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Our manicure area.

How is it that some nails salons offer rock bottom prices? What's behind the stories you've heard on sanitation? If discount nail salons are so horrible, how do they stay in business, and more importantly, how do they pass state inspection? We can't tell you about each and every discount shop in Arizona, we can only tell you what we believe to be true in some situations. This is based on our experience working in the industry, interviewing clients, speaking with past workers of discount shops, reviewing public records available from state board, researching past investigations, and our experience as clients ourselves. Like any business, some are good, some are bad. We will help you seperate them.

Discount shops (also called NSS or Non-Standard Salons) may only have a price difference as little as $1-$5, but that can mean much to a client on a budget. How do many of them do it? It's simple, you can make more money when you charge less as long as you can service more clients. This may mean rushing clients through their service, forming an assembly line where one technican performs one part of the service, and other performs something else. Sometimes the client is left waiting while the nail technician services someone else. Often, drills are used to speed up filing time on acrylics, and sometimes even on a natural nail bed!

Rushed service and giving away your time to someone else may only be part of the low price catch. Another way to cut cost is cutting the quality of the products. They may use acrylic powder and liquid and tell you it's gel. Cheaper acrylic powders and liquids may be used. Some liquids may contain MMA, a dangerous substance prohibitted in some states. Porcelain may be used instead of acrylic powders. Because of the poor adhesion of these inferior products, the technician must severely etch the nail, causing it to thin and even become painful. Bottles of polish, like OPI, may be refilled with inferior polishes, disinfectant may contain water with blue food coloring instead of disinfectant.

Inadequate sanitation procedures are the most dangerous violation any spa or salon can have. In their rush to save time, a discount nail technician may not disinfect a piped pedicure tub with the proper disinfectant for a full ten minutes. This means filling the tub up and turning the jets on so the water with disinfectant runs through the pipes. Disinfecting the footbath itself is not enough. Dirty water from the previous person sits in the pipes, and when it is turned on, you are exposed to all those germs. In addition to the pedicure tubs, tools themselves may be put away after use, instead of being washed and put into a sanitizer.

What if you bring your own tools? Unfortunately, a germ is a germ. If you bring your own tools, they should still be disinfected first. Your body doesn't care if staph came from your surroundings or skin or another client's. Staph is staph, and that goes for other germs as well.

What about talking to the nail tech? Communication is imporatant in any industry where you deal with people. Communicating with your nail tech and asking her or him what their sanitation procedures are like, and being allowed to see it for yourself is a great idea. Unfortunately, many discount shops employ nail technicians who speak little or no English. We all know what it feels like to have someone talk in a different language and wonder if they are talking about us, but that won't really harm us. What may harm us? Not being able to communicate. If you can't tell them what you want, ask them what they are doing, and inform them if something is hurting you and have them understand and address your concerns, you should go somewhere else.

Another way to save money is to skip going to nail technician school, or receiving education in another country. Although Arizona allows reciprocity, and we are glad they do, there is no absolute way of knowing what kind of training a nail technician received in another country.With the addition of male and female sex indentification on licenses, some "license sharing" between people with non-specfic gender names (like Jaime, or a name from another culture that Americans cannot put a gender to) has been stopped, but it still happens.

So how do they get away with it? Don't be misled, our Board has fully qualified and experienced inspectors who care about public safety. Unfortunately, the budget does not allow many inspectors. In fact, at any time there may be as few as 4 in the entire state. Although the cost of a personal license nearly trippled years ago, Arizona is still in a severe defecit and funds that come from violations may be taken by the state. We want more inspectors, but that cannot happen right now. Even with more inspectors, some salons can still slip through the cracks; inspectors cannot be there every minute of the day watching them for violations. They come in and can only see what is in front of them. The reality is that they do catch violations, but it's impossible to expect them to use the same tactics as a homicide detective.

So, some discount shops rush service, skip or have inferior disinfection procedures, and may make matters worse because they cannot communicate well, and although our state catches some, but cannot be expected to catch all, they remain in business. That's it, right? Not so fast. They have another trick up their sleeve. Did you know that their prices may not be cheaper after all? The price quoted is a base price, and although that's not uncommon, they may charge extra for silly things such as shortening the nails, polishing the nails, or charging by length. Each repair in the fill may be extra, and they may even tell you that you need a full set when you don't. How about a painted flower? Salt scrub during the pedicure? That's extra. How often do you say, "yes" because you feel pressured? How often have they not told you it was extra or just added it on without asking you, and you had to pay for it? It happens. To see how we compare, take a look at this example:
Discount Shop: Acrylic Fill $25. Repairs $5 each. Shorten nails $5.
With nails shortened and 2 repairs $40.
A Bit of Bliss: Acrylic Fill $35. Repairs $0 each for the first 2. Shorten nails $0.
For the same, you only pay $35.

How do we compete with discount nail salons? We don't. Our competion is other day spas and hair salons that offer the same level of service we do. More often than not, our prices are more affordable. Our prices at A Bit Of Bliss have not been raised in the years since we opened. The economic situation of many potential clients has not improved, and so we choose to keep our prices low, even if it means we may not adjust for inflation and cost of living. We have high standards, and care about our clients. Everyone gets the personal attention they deserve, and we are committed to keeping that special attention affordable.

Remember, every discount shop is different. You may find one that uses none of these tactics. This information is not to be taken as a rule. We hope we have given you the information you need to make an informed choice. Take note of the information below next time you are investigating a nail salon.

Discount Nail Salons
What questions should I ask a "discount" nail salon?
  • What is your sanitation procedure for tools and pedicure tubs? Can I see?
  • Will I only have one technician servicing me?
  • About how long will my appointment run?
  • Is the price of the service the price out the door? What would make this more?
  • Can I make an appointment for the same technician every time? Will you call me if they are sick?
  • Where was your training?
  • What is your criteria for nail technicians?

We wish you luck in your quest for a nail technician. Once you visit us you'll see why A Bit of Bliss Day Spa is the most welcoming place for manicures, pedicures, acrylic nails, and gel nails in Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, and perhaps even ANYWHERE!

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