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Getting A Manicure Or Pedicure? TDLR Provides Pointers For Receiving Safe Services

AUSTIN – As the weather gets warmer, many Texans will prepare for sandal season with a visit to a nail establishment for a manicure or pedicure. TDLR reminds consumers of steps they can take to ensure a safe and hygienic experience:

  • Make sure your establishment and service provider are licensed. Check the TDLR website: Someone who’s providing a manicure or pedicure should have either a Cosmetology Operator license, a Class A Barber license, or a Manicurist license. Licensees are trained and tested on proper sanitation practices.
  • If you have any open wounds on your hands, or cuts or rashes on your legs, skip the manicure or pedicure until those conditions have healed. An establishment should not provide services if you have inflamed, broken skin because bacteria can more easily gain access to your body and cause an infection. Don’t shave your legs on the day you’re getting a pedicure because there could be small cuts you can’t see.
  • Cleanliness of the establishment is important. Are the trashcans emptied? Can you see nail clippings that haven’t been removed? Is there a strong chemical smell?
  • Before performing a manicure or pedicure service, the technician should wash their hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer. When the manicure or pedicure begins, the technician should clean each area of the client’s body that will be receiving treatment.
  • Ask for tools that have been cleaned, disinfected and sterilized or sanitized, or new tools. Some nail files can be cleaned, disinfected and reused – unless they come into contact with broken skin or unhealthy skin and nails, and should be discarded. Don’t let your service provider re-use a dirty nail file or single-use item that they’ve used on someone else – that’s how infections occur. All tools should be cleaned and disinfected. Metal tools also should be sterilized.
  • Spas or foot basins must be drained, cleaned, disinfected and wiped dry after each client, including those that are covered with shower cap-type disposable liners. If the establishment uses the correct disposable heat-sealed spa liners and portable whirlpool jets, they must drain the water, throw away the liner and disinfect the portable whirlpool jet. Foot basin chairs should be cleaned and disinfected after each client. Establishments are required to keep cleaning logs for each spa or foot basin and the establishment’s most recent inspection report should be made available on request.
  • Technicians are not allowed to use any product, preparation or procedure that penetrates the skin layer. They can’t use a razor-type callus shaver that is designed and intended to cut growths of skin like corns and calluses. They also can’t use a styptic pencil if you are bleeding.
  • Technicians are not allowed to use products that have Methyl Methacrylate Liquid Monomers (MMA) as an ingredient. Some MMA products have a strong irritating smell that can be hazardous to your health.
  • Heads up: Manicurists can’t provide waxing services unless they have a Class A Barber license, Cosmetology Operator license or an Esthetician license.

If you think that something’s not sanitary – SPEAK UP. Ask for a manager. Your health and safety are more important than protecting someone’s feelings.

If you develop redness or swelling in or near the nail bed after a manicure or pedicure, you should seek immediate medical attention. Don’t put off seeing a doctor – some infections can be serious. If you think the infection happened because of conditions at the establishment where you had your manicure or pedicure, you can file a complaint with TDLR and we will investigate.

If you think that TDLR needs to look into potential sanitation or other safety issues in a nail establishment, you can report that here: You can use the same link to report unlicensed activity.

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