What constitutes “Sub Standard”?


I was sitting here in my office, looking at the various amount of notes I have written down regarding thoughts about what I want to write about. Sometimes having too much isn’t a good thing. It’s difficult to decide what I want to conquer next.

When all of a sudden, I received a text from my Daughter telling me the Salon she goes to in Connecticut was just shut down due to violation of Connecticut wage law.



I have my reasons why I have been trying to discourage her from going to this particular Salon in the first place. However, her co-workers went there, it was close, it was convenient etc. etc.


It was a “Mom told you so” moment


This brings me to one of the topics i’ve been thinking about for a long time. What exactly is a “sub-standard” Salon? If you read wikipedia on the actual definition;  Sub-standard = below the usual or required standard. Thereforeunless a Salon was operating without a license, most would not qualify under the Sub-Standard category. After all, in all reality, most Salons do JUST what they have to do….they do what is the required standard.

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How can that be you ask?

  • To begin with, let’s talk cleaning & disinfection.  Ohhhh….my favorite subject.  Most of our States suggest that Bleach is a sufficient enough “disinfectant” to use on our tools and in our Pedicure tubs.  There isn’t a cold day in hell that I personally would trust bleach to kill the bacteria and fungi AND blood spores we may be subject to.  However, many Salons use it because that’s what their State says is sufficient.  Does THAT make them sub-standard?
  • In addition, most all States do not require an Auto-clave.  However, we all know to Auto-clave is the highest level of sterilization we can offer.  Does that make them sub-standard?
  • What about the credo blade or better known as the cheese grater.  I’m appalled to know of Technicians I highly respect using these types of tools in their Salons.  When we think of Satans’ grater, don’t you think of sub-standard?  Does that make them sub-standard?

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In addition, when we think of sub-standard we tend to think towards a specific ethnic group. I’m embarrassed to say, I’m guilty of that myself…..in the past. I’ve leaned.  Sub-standard has no ethnic boundaries.  It doesn’t discriminate against race or color.  Sub-standard salons of all ethnicity exist all over our Country.  North, South, East and West.

Unfortunately, when we do see or hear stories of Sub-standard Salons, the stories are always the same.  They relate Sub-standard to poor or no sanitary procedures.

I challenge you to take another look at what exactly Sub-standard is.  Relate it to your own Business and review areas of question. Make changes. Adapt better habits.



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Here are my thoughts of what might constitutes Sub-Standard.

  • The obvious;  Improper or no cleaning and disinfection procedures
  • The not so obvious; Cleaning procedures, although approved by our States which do not protect our clients nor our Technicians from the various degrees of bacteria and fungi which we are presented with on a daily basis.
  • The obvious; The ridiculous amount of minimum hours required by our States to obtain a license.
  • The not so obvious; The lack of continuous Education many Technicians obtain. School gives us a license. Continuing Education gives us knowledge.

Just these 2 things are enough for a series of articles.  However, I believe there is much much more which should be taken into consideration when determining whether a Salon is Sub-standard or not.

I want you to seriously look at these things and think about your own situation. Changing our image to the outside world, stepping up to the next level takes a lot more than you think.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]My experiences or what I have seen

  • Let’s begin with Barbicide.  The oldest form of disinfection in the history of our Business. Let’s just assume, for this article, Barbicide is a qualified cleaning/disinfection agent….although it isn’t. However, it is approved in most States.  Also, according to State regulations we must follow the procedures written on the container, or provided by the Mfg.  Barbicide has 10 minute contact time.  This means, implements/tools must be left in the solution for a minimum of 10 minutes for it to kill the spores it claims to kill.  I’ve seen hair combs thrown in and less than 5 minutes later taken out and used on a different client.  I’ve seen e-file   bits taken in and out of barbicide all day long, over and over again where I am confident, they didn’t have their required 10 minute soak time.  I’ve seen tools and implements sprayed either between clients or if dropped on the floor.  Sprayed and used almost immediately.  I WOULD CONSIDER THIS SUB-STANDARD
  • What about sanding bands? I have been in Salons watching a service being performed with the use of a sanding band and when the Technician is done with the band, he/she places it in a container of Disinfection solution.  I don’t know how good your disinfection solution is.  I don’t care if it’s 1 minute contact time or 10 minutes.  Sanding bands are not to be used on more than one client. It should immediately be thrown away.  I WOULD CONSIDER THIS SUB-STANDARD
  • Let’s talk dusty shelves. An area where many Salons don’t pay attention to is the way their Salon looks outside of their work station.  Sure, you may clean your station after each client but have you paid any attention to the rest of your Salon. Pictures, bottles, shelves, decorations……they all are subject to the same airborne debris. They need to be cleaned everyday.  I WOULD CONSIDER THIS SUB-STANDARD
  • How about reception? I often hear a commercial put out by a Company called Grasshopper. It’s advertising a Professional answering service. It’s actually kinda funny because it so has to do with forgetting the human touch of a phone call. I think about this in many places that I go when the receptionist is “too busy” “in a mood” “in a hurry”…call it what you want.  If the receptionist it human or machine is unpleasant and unprofessional,  I WOULD CONSIDER THI SUB-STANDARD
  • What about cleaning and disinfection procedures.  I can’t tell you how many Salons and Technicians who call in regards to our disinfection brand, and don’t buy it because of the price.  Really?  You are looking for a disinfection product based on price? I WOULD CONSIDER THIS SUB-STANDARD
  • What about physical appearance? Some may get mad at me for this, but I do think there needs to be a higher standard held in regards to appropriate dress code within a Salon.  Helloooooooo everyone!  We are in the BEAUTY Business. Nails should be manicure, toenails should be manicured, hair should represent your stylist. No cleavage, no shorts, no flip flops, no short skirts.  I’ve seen this.  I WOULD CONSIDER THIS SUB-STANDARD
  • Wages. I’m guessing things have changed.  I recall when I owned my Salon, we had to have everyone on the same pay program.  In other words, they ALL were either Independent Contractors (aka Booth renters) or payrolled employee.  You couldn’t have 3 of 1 and 2 of another.  It was an IRS regulation.  But now, I see diversity like this everywhere.  It’s even advertised on SM or some form of advertisement.  “10 chair Salon in need of Nail Technician.  Will booth rent, pay commission or make you an employee”.  I read this and I say, you have already put your new hire in charge.  Wages can’t be based off of the person.  Wages needs to be based off of profitability for the Salon.  Not knowing these numbers and running a Salon blind.  I WOULD CONSIDER THIS SUB-STANDARD
  • No Education.  I won’t get on my soap box, however I will say this short and sweet.  If you do NOT keep up with continuing education on a regular basis, you are in neglect. Neglect for your clients and neglect for yourself. This industry is not just about the bling.  It is far more and we are constantly in a position of jeopardy.  The rise of diabetes in both children and adults. The geriatric client. The immune compromised  client. The sue happy client. It’s endless. So, if you as a Salon owner does not take an aggressive action to keep your salon highly educated, or if you as a single entrepreneur aren’t Educating yourself on a regular basis….I WOULD CONSIDER THIS SUB-STANDARD


I apologize if you have recognized yourself in any of these scenarios and feel offended.  I don’t apologize if it makes you think twice about your own situation. The standards of this industry need to change.  We, those of us working in this industry dictate those standards.  Therefore, if we want to change the standards WE have to change.

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6 thoughts on “What constitutes “Sub Standard”?”

  1. I’m interested in more explanation on barbicide. I’ve seen recently others turning to alternatives or questioning its effectiveness and I’d like to better understand what I need to be looking for in disinfectants, and what alternatives are safer. Thanks

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