Just Say You Don't Want To

I keep thinking I'm going to buy an autoclave.


For years I've been on the side of the argument that sterilization of implements shouldn't be necessary in our industry. I use a new file, buffer, and sanding arbor for every service. I disinfect all my metal and plastics according the state regulations. I make sure everyone washes their hands before we begin. I don't even reuse the towel I keep across my lap. I think I'm doing my part in the “being part of the solution, not part of the problem” campaign. I don't think I should need an autoclave. I don't think anyone in the nail biz should need an autoclave.


Nevertheless, I don't have any resentment against those who have chosen to go that extra step. You certainly can't convince me that more clean is a bad thing, and if your clients think it makes you a better nail tech, then more power to you. That might be where I'm at. (Why aren't you supposed to end a sentence with a preposition anyway?)


For one thing, I admit that it's possible our industry is headed in that direction soon. I see state boards across the nation tightening up regulations and coming up with more rules for us to follow. Frankly, here in Cali, I see the state board re-interpreting the existing rules and regs and trying to create new ones that are becoming so restrictive that I'm considering a bumper sticker that says, "If you outlaw doing nails, only outlaws will do nails." I don't think the NRA will mind my borrowing its slogan, do you? But that's the way I see it — the people who aren't following the rules aren't going to follow them no matter how many more rules you make up! But some rules make it just plain difficult to realistically do the job. It's madness! And a fine example of why I don't feel we should be regulated by politicians instead of people who have real-world experience in the field.


But I digress … I was talking about autoclaves. Maybe I'll get one. For the "before I have to" aspect, and as an extra marketing edge.


However, they are pricey. Which is where the debate usually goes between the "we shoulds" and the "we shouldn'ts." There are a lot of techs out there who do a lot of whining that autoclaves are too expensive. Except the autoclaves that are salon-appropriate are available under $1,000.


Yeah, $1,000 is a major investment. But don't tell me it's too expensive! It's just not a convincing enough argument when I sure as heck know how much 300 1/4-oz. jars of colored acrylic add up to! I have four drills that all cost $300-$400 each. And how many salons have fancy pedicure chairs that run $3,000?


An autoclave might be one of those things that has to be financed for some of us. Maybe it doesn't factor into the average booth renter’s budget. And I still maintain that they shouldn't be necessary, and yeah, I guess if the state board suddenly insisted we all use one, it'd be a pain to have to find one before I started work tomorrow. But arguing that they are too expensive is unconvincing to me when so many of us are sitting amongst our treasures that add up considerably.


If you don't want to sterilize, fine, don't go spending good money on an autoclave that could be spent on glitter or a good tradeshow. Just fess up and say you'd rather spend that money on glitter.

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