But I Don't Know Where It's Been!

I was reading an article recently about salon safety. It was geared toward consumers and was intended to help people choose salons wisely.


For the most part I am all over this. I think there needs to be more of it! I am constantly amazed at how ignorant the average consumer is about salon services and potential hazards from choosing poorly. But there's at least one piece of advice that this article gave that I hear constantly from this sort of media that just makes me want to jump up and down shaking my fists and screaming.


NO! Absolutely not. I will NOT use the implements that a client brings with them to the salon.


I don't care if Oprah told you that you ought to bring your own implements. I don't care if you heard it on “Good Morning America,” or your local news. I don't care where you heard it or who said it. It's a crappy idea.


First and foremost: You should choose a salon you trust. If you can't trust the salon where you choose to have your personal grooming services performed, then that is a reason right off the bat not to go there!


You would never have surgery done by a surgeon in a facility where you didn't trust them to use sterilized implements. You would never show up with your own scalpel and sponges. You don't take your own plates and cutlery when you go out for dinner. You shouldn't have to bring your own implements to the salon either.


Secondly: The logic behind this advice is flawed. The theory is that if you bring your own implements, then you can be assured that they are clean and safe.


Problem is that most "civilians" don't understand what constitutes clean and safe for a salon service. They keep their implements at home in a drawer in the bathroom, running around loose and keeping company with hairbrushes and used makeup and who-knows-what. Even if they keep their things in a neat little bag, those implements get packed up after use at the salon and are left to molder away for two weeks without so much as getting sprayed down with alcohol — as if that would be acceptable. Not to mention all the times that daughters get to borrow Mom's nail file. Or worse, hubby borrows it to sand down a piece of metal on the lawnmower project he's working on!


And last — at least for today's rant — is the fact that consumers buy consumer-grade implements. They go down to the local Wal-Mart and grab a pair of $3 cuticle nippers that wouldn't make it through a trip to the disinfectant without coming out looking like one of those intentionally rusted lawn ornaments. Add to that a package of old-fashioned emery boards (yeck!) and maybe a birchwood stick. They spend less than $10 on their entire "manicure kit" and proudly present it to you neatly sealed in a Ziplock baggie.


Fortunately, I have had very few clients try this with me. I flat out refuse to touch their stuff. They might as well come in and try to hand me a pair of their panties! And they're lucky if I don't flat out laugh at them.


I do tell them that I won't use their implements because I don't know where they've been. I do take a minute to give them the "how I do things" tour — pointing out that each file, buffer, and sanding band gets used just for them and then is tossed. My scrub brushes and metal implements get used once, and are disinfected. This is the disinfectant I use, this is how long implements are soaked in it, this is the poster that outlines the state's requirements for disinfecting. If they still don't feel comfortable allowing me to perform their service using the professional-quality tools that I have invested thousands of dollars in over the course of my career, then they need to find someone they do trust.


Thank you. Good bye. Please don't leave your Avon manicuring kit behind. No offense. It's perfectly suitable for home use, but I am a professional.


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