Doing Nails Is Not a Crime!

So yesterday I got a call from a fellow nail tech at another salon in town. She wanted to let me know the State Board had just left their salon. She gave me an update on who got fined and for what. Their other nail tech got cited for not dishing her polymer out separately for each individual client.


I said thanks for the heads-up, hung up the phone, and began grumbling. I got up and took a hard look at the rules and regs for California. Nearest I can figure, the inspector was referring to section C of paragraph 988: “When only a portion of a cosmetic preparation is to be used on a patron, it shall be removed from the original container in such a way as not to contaminate the remaining portion.” Apparently, he interpreted it to mean that we have to dish out just enough liquid and powder to use for each client.


Except, this is new. That’s not how it was taught in school. That wasn’t the case when I took my State Board exam. That hasn’t been the case every single time I’ve been inspected by the State Board over the last 16 years! And the wording of that section of the Rules and Regulations hasn’t changed in that time. So why is it suddenly being interpreted this way now?


Despite occasional argument from various groups, so far it’s pretty much accepted that it’s ok to use the same sculpting brush (or gel brush for that matter) on multiple clients without having to figure out how to disinfect it between uses. OK, so if I can dip my brush in monomer, dip the brush in polymer, then apply to the nail without “contaminating” my brush, then how would dipping a non-contaminated brush into powder suddenly contaminate the rest of the powder?


So what’s this guy’s definition of “contamination?” Better yet, what is the State Board’s definition of “contamination?”


Even better! Why are our state board regulations open to interpretation at all? It certainly seems that we’ve all known nail techs who’ve been cited by an inspector for doing the same thing that our inspector has been OK with. Or cases where for years we have had our inspector’s blessing for doing something a certain way and then one day we get cited for it.


If our regulating agencies are going to conduct their business in such a way that it makes it impossible for conscientious professionals to be in compliance with the rules and regulations, what motivation do we have to even bother trying to comply?


It’s no wonder so many salon professionals have stopped listening: Nod. Smile. Take it on the chin. Say “thank you.” Pay your fines. Go on as usual.


Our state boards should be working with us by providing us with reasonable and consistent regulation to help us preserve the safety of our clients and the integrity of our industry, not approaching us as adversaries. This attitude has resulted in a loss of trust and confidence in our regulatory agencies. It makes a mockery of our state boards and the purpose for their existence.


If my inspector is going to approach me as though I’m a criminal, and nothing I say or do can change that attitude, why bother trying to prove him/her wrong?




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