At the Nail Salon: What Not to Let Your Manicurist Do

Susan Yara

Posted 09/21/10 at 04:44PM by Susan Yara

Last night I got a pedicure with my friend Sharon. And while it started off as a nice, relaxing evening, it came to an awkward, screeching halt when Sharon suddenly scolded the manicurist. Why? The woman tried to put her (wet) feet on the foot bar without laying down a paper towel first, which completely grossed out Sharon (can you say germaphobe?).

Now, I know you've all heard the horror stories about the fungus and infections that manifest in nail salons. I have friends who have actually experienced these problems, but come on -- a paper towel? Did she really need to get so angry about that?

Since many of us have opinions on this topic -- some more stringent than others -- I got in touch with the head manicurist at Prive Salon in New York City, Kristina Konarski, to find out what she says are the absolute nail salon DON'TS.

DON'T let your manicurist cut your cuticles. For the most part, cuticles are supposed to be gently pushed back, not completely cut (unless there's loose skin or a hangnail), says Konarski. Doing so, "opens up the skin to bacteria and infection." Instead, she says to condition your cuticles at least twice a week so that over time, they look smaller and smoother.

DON'T soak your nails. Or, at least, don't soak them long. Soaking causes the cuticles to suck up water and become bigger ... which in turn, causes the manicurist to cut even more of your cuticle. Instead, Konarski says to ask your manicurist to use a cuticle softener and gently push back your cuticles.

DON'T assume your manicurist has washed her hands before working with you. If you're not sure if she has, ask her to do so. And before she starts working on your nails, ask if she has an antibacterial spray or gel that you can use. And, always wash your hands before n manicure too.

DON'T use the jets. We're talking about that little motor inside a footbath that makes it feel like a mini-Jacuzzi. Skip it. The reason, Konarski says (warning, this is gross), is "it's full of bacteria and fungus from previous clients." So basically, each time your manicurist turns on that little motor it, "gives you the gunk from the previous person." Instead, ask if they can soak your feet in a glass bowl (or skip soaking all together).

DON'T remove calluses. Konarski says it's good to use a product that removes calluses with a new or sterilized file, but not to let your manicurist use a razor. Besides being banned from salons, the razors actually remove too much callous, which she says, causes it to grow back immediately. Plus, it could be painful to stand on your feet when too much is removed.

Last, Konarski says Sharon was in the right about wanting a paper towel under her feet -- there's no need for your skin to touch the manicurist's bare table or foot bar (there's germs), especially if you don't want it to.

And the survey says...
1-6 of 10 Comments

  • Posted by EricaF123 on 04/13/13 at 01:51pm

    Wow

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  • Posted by LipglossandSpandex on 07/20/11 at 12:16am

    Grossss. I've only gotten a pedi once, and it wasn't fun at all because my feet are so ticklish. But reading all of that gives me another really good reason to avoid nail salons. Also, it's funny how people even care about something as little as their cuticles.

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  • Posted by RoleModel on 04/12/11 at 10:28pm

    No wonder I like to do my own manis and pedis...

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  • Posted by Bon_Bon on 02/21/11 at 02:49pm

    eew gross!

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  • Posted by msbrown822 on 02/07/11 at 09:41am

    Ewww, some of that stuff is pretty gross. I love getting a pedicure done every now and then, but now I'm completely on my guard about it.

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by HERMERBE on 01/20/11 at 06:52am

    thanks for the information...next time i will not lget my cuticles cut.

    Report Abuse

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