I am seeing more and more new clients who are looking for something different these days. It might not necessarily be blinged out nails (though those are so fun to do!). No, what I'm seeing are clients who are educating themselves about what NOT to expect in a nail salon. Clients who are demanding something better than the status quo and are actively seeking out a new, safer experience.
As of January 1, 2012, in Durham Region, the practice of storing an individual client's single-use (disposable) items for future re-use is no longer permitted. This means that all single-use disposable implements such as files, buffer blocks, sanding bands and the like, shall be appropriately discarded immediately after each use. They cannot be stored onsite or reused in the future on a client. No client will bring any such implement into the personal services setting for the purpose of being used by the operator on the client.
So let's break this down. I offer my clients their file immediately after each service. It is theirs to take home and use if they wish, they are NOT to bring it back, ever. I have always done this in my studio, and didn't need any notice from Durham Public Board of Health to tell me this was an unsanitary practice. Sadly, I still hear stories from new clients about how their last place whipped out an obviously used file to use on their nails. In Durham.
Next on the list are those wonderful foot spa pedi-thrones. You know the ones with the great massage feature? I choose not to use one of those for the simple fact they are time-consuming to clean properly between clients. Since I am such a stickler for safety, and I work by myself, I simply don't have time to do proper maintenance and I will never sacrifice time for the health of my clients.
So I use a comfortable pedicure chair and a Footsie Bath with biodegradable liners which are disposed of after each client. You can be sure you'll never be exposed to my last client's bio-film. Never going to happen here. If you regularly get pedicures at salons who use the big pedi-thrones, you might want to observe how they clean these spa chairs the next time you're there. According to the regulations posted on the Durham Region website, this is the current cleaning protocol for these spa chairs in between each and every client:
- Drain the foot bath of all water
- Fill the foot bath with detergent and water to above the water line and circulate the solution and clean the tub with a cleaning brush.
- Empty the cleaning solution.
- Fill the foot bath with clean water and circulate the rinse water.
- Empty the rinse water.
- Fill the foot bath with an intermediate-level disinfectant and circulate the solution, then let sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Empty the solution.
This is just in between clients. There is a whole other cleaning protocol that needs to happen at the end of each day.
My health inspector and I regularly chat about this kind of stuff, and she knows it makes me crazy. We know many nail salons do not follow these protocols. Hats off to the inspectors here, they know all the tricks the salons play and try to make a difference but it must be frustrating to hear these practices still continue. On the one hand, I am gaining new clients from bad practices (hurray!) but I feel bad for all the unsuspecting consumers still out there who just aren't aware of what is and is not acceptable. Well, now you know.