Choosing a nail & tanning salon

There's a science to selecting a nail or tanning salon.

Choosing a nail or tanning salon may seem like a no brainer, but ask most women and they will tell you there is a science to choosing just the right spot.

French tips or acrylics? Square or round? Fresh from the beach or deep bronze?

Nail and tanning establishments run the gamut from in-and-out, no-appointment-necessary strip mall staples to high-end salons. Although customers essentially obtain the same services no matter how "upscale" they go, with nails and tans, safety is a key issue, and some consumers feel more comfortable at a salon that promotes health and wellness above speed and convenience.

No matter where you choose to bronze your skin or buff your nails, rest assured that tanning facilities are regulated and all nail technicians are required to be licensed.

In some cases you will be able to find tanning and nail services together under one roof, but more often you will find them in separate storefronts. Higher-end salons and day spas tend to shy away from tanning treatments but almost all offer nail services.


To choose the best, safest nail salon , follow these guidelines:

  • Nail salon sanitation

    This is the most important part of a positive nail experience. When you are getting a manicure or pedicure, the work station should be clean, new linens should be placed underneath your hands or feet, all instruments should be sanitized, and both you and the nail technician should have clean hands.

    Ask how the equipment is cleaned and sanitized if you're not sure. Also, you're welcome to bring in your own manicure and pedicure implements and ask the technician to use those instead.

    If you're having a pedicure and the salon uses a Credo blade to shave calluses and rough spots on the foot, be sure the blade is replaced before it is used on you or ask them not to use it at all. In some states, the Credo blade is outlawed and in many higher-end salons, nail technicians do not use them.

  • Artificial or natural nails?

    Try to determine whether artificial nails will work for you. Generally constructed of acrylic or fiberglass, artificial nails are not ideal for people who are hard on their hands.

    Additionally, artificial nails require a regular maintenance schedule, and some people have allergic reactions to the chemicals used in the application. Mold or fungus can sometimes grow in the nail bed with artificial nails. Should this occur, have the artificial nails removed immediately.

  • Pre-existing conditions

    Always alert your nail technician if you are diabetic or if you have been taking blood thinners.

To choose the best (and safest) tanning salon, follow these guidelines:
  • Timing is everything with tanning

    The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge consumers to avoid sun lamps. But if you are opting for a tanning bed or booth that uses UV light bulbs that mimic the sun, never ignore the timer that is tied to your machine.

    The FDA mandates how much time you may spend in front of bulbs that emit UVA and UVB light based on the pigment of your skin, before tanning.

  • Some sun alternatives

    Self-tanners are the hot trend in tanning right now and have graduated from the bright orange cream bought in drugstores. Most tanning parlors offer a machine- or self-applied sprays.

    The new machines point more than 30 nozzles toward the tan-seeker, coating the skin using a spray made from sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables. The machine (vs. the airbrush application a technician uses) affords you privacy while you tan.

    These spray-on tans receive high marks from dermatologists and skin safety experts.

    Also, don’t forget to also ask about price structures and additional treatments. Some salons offer combo packages at a discount.


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