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LACQUER is a proud advocate of ethical beauty

What is Ethical Beauty?

  • paying our employees a fair, living wage - legally
  • using the best products in our services, minimizing potentially harmful ingredients whenever possible
  • following safe beauty practices in all of our services, never sacrificing someone's health and safety for any reason

Recently, we were investigated by the US Department of Labor and our case was closed with no further action, meaning we are doing everything the way we are supposed to. All of our staff are classified as employees and we ensure they are paid more than minimum wage. That is not the case in all salons, even high-end ones.

Around the same time, we were featured in an article written for Glamour magazine about tipping in the nail industry. That article also covers illegal employment practices that happen in our business. We are honored to be featured and help further expose unethical employment practices.

We are proud to be part of the movement redefining the industry and providing a better, safer environment for our customers and our employees.


The Price of Ethical Beauty

Being an ethical employer means we pay all of our employees a fair living wage, as well as our fair share of taxes (all of our employees are W-2 employees, NOT independent contractors).

You've probably thought about how much you pay for a manicure or pedicure, but you may not have thought about what's behind the price. Thanks to the 2015 New York Times exposé, The Price of Nice Nails, we can all become more educated about ethical salon practices and make better choices.

Many nail salons pay their employees cash under the table, often at rates below minimum wage (and sometimes nothing at all) or misclassify their employees as independent contractors, placing all of the tax burden on the employee. These employment practices enable salons to have low prices at the expense of the employee.

Additionally, we provide extensive training and follow safety standards that are above and beyond State regulations. All of this requires investment in training, special equipment and supplies to ensure healthful nail services. Even fancy spas don't follow some of the protocols we do. We are the only Certified Safe Salon in Austin.



Understanding the Nail Industry

We are proud to be featured in this article, published by Glamour magazine, about tipping in the nail industry. While the article is about tipping at nails salons, it also focused on illegal employment practices that happen in our business. We are proud to be featured and help further expose unethical employment practices. READ THE FULL STORY

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Safe Beauty Practices

At LACQUER, safety and cleanliness is priority. We are a certified Safe Salon® which means the entire staff has undergone extensive training on safe and healthful nail care and we practice the highest levels of sanitation.

  • all of our services are soakless, meaning we do not soak the hands or feet in water, we use warm towels instead - this is better for your skin, and the environment and ensures a safe service free of cross-contamination
  • our technicians wear a new pair of disposable gloves for every service
  • all of our files and buffers are single use
  • our metal implements (nippers, pushers, and clippers) are sterilized in a medical grade autoclave after every use (you may ask to see ours if you'd like - we're pretty proud of it, it's super fancy!)
  • we use hospital grade EPA to sanitize all hard surfaces in the salon
  • we will not perform services on any clients that have medically diagnosed conditions that are contagious or put anyone's safety at risk

These are little things that not every nail salon does, and sometimes the things you don't always notice, but they make a big difference in cleanliness and safety for clients and employees.

We understand sometimes you can't always make it to LACQUER for your nail appointments, so be sure to look for the following at any nail salon you visit:

  • metal implements packaged and sealed prior to use (you should see a brown or black dot near the seal - that indicates it was run through an autoclave, if you don't see one then your salon is making you think the implements have been sterilized by using the pouches and sealing them without putting them through the autoclave)
  • files and buffers are used once and then thrown away (or offered to you to take home with you)
  • all-metal foot files with disposable grit or a raised surface that can be put in an autoclave (pumice stones cannot be sterilized, and callus blades or "graters" are not safe)
  • pipeless pedicure basins (whirlpool jet tubs can never be properly sterlized, even if they have a plastic liner) or waterless/soakless services using hot towels instead of soaking in water
  • when in doubt ask the salon receptionist or technician if they follow these practices before starting your service