How to spot a non standard salon

This is hot topic in the industry right now as there’s so many allergies and bad practices happening. After a long discussion on a local mum page I’m a part of, I decided to spread some facts to help you, the consumer choose salons that will hopefully promote the natural nail health!

Make sure the salon is using a complete system. Which ever gel polish you have chosen, make sure the salon is using the base, colour AND top coat to match. Most of the trusted brands have their own lamps too, to ensure a proper cure. For the most part the only way to properly cure the products are using the lamp to match the system. There are some exceptions to the rule - for example: Light elegance have tested their products with use of the CND lamp and have confirmed it gives a proper cure (due to the supplier of LE being an official CND supplier knowing we will already have the lamps) but this is manufacturers guidelines.


Shellac is a brand. If you are paying for a Shellac service, you should be having CND Shellac applied to your nails. Unfortunately with the huge success of it, many salons have been using it as a generic term for gel polish, like hoover!




E-FILES are not necessary a bad thing, IF they’re being used correctly. An electric file typically shouldn’t touch the nail plate and be used only on the enhancements. A lot of nail professionals use them to de-bulk products or remove the top coat of gel polish for a quicker removal. Filing is sometimes the only way to remove certain gels, but this should be finished by hand after de-bulking to prevent damage to the natural nail plate.


Nippers should be used sparingly, quite often the skin (you would refer to as cuticle) is living tissue called the eponychium/proximal nail fold. This shouldn’t be cut as over time it will grow back thicker as scar tissue as the skin tries to protect it’s self. This can lead to infection. Cuticle is dead skin that grows up from underneath the nail fold and can be scraped away easily.

Filing back and forth is okay as long as the correct file is being used. A file with a grit 240 or higher is perfectly okay to use on the natural nail plate, anything lower will be more course and should be used only on enhancements.


If you have liquid and powder applied (acrylic) this should ONLY be applied to the nail. I see often (even on insta-famous nail gurus) the monomer (liquid) being patted all over surrounding skin on the nail. The product is made for nails, contact with skin can cause allergies long term.


Hygiene is questionable in most salons, did you know that to have the towels cleaned properly they need to be washed at 60 degrees? Most NSS have a glass of blue liquid/barbicide they rest their tools in. This doesn’t ensure they’re clean. The tools need to be cleaned for debris first before sanitisation occurs or else the solution won’t work. That’s also providing they have followed manufacturers guidelines and used the correct parts solution and water.


Finally, education!! Anybody who is invested in themselves and their career as a nail tech will be more than happy to talk about education and courses they have done. Many of us train regularly (myself at least three times a year) to enhance and perfect our skills. I have no shame in this and telling my clients who I’m insured by.

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