Protecting yourself in the Salon!


Mrs. Jones scheduled a pedicure at the XYZ Salon.

Her experience was great (so she thought). Her Technician greeted her, asked her to choose a color, walked her to the pedicure station and asked her to place her feet into the water.

They had great conversation. Told stories and laughed.

The Technician did all the basics; manicured the toenails, exfoliated, massaged, applied polish and even asked Mrs. Jones if she wished to schedule a future appointment.

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Sounds like a pretty basic, no frills pedicure right? UNTIL……

Mrs. Jones felt a twinge near her great toe during her service and really didn’t think anything of it.

However, that evening, she noticed the twinge was now turning into pain and the skin around her toenail began to get inflamed.

When she had her husband look at it for her, he noticed a knick. The Technician had nipped her skin while cutting her toenails.

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This incident “may” have been nothing. Except, Mrs. Jones is diabetic (which the Technician never asked).

The pain progressively got worse, the inflammation also got worse and Mrs. Jones had to be taken to the emergency room.

Long story short……Mrs.Jones now has no right foot!


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Sally Jane has many scheduled appointments with the Salon she has been visiting for years. She has her nails done, pedicures and her hair done at the same Salon.

During her manicure session her Technician was removing her gel polish with an e-file. Sally Jane jumped from a burning sensation. The Technician gave her clients hand a  squeeze (as to Hug her), patted her finger and apologized. She had burned her with the e-file.

Neither of them really thought anything about it until Sally went to a work event where a Vendor was offering paraffin dips (just a couple of days after her manicure). Within days her finger swelled up and long story short…..Sally had to have her finger amputated and found herself in a law suit with her long standing Salon.

Several thousand $$$ later, the lawsuit was settled. Sally Jane lost her finger and the Salon went out of Business.


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Mr. Smith, 79 years old visited a salon for a pedicure.

There was no consultation…..just sit down, feet in water!

When Mr. Smith got back home, Mrs. Smith noticed the skin around his great toe was a little red. She contacted the Salon to inquire and didn’t quite like the response from the owner.

Consequently Mrs. Smith left a horrifying, nasty review on the Salons review page.


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The above scenarios have made up names however, the stories are true.

Sadly, I’ve been personally called in as an expert to share my knowledge of what can and what does happen in our Salons.

The most intriguing part to all of this is how many of our Technicians think “this won’t happen to me”.

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If you haven’t been there, lucky you. However, don’t get too overly confident. It may not be about what you think you did. It’s the wrong client in your chair which can also cause you a world of trouble.

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If you have been following me this year, you know my theme for the year is confidence.

Confidence comes from education. Confidence comes from knowledge. Confidence comes from knowing you are doing everything from head to toe, from floor to ceiling 100% accurately.

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Let’s begin from “head to toe”. When we service our clients in today’s world, we have to realize it isn’t about just the pretty anymore. It goes way further.

Yes, our clients may come to us for the “pretty” yet we have to be knowledgeable enough to realize, our responsibilities are much greater than that. Let’s look at a few;

  • The above scenario referencing the cutting of the toenails happens more often than we know. I’m not surprised of how many of our technicians do NOT know how to cut toenails. The slightest torque on a toenail can cause the very sensitive, thin skin (especially on our elderly) to tear. Cutting the toenails too short can cause infection and cutting the toenails with inappropriate tools and incorrectly can indeed cause of slew of concerns.
  • An e-file scenario is certainly not new to our Industry, nor are the lawsuits related to burning in the Salon. Both on toenails AND fingernails. I’ve been victim to an e-file getting to hot. I’ve also seen where Technicians are taring into the cuticle and sidewalls “aggressively” with an e-file. I’ve also seen grow out marks caused by e-files or should I say, caused by inexperienced Technicians.
  • Dirty tools/implements. Dirty Pedicure tubs. Dirty salon environment. These are three(3) situations which have also caused large lawsuits which ultimately put our Salons out of Business. We must remember, bacteria can enter into the skin through many portals. All it takes is broken skin. Broken skin which can be caused by shaving or a scrape or any injury which opens the skin.

