There’s some pretty hair-raising stuff going on where we get our haircuts, manicures, pedicures, body waxes, and more. Check out these seven quick ways to size up your salon.
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“The salon’s license should be displayed by the front desk, and each aesthetician’s license should be posted at her station,” says James Jacobs, a supervising inspector with the California Bureau of Barbering and Cosmetology. “In a recent San Francisco sweep, we found license violations in 19 of the 20 shops we inspected.” A current license means workers have been trained in their craft and have received appropriate health-and-safety training.
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Furry friends (not) welcome
“They’re cutebut animals can cause unsanitary conditions in a salon,” Jacobs says.
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"The bathroom can give you a good indication of the priority a salon places on cleanliness," says Zoe Draelos, MD, editor of the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. "If they’re out of paper towels or soap, it’s a red flag." More hints: the sinks are scummy and the floor is covered with hair or hair clippings.
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Tools of the trade
Warning sign: Tools are sticking out of disinfecting liquid. “Scissors, clippers, combs, and brushes should be totally submerged,” Jacobs says. “Any part that’s sticking out is still dirty.”
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"We all have bacteria—sometimes staph—on our hands," says Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Baylor College of Medicine. "Hand-washing can cut down on germ transmission between clients."
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Towels and robes can carry germs, especially if they’re damp, Dr. Sekula-Gibbs explains. They should be laundered and used just once.
It smells funny. Salons should be well-ventilated so chemical odors can escape and fresh air can circulate," Dr. Sekula-Gibbs says. Strong fumes can give you a headache.
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