LACQUER is a proud advocate of ethical beauty
What is Ethical Beauty?
The safety of our guests and the well-being of our staff are important to us and we are proud to be an ethical beauty provider. But what does that mean? To us, ethical beauty is:
- paying our employees a fair, living wage - legally
- using the best products in our services and 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
When you choose to come see us for your nail care needs, you are choosing to support an ethical beauty business, filled with a highly trained, well-paid professional staff in a beautiful environment with the highest quality products.
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. We are the only Certified Safe Salon in Austin.
We are proud to be part of the movement redefining the industry and providing a better, safer environment for our customers and our employees.
Please read on for more details about what goes on in our industry and what to look for.
The Price of Ethical Beauty
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.
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 HERE
Illegal Employment Practices
Being an ethical employer is more than just paying our staff a living wage - it's also about paying them a legal, fair wage.
Many nail salons pay their employees cash under the table, often at rates below minimum wage (and sometimes nothing at all - see the New York Times article below) 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.
In addition to mis-treating and underpaying their staff, these businesses are essentially practicing tax evasion by avoiding paying thousands of dollars in employer taxes every month. This ultimately hurts the employee because they miss out on things like social security and unemployment benefits, as well as the ability to verify their wages in order to get a car loan or approval for a home loan or lease.
We know about these practices because we have employees that have worked at salons that engage in these practices. And we are proud to say we've recently been audited by the US Department of Labor and our case was closed with no action, meaning we are doing everything as we should be according to US labor laws.
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