Leah and I have both recently had experiences where a nail tech has left us with bloody stumps post mani/pedi. Expected or unacceptable? Jin Soon Choi, fashion’s favorite manicurist, weighed in.
Standard Tip: “Right now 20% is the norm, because when you get a manicure, 15% is not a lot because the price [of the manicure is so low],” Choi said. (Manicures are probably the only thing in NYC that are cheap.)
Managing Your Expectations:
• If a salon looks less than sanitary, ask about it. Ask what kind of sterilizing equipment they use. Choi said autoclaves (which are hospital grade) are the best for metal instruments, and pumice stones have to be sterilized in a special liquid bath. Barbicide (you know, that blue liquid that your hair stylist keeps combs in) isn’t effective for sterilization.
• Choi pointed out that in NYC especially, there are a lot of immigrants working in nail salons. Don’t assume someone is giving you attitude–it might just be a language barrier or an issue with their accent. That being said, there should be someone in the salon who can understand what you want.
These Things Are Not OK:
• Bleeding. Yes, it sometimes happens, especially if your cuticle is dry and ragged, but in general, if a tech draws blood, they’re being too aggressive with the nippers.
• Burning your hands under the UV lights during a gel service (this happened to me recently). The maximum amount of time your hands should spend under the UV lights for a continuous stretch is two minutes. Bonus points if they offer you white gloves (as Choi does at her salons) or sunscreen.
• When you see a nail file has already been used–you can see the telltale white marks on it from a mile away. They can’t be sterilized, so every client should get a fresh one.
• If a tool falls on the floor, and the tech picks it up and re-uses it.