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All these things can be eliminated and it doesn’t take a “certification” to do so. It takes education, knowledge and knowing  the limits of your license.

  • If you have never been taught how to cut a toenail properly. Learn!
  • If you have never taken an e-file class. Do it!
  • If you have never done a consultation. Start now!

You don’t have to be “certified” in order to learn these skills. We have so many channels available to us for learning opportunity. It’s a matter of finding the right one AND making sure the people you are learning from “qualify” their knowledge.

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If you don’t think the tools you use can matter…think again!

I know personally of someone who got an infection in her foot because a piece of “sandpaper” from a foot file got embedded into a crack in her skin.

I also know of someone personally who was cut so badly from a “satan’s grater”, she couldn’t walk on her feet for weeks.

And, I know personally of someone who got an infection around her nail fold because the Technicians was so aggressive in attempting to remove her cuticle, she cause bleeding and ultimately “almost” amputation from the infection.


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Moving on from floor to ceiling we all know the scenarios of dirty pedicure tubs causing major infections, amputation AND death. If you don’t, google it….there are plenty.

The sad part about many of these stories is they don’t all pertain to sub-standard salons. Unfortunately, I know many amazing Technician with top notch Businesses using inferior cleaning and disinfection products AND not using them properly.

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Infection Prevention is crucial. It always has been.

However, if you don’t really understand what cleaning is, what disinfection is, what sterilization is OR what the Salon Hazards can be by not using proper protocol……you just may find yourself in a lawsuit.


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Growing up in a Family of 9 (7 children, Mom and Dad) seemed so effortless to my parents. God Bless them, I could never do it yet somehow they managed.

One of the things we laugh about as adults, is the “operation clean-up”.  Mom would be on the phone with a friend or a family member and when she got off the phone it was “operation cleanup”.  Whomever it was she was talking with was coming over and us kids had to bust ass to get the house cleaned up.

Now, mind you…it wasn’t dirty, just messy from 7 kids.  None-the-less…..the words operation cleanup has stuck with me forever.  I always joke that I’ve been scarred by “operation cleanup”

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I always kinda feel, if you maintain on a regular basis, your house would be clean all the time and ready for any guest, expected or not.

I feel this way about our Salons. If you just do what you are supposed to do on a regular basis…properly….you won’t be surprised by any “unwanted guest” like fungi. bacteria etc. which……can lead to a whole lot of trouble.

During Covid many of our Technicians changed their scheduling leaving more time between clients for sanitation practices. Unfortunately, many have now fell back into hurry, hurry, hurry. They’ve gone back to low level disinfection products and they don’t follow proper Mfg instruction when it comes to the products they are using.

This is a recipe for disaster. 

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In protecting our Salons, or ourselves…it is really very simple.


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We just completed our first class in “Infection Prevention”. The comments from the class were overwhelming and quite surprising.

Overwhelming because of all the “grateful” comments and surprising at how many didn’t even know the basics. That is nothing to be ashamed about. What is shameful is if you fail to continue to learn and do what is right for our industry. Fail to learn and do what is right for our clients. Fail to learn and do what is right for you.

Our Infection Prevention book will be available soon. After our class, we noticed a few tweaks we needed to make and are completing as we speak. Our book will be a great manual for our Salons to keep and share with their existing team as well as any new hires.

Chapter 1 are basic terminology regarding bacteria, how they affect us, where they come from and what are the Salon Hazards.

Chapter 2 is all about cleaning

Chapter 3 is all about disinfection

Chapter 4 is all about sterilization

Chapter 5 is an outline of Salon protocol.


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All I want for our industry is for our Technicians to do the right thing.

Follow ALL proper protocols

Stay within the limits of your license

Educate yourself in all aspects of the Business which can ultimately cause you problems, your clients problems and our entire Industry problems.

And….don’t assume, just because you haven’t had any legal battles….you won’t.


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