Make sure your salon is safe: danger signs and questions to ask

By Aisling | July 8 2008 | 53 Comments


Between Salon Spy and Tammy’s stories of dodgy practice in some salons you could be forgiven for being a bit wary about going back into a salon. But don’t! Follow Tammy’s tips to make sure your salon is clean and safe. And if you’re not happy? Vote with your feet as dad says – make your excuses and leave.

Above all, don’t be afraid to speak up. So here’s some of Tammy’s guidelines to make you feel more confident about what you should be looking for.

Being asked to fill out a client questionnaire to help the therapist assess if treatments are suitable for you is a good sign – this demonstrates professionalism.

A technician should wear gloves, especially during waxing, pedicures and even eyebrow tweezing.

Double dipping
This should never happen. Once a stick (applicator) has been placed into product and touched your skin, it should be thrown away. The stick should NEVER be put back into a pot of wax because it could contaminate the product, and then infect clients.

There should be a jar of sanitiser storing the manicure/pedicure tools at the manicure station. Tools can harbour bacteria and fungal infections if not sanitised correctly. Even the files should be cleaned between clients.

Must be changed and fresh paper given for each client. This should be standard practice. Measures should be taken to ensure that you are not on a dirty bed.

Patch testing for new products
Even if you have waxed or tinted for years you should still be tested to ensure that you do not have a reaction to any new products that the salon uses.

Now read on to get to know the danger signs in a salon that’s not up to scratch

  • Things are a mess in general. Need I say more?
  • Shelves and containers are dusty. If they aren’t doing the basic cleaning, are they really going to be following sanitation measures?
  • Implements are put back into a drawer or cabinet after use. There are items that can be sanitized after use, like metal tweezers, by being washed and soaked in a strong solution. If they use a tweezer and put it away into a drawer, then they aren’t sanitizing it. Same goes for manicure tools if you don’t see a blue solution on the manicure table, chances are they aren’t using it!
  • Wax pots (heating units) have wax all over them. Waxing can be messy, but a good salon will ensure that the pots are kept clean, so there is no excuse. Likewise, if you see sticks in the pot it is a sign that they don’t dispose of them regularly. Ask how many applicators they will use. If the answer is one – RUN!
  • They don’t wear gloves for hair removal. If you have to ask them to wear gloves then it means that they don’t normally wear them. If they aren’t concerned for their own health – how could they care about yours!

So what can I do?

  • Examine the wax pots, manicure station, pedicure spa and the room before treatment
  • Ask what methods of sterilisation the salon uses for tinting brushes and manicure tools. (if they can’t answer you – they don’t have one!)
  • Don’t shave your legs before getting a pedicure. Tiny razor nicks provide a pathway for bacteria. Don’t let nail technicians cut into your skin or cuticles either.
  • Make sure the salon – and the specific technician- is licensed to perform waxing. Watch to see if the technician does a temperature test on his or her own inner arm before applying wax to you.
  • Make sure electrolysis needles are brand new for each customer. As in the medical field, dirty needles are a serious health concern.

Ask about the salon sanitation measures. If the therapist has a hard time explaining their sanitation measures remember: if they can’t describe it, they’re not doing it.

Hair Removal, Nails, Salons & Spas , , , ,

53 Replies to "Make sure your salon is safe: danger signs and questions to ask"

  • Millie says:

    After reading this I know where I WONT be goin back 2
    Now I have to find somewhere new & more important CLEAN
    and soon !

  • Aphrodite says:

    Yeah there’s a couple of places that I know now definitely were not doing the right things

  • tor says:


  • T-cup says:

    spill the beans what salons should we avoid? i’m relatively new to dublin so i trying to find new salons

  • T-cup says:

    or maybe give the names of the best places??

  • Ladywanderer says:

    I agree with Tor – it would be hugely beneficial to all of us if you could give us a list of reputable salons

  • Peppermint says:

    T-cup, judging by the posts on the previous part of this article, I’d say, a lot of us never gave a second thought of how things are done in detail, even in the so-called best places in the city centre, if things looked generally professional…

  • Ladywanderer says:

    oops – meant to say I agree with T-Cup :-)

  • Aphrodite says:

    I think it would be too – perhaps salon owners would like to email us or leave a comment here to tell us about their salons?

    That would be brilliant – we could write up the salon for you then.

    Email me at and tell me about your salon – we’d love to list salons with excellent standards

  • Deborah says:

    What a great list Aphrodite, some scary stuff on the posts the last few days. Have sent it on to lots of people. I don’t think people are even aware of a lot of this and place their trust in the so-called professionals. Sounds like there needs to be some sort of regulation body too.

  • Roseyrosie says:

    I have sworn by Brazilia for a while, but reading that, it reminded me of something that did bother me: my last therapist definitely was not wearing gloves for a rather intimate bikini wax. Weird, AND unhygienic. And, one would imagine, unpleasant for her.

    I would probably still go back, but I might ask her to put on gloves next time. The problem is, it’s quite an intimate thing so you feel kind of awkward even asking for things, don’t you?

  • m says:

    Is anyone in the situation where they’ve finally found a great waxer (after many crap ones) who they are loyal too but does double dip the hot wax for the bikini?
    Are ye gona ditch the good waxer or do the really embarrassing awkward hygiene question routine?!

  • hairymary says:

    Roseyrosie, it is their salon policy not to wear gloves. Fact.
    M, even if you ask her not to double dip on you it won’t make a difference as she will have already double dipped everyone before you so the wax in effect is already contaminated. She would need to not double dip altogether or have a pot of fresh wax just for you. But there are some great waxers that don’t double dip, and maybe if you say it to her she will change her ways.
    Also a friend of mine worked in a top salon in Dublin and they were made to substitute the collagen stuff in one of the facials to some johnson and johnson crap to save money!!

  • Peppermint says:

    Roseyrosie, that’s exactly what I was thinking of, when ur up there (near) naked it’s kinda difficult to be assertive ask her to wear gloves and change spatulas… :)

    My therapist wore gloves on one hand for the first time I think, then I got another girl, she didn’t.

    The ‘white-list’ of clean salons is badly needed, me thinks…

  • Peppermint says:

    m, it will have to be the ditching for me… a shame, because i thought i found a good place with professionals…

  • Dreamgirl says:

    Very interesting post & opinions!!

  • baby in a corner says:

    i don’t mind about the not wearing gloves thing if they wash their hands before. they can’t really wear gloves for stuff like facials anyway where they are also touching your skin and i think a sense of touch can be important to make sure treatments are done properly.

    have had waxing done before where the therapist wore gloves and acted like she was disguisted by the thought of touching me. it made me feel v uncomfortable.

  • Pookie says:

    Agree totally with baby in a corner re the wearing of rubber gloves. Makes the trip to your favourite waxing professional more like a trip to the gynaecologist:-( As long as the therapist has cleansed their hands prior to starting your treatment surely that is enough ?

  • Lynnie says:

    I think I’ve only been to one establishment where gloves were worn for waxing & the girls spent most of their time trying to unstick their gloves from the wax.

    Also, for hot waxing, wouldn’t it be difficult to “pick” up an edge to grip with gloves on or am I being a bit thick..?

  • Ellenwaxer says:

    If the vinyl gloves are worn they won’t be sticky, and they should fit tight enough that you wouldn’t know the difference TBH.
    I think in this day and age wearing gloves is the way its going. I know of plenty of salons in the States where they wear gloves for facials too.

Leave a Reply

Content © and partners