Published on February 8, 2017 | by Laura Lourenco     Photography by Laura Lourenco


Getting your nails done can be fun and relaxing, but is it safe?

Maria Amaral, an Etobicoke resident was surprised when her five-year-old daughter was refused service from a nail salon.

Her daughter had always had bumpy yellow toenails. Amaral thought this was because of weak foot circulation.

However, when she visited the Luxury – Nail Salon in mid-town Toronto, she was denied service.

“The salon worker told me that my daughter had a fungal infection. I immediately took her to the doctor,” Amaral said.

Amaral’s daughter received an antifungal ointment and the infection went away.

Humber College esthetician and spa management graduate Dina Masellis, has seen a lot of warning signs throughout her career.

She knows many Canadians get their nails done as an occasional reward; however, some do not think about the possible health threats that are connected to nail salons.

“Health threats are very serious when it comes to salons,” she said. She’s seen people come in with cuts that can get infected. This is especially common in footbaths. “It happens a lot, way more than people think.”

Even shaving nicks can cause potential infection, she added.

When Masellis first started working in the industry, she worked at a franchise nail salon north of Toronto that she felt was inexpensive but “dirty and unsanitary.”

At that salon it was $30 for a shellac manicure and at her current employer, a luxury salon, the cost is $70.

“This salon requires us to do a client consultation, sanitize the various tools used and we get to know the customer,” Masellis said.

University of Guelph student, Lexie Recalis used to go to a nail franchise.

“I would always wonder if the tools were clean, I went because it was affordable and got the job done,” Recalis said.

Masellis said that sanitization is one of her concerns within the industry. “The previous salon I used to work at did not sanitize their tools. At the end of the service they would rinse them with water, ready for the next customer to use.”

According to Toronto Public Health, incorrect sanitization is one of the fastest ways of spreading infection.

Toronto Public Health’s media representative advisor, Brian Kellow said that before receiving any salon treatments, residents of Toronto should be referring to the BodySafe program found on its website.

According to that website, Toronto salons are inspected every year and given health permits based on the inspection.

If clients are questioning the salon, they are able to report a complaint and request another examination. The salon will then be re-inspected for health violations.

The Toronto Public Health BodySafe program listed many ways that customers can protect themselves when receiving nail treatments.

One way to prevent infection can be to bring your own tools to make sure that they are sanitized and clean, which will help prevent fungus and other illnesses.

In Amaral’s case, she said, “the salon worker was able to notice that my daughter had an infection and refused service. I’m not sure that other salons would notice this. Risking the health of other clients.”

About the Author

is a journalism student that enjoys fashion and entertainment. She is a former Team Canada synchronized skater with five national titles. Laura's dream job would be to host Breakfast Television.

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