Cheese grater, re-used materials found in salon inspections - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Cheese grater, re-used materials found in salon inspections

Inspectors found re-used equipment and improper tools used at some TN Valley salons. (Source: WAFF) Inspectors found re-used equipment and improper tools used at some TN Valley salons. (Source: WAFF)
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A little pampering and relaxation might be just what your mom wants this Mother's Day, and we're pretty sure an infection is not on the top of her list.

Before you make your way to the salon, you need to know what to look for - because it's a risk we take every time we get in the chair.

WAFF obtained inspection records from the State Board of Cosmetology for Madison and Limestone counties so far this year.

We found some failed for reasons including re-using dirty nail files, unsanitized equipment, and even illegal skin shaving tools.

Such was the case for Beauty Nails on North Memorial Parkway in March (PDF report).

Inspectors found a cheese grater used as a foot file, a banned item that comes with an automatic zero for the inspection.

They're banned over the potential for severe injury and the spread of infection.

Inspectors also found paintbrushes being used as nail dusters and an already used pumice ready to be used again on another customer.

Cuts by Us on University Drive scored a 40 percent back in January (PDF report) for sanitation issues over dirty clippers mixed among brushes with hair, cluttered workstations, and not properly displaying their license. 

Then in March, inspectors failed Cuts by Us for having an unlicensed person working in the shop.

At Fusion Nails & Spa (PDF report), inspectors failed them for using banned equipment for pedicures and re-using pumice stones and nail files on customers.

Other salons on the list (PDF) failed over operating with expired licenses.

As of April, all salons mentioned have since been re-inspected and all have perfect 100% scores.

PDF: April inspection report

They're supposed to keep their scores posted for all customers to see.

Cosmetology Board Director Bob McKee has seen the worst of the worst, "if you don't have somebody looking, then they aren't as careful as they ought to be."

One thing his eight state inspectors have zero tolerance for just like the banned substance, Methyl Methacrylate, or MMA, which is sometimes used as bone cement - so strong, some acrylic nails have had to be pried off.

The substance has no business in a nail salon, but his inspectors come across it about two times a week.

McKee said salons buying in bulk from outside suppliers don't know what they're getting and either do you.

"Even the label will say no Methyl Methacrylate but it will end up being positive Methyl Methacrylate," added McKee.

Even if an inspector discovers it, they still can't officially shut down the salon right then and there.

"We can't really shut anybody, we can't even fine them unless we give them due process," said McKee.

That means a salon could fail - and keep serving customers.

If the business gets two scores under 80, the owner is fined and could have to appear for a hearing, but often times unknowing customers are still getting service from the salon.

So, it's up to you to inspect your salon.

First, look for that inspection sheet - again, they are required to have it in a spot you can see it.

For other expert tips, we turned to Nicole Bells, who teaches cosmetology at Drake State.

"If they do not clean before you sit down, that's a red flag. If you see someone use a comb and then use the same comb on another client without washing or disinfecting, all those things that seem minor are very big," said Nicole Bell.

If you have a complaint against a salon near you, you are advised to contact the Alabama Board of Cosmetology and Barbering.

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