6 red flags that mean it's time to change nail salons

From strong smells to dirty pedicure tubs, watch out for these six signs telling you it's time to find somewhere new.
Before you settle in for your next manicure or pedicure, these helpful tips will ensure you're getting the best service possible.
Before you settle in for your next manicure or pedicure, these helpful tips will ensure you're getting the best service possible.Shutterstock

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/ Source: TODAY
By Aly Walansky

Yes, breakups can be hard to do. But sometimes relationships reach a point where it’s just not working anymore, and that includes the relationship you have with your go-to nail salon.

According to experts, there are some major red flags to watch out for as a sign that it’s time to find somewhere new for your next mani-pedi.

1. If the pedicure tubs are not properly sanitized

Pedicures are a relaxing way to treat yourself, but approach those pedicure stations with caution. One of the biggest red flags in a nail salon are jetted pedicure tubs that aren't properly sanitized.

“Jetted tubs are a breeding ground for bacteria and should be sanitized for a minimum of 10 minutes with an EPA-registered disinfectant between each service to properly kill the microorganisms that live inside of the jets,” Mazz Hanna, celebrity nail artist and founder of Mazz Hanna Beauty, told TODAY Style. “If this isn't being done, do not get a pedicure there,” said Hanna, whose celebrity clients include Julia Roberts, Selma Blair and Halsey.

“I have noticed some nail salons using plastic liners in the jetted tubs that they then tear holes into to make it look more sanitary, but unfortunately, it is not. More and more salons are offering an alternative to jetted tubs, so I would absolutely recommend going there instead,” Hanna added.

2. If they cut your cuticles

Remember, cuticles are your friend!

“They protect the baby nail cells growing under them. If you damage the cuticle you may end up having a permanently deformed nail,” celebrity dermatologist Dr. Doris Day told TODAY.

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Instead, have them gently pushed back and remove only excess cuticle on the sides, not at the base.

3. If the tools are not sanitized

Another thing to look out for is a salon that uses an autoclave to sanitize their tools. “Autoclave machines use extreme temperatures and pressure to clean metal implements and tools,” said Hanna. This is usually distinguishable through the paper sanitation packets that the tools are packaged in. “When used properly, the color packet should change colors after sterilization is complete,” said Hanna.

Be cautious if that salon doesn't have a color-changing sanitation packet or if the packet is partially opened.

Easiest solution: Bring your own tools! “My biggest tip is to invest in your own tools and bring them with you each time you have a manicure or pedicure service,” said Hanna. This will ensure that you are getting a safe and sanitary service every single time.

4. If they don’t use a new file for each customer

In many states, it's the law for salons to use a brand new file for every single client. Unfortunately, this isn't standard in many salons across the U.S. and infections can spread from person to person this way.

“Every customer gets a fresh nail file so artists can work on nails safely and files are offered to guests to take home following their service,” Dave Crisalli, founder and CEO of PROSE, a wellness-focused, non-toxic nail boutique, told TODAY of his salon.

5. If you had a bad reaction to your last mani or pedi

If you’ve recently had an infection after a pedicure or a manicure, you should look into the salon's sanitation.

“Possible issues include allergic reaction, infection, bleeding, pain of any kind. These are all reasons to try a new salon,” Dr. Dana Stern, a board-certified dermatologist and Nu Skin’s nail health expert, told TODAY.

“You need your salon to be a sterile environment or you put yourself at risk of infection. The tools should be sterile but environment should be also,” Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified New York City-based dermatologist, assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and author of the book, “Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist," told TODAY.

6. If you smell a strong chemical scent

If you smell chemicals every time you walk in, that means the salon is probably not well ventilated. Those scents can be dangerous.

“The salon offers more artificial enhancements (dips, acrylics) and the ventilation is not effective. That strong chemical scent is usually a clue,” said Stern.