The harsh truth about the beauty salon

Always ask if the combs and scissors are sterilised (Photo: Courtesy)

The beauty salon is a perfect little sanctuary for many of us. It is the one place where you can relax and enjoy being pampered. At the end of your session, you expect to come up relaxed and look glamorous.

However, the beauty spa does not come without its share of risks. And we are not talking about just getting a bad hairdo. Unsterilised equipment can lead to infections and poorly skilled staff can cause you injuries.

Regardless of how posh and pricey the salon is, if it does not hire trained personnel and keep up with the health and safety requirements, it can easily lead to infections and injuries to unwitting customers. Let us explore some hidden risks at the nail, hair, and waxing salon and what you can do to protect yourself.

Dangers at the hair salon

Black women go to the hair salon more often than any other group of people. Apart from getting your hair pulled during braiding, there are other dangers that lurk at the hair salon such as getting chemical or heat burns, shampoo in the eyes, cuts from clippers and scissors, and allergies from hair products. You can also suffer from infections due to dirty sinks, combs, towels, and brushes.

Here are some tips to keep you safe at the hair salon:

Check out the facility: Examine the facility to check if it is tidy and clean. Hair, nail clippings, dust or trash on the floor, and dirty tables offer a clear sign that it is time to find a new salon. Do not forget to check the restroom. If it is filthy, it is a good indication that the management does not care for your safety.

Check their tools: Next, take a look at the combs, brushes, and other equipment that will be used on your hair. They should be clean and sterilised. Unsterilised combs and brushes can transfer bacteria and germs onto your scalp.

Check the sinks: Do not forget to check how clean the sinks are. Observe if the attendants clean the sinks between clients.

Take a look at the towels: How clean are their towels? Make sure that the salon you choose washes their towels and robes. Do not accept to use a towel or robe that is dirty.

The stylist: Other than making sure that the salon hires qualified stylists, make sure that the stylist does not have any sores or cuts on their hands.

Dangers at the nail salon

Just like the hair salon, the nail salon holds its own share of dangers. Since nail technicians will have to cut your nails and cuticles, you are at an even greater risk of getting infected. Overzealous manicuring which cuts too much of the cuticle or pushes it back too far opens you up to bacterial, fungal, and viral infections.

Ensure the towels used on you are clean and dry (Photo: Courtesy)

Here are some tips to keep you safe:

Make sure that instruments are sterilised: Instruments should be cleaned and disinfected between customers.

The preferred method is autoclaving (heat sterilisation), but chemical sterilising is also acceptable as long as the implements are immersed in the solution for at least 10 minutes between customers.

If it is your first time in the salon, ask the technician about their practices to make sure that the equipment is properly sterilised. In addition, technicians should also clean their workstations between clients.

Bring your own tools: In some cases, it is better to bring your own files, butter, and cuticle clippers. This will save you the worry of equipment that is not properly sterilised.

Do not shave before your appointment: Do not shave, wax or use hair removal creams within a day before getting a pedicure. Recently waxed or shaved legs wave tiny wounds through which germs can gain entry into your body.

Caution the technician: Do not let the technician cut your skin with a cuticle clipper. If you do not see them washing their hands before attending to you, politely ask them to do so. In addition, make sure the salon is licensed and that the technician’s licenses are posted.

Dangers at the waxing salon

Just like at the nail and hair salons, it is up to you to make sure that the waxing salon has the required permits and that it hires qualified staff.

Ask about their practices to ensure your safety during and after your waxing session. Bear in mind that you are likely to suffer from skin infections if the salon uses unclean wax or unsterile waxing areas.