. And be sure everyone’s washing their hands before beginning. Clean your tools between each use, too!
4. Don’t Skip Clean-up
After each manicure, clean all of your tools and let them air dry. Don’t leave them lying around to collect dust though. Once they’re dry, store all of your mani/pedi supplies in an airtight container.
5. Be Strategic
Remember that super-long nails create more room for issues to develop, so if you’re prone to infections, consider keeping your nails shorter.
6. Communication is Key
If you’re currently dealing with a virus, or have any chronic illness, your nail tech should know about it. Ideally she’ll ask for any relevant info up front. But if your salon skips this step, be sure to alert them.
They may need to take extra precautions on top of the standard protocol - by adding steps like disinfecting their table surfaces, and wearing gloves.
Knowing your unique circumstances can help your nail tech customize your service by avoiding elements like soaking or massage that can irritate sensitive joints or harm extra-dry skin.
Speaking up isn’t always comfortable, but being an advocate for your health is worth it!
7. When in Doubt, Get Expert Advice
If you’ve noticed any lesions, sores, or suspicious color or textures emerging on or around your nails, go ahead and make an appointment with your physician.
While a trip to the dermatologist isn’t nearly as fun as a trip to the salon, just remember that any infections will be much more easily treated if they’re caught early!
This applies even if you’re DIY’ing your nails at home - your future self will thank you for nipping the situation in the bud.
Keeping your nails healthy is a matter of following straightforward processes and trusting your gut. The extra steps that seem like a waste of time are important - as the old saying goes - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Written by: Anna Bradshaw