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Nailed... The Truth Behind Discount Nail Salons

By Kim Snyder

There are discount nail salons on just about every corner these days and a great deal of competition within the industry. Salons that are higher in price are now going out of their way to specialize in different, branded systems that are inventive in the different ways they offer to take care of your nails.

With Nail Salons on every corner, how do you pick the right one for you? There are many different types of Nail Salons, from your basic services to full out Retreats for weekends in the bed of luxury. How can you tell which one is right for what you want done?

You might enjoy paying less to have your fills done, but the cost of the product used to do that fill is still the same. All nail salons use the same kinds of products to work on your nails, so there really won't be much difference in the type of products found in any salon you might visit. However, there ARE different brands available for each product type. If the nail salon you are going to uses a name brand product such as O.P.I, China Gaze, Creativespa, LECHAT Color Gel, Solar Oil, even at wholesale prices, the products cost about the same at either high end or low end Salons, so what extra value are you getting if you visit a more expensive nail salon?

What you are getting at a higher cost Salon are typically better services, benefits and in some cases, more personal care and attention. One of those benefits may be cleaner air. Indoor air pollution from the chemicals in nail products can be one of the biggest problems for those who have breathing problems, but still want to get their nails done. If you are getting your nails done at a higher end salon, there is a good chance that they have an air filter or fans or other air cleaners to stop the smell of acrylics from burning your nose or eyes when you walk in the door.

Many additional services are being offered at higher end Salons, other than just your basic acrylic overlays with tips, and simple manicures and pedicures. When we asked clients about the best Salons they had patronized, they said there were differences in what the place looked like, but even when it wasn't called a Day Spa it was just a step down from it. Here is a common list of services offered by higher end nail salons.

1. Spa-level Manicures,

2. Spa-level Pedicures,

3. Natural Nail Care,

4. Silk/Cotton/Linen Nail Wraps,

5. Nail Art beyond simple one color flowers,

6. Full Sets,

7. Gel Overlays,

8. Massage Legs, Arms, Hands

9. Organic and Botanical products for Pedicures,

10. Reflexology.

The whole atmosphere is different at a higher end nail salon. There is no rushing to get your nails done, with your cuticles being roughed up because technicians are filing quickly because they must do many more manicures a day to make a living wage.

Each nail technician in a higher-end salon should be dressed for success or wear a smock with the nail salon's name on it. They are typically not gossiping among themselves about other clients and not speaking to each other in languages other than English. Salon clients consulted in the preparation of this article made a very strong recommendation that one language should be spoken when there are clients in the room and technicians should wear little or no jewelry.

All these different services are going to cost more and there is no way around that fact. For those who don't need more than just a fill every two weeks, these benefits may mean nothing, but for those who want more, it's going to cost more.

After asking different salon owners and those who get manicures and pedicures done regularly, all say one word: "Sanitation." The biggest difference between higher priced and discount Nail Salons is the level of cleanliness of the whole Salon, including the equipment and technicians. This should be the most basic criteria of choice.

Based on that, if you can't decide whether you want to go to a discount nail salon or one that is higher priced, then here are a few additional ideas that might help you decide.

When you walk into a nail salon, either discount or higher in price, stop and look around. Are the floors dirty, or does the carpet have big stains on it? What do the nail technicians look like? Do they look unkempt or have nails of their own that look like they need work? Are their stations disorganized and untidy? If this is what you are seeing, then the best thing you could do is just turn and walk away.

A health inspector we interviewed said that when she visited a particular nail salon, her first impression was that it looked clean, and the prices were reasonable. Then she began her close examination. What she saw was down right scary for the salon's customers. The whirlpool for pedicures wasn't properly disinfected between each use, and the footbaths provided the perfect environment for the growth of dangerous bacteria. When tested, the bacteria growing in the footbaths could have caused someone a major skin infection. Unfortunately, official inspectors regularly inspecting Salon premises are not as common as they once were. If the possibility of infection is something you are worried about, then a higher end nail salon would be a better choice, because they can afford to take better care of their equipment and are typically more conscious of the welfare of their clients.

Today you can buy your own simple equipment for your nail technician to use on your nails and no one else's. Many technicians use nail files that are single use. You can ask for them, if that is something you would rather have used on your nails.

Nail technicians are there to give a service. If they do a great job, please don't to forget to tip them - they have to eat too.

If you are not sure which Salon to patronize, ask your friends,family or work colleagues for recommendations about where they go to get their nails done. If you see someone with nails that you admire, don't hesitate to ask them for a recommendation to their favorite Salon. Go with your friends and see their favorite salons for yourself, before having any work on done on your own nails.

Which Salon you choose should be based on many if not most of the ideas we have mentioned above, and on you're income, where you live, and what you want done. Only you can decide what you are willing to pay to have the luxury of getting your nails and toes done.

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