Coronavirus has made many of us change the way we live. In just three days, we went from being allowed to shake hands and hug to keeping a distance of six feet from each other. Equinox now has new rules asking guests to stay at least one machine away from each other, and Seamless has a newly launched “contactless delivery” option. Honestly, I’m surprised it took Coronavirus to get them to add it–I’ve been writing that in the special instructions for years).

So here’s a question: Is the nail salon safe?

In short, yes.

Water tubs have chemicals added for sanitation, tools get sterilized with commercial equipment between customers, nail techs wear face masks, and nail polish is a terrible chemical composition for viruses. 

The only changes to your routine should be to wipe down the polish bottle with Lysol wipes and to put your phone away as much as possible.

Fortunately, the long answer is also yes.

I’ll elaborate specifically on why, through “showing my work” during the research that I did to feel safe enough to get a manicure at Top A Nails in the East Village this morning.

Nail salons in nearly every single jurisdiction in the US require a certificate to operate their business. To get that certificate, they have to prove they meet a list of requirements. Nail technicians are trained and certified, FDA-approved sterilizers are on-premises, and a bevy of cleaning supplies ensures the nail salon is sanitary. Nail salons have such rigid sanitation practices that OSHA has a published PDF that’s nearly 17 pages long.

Now, imagine your last manicure or pedicure. You walk into the nail salon, tell the front desk you booked with HellaBella, and you’re seated at the station. A nail tech then walks up to get going, and right there, covering her face, is a mask.

Other than at the dentist’s office, the only other place that I regularly see face masks is the nail salon. Face masks are not a requirement of the nail salon industry. They’re a personal choice for nail techs to wear. 

During a pedicure, a nail tech will line the water basin with plastic. Then, they drop a blue tablet or a scoop of blue powder into the water before you gently submerging your tootsies. That’s called a sani-tablet. You can buy these on Amazon.

At this point, your nail tech will ask you to remove one foot so they can trim your nails. The tools that nail techs use are sterilized, either in a machine at the nail salon or through a third party. The first genuinely communal portion of your service is when it’s time for polish. Unless you bring your polish (we prefer this, but it’s optional), you’ll be using the same bottle as someone else.

Due to the length of time that the Coronavirus can live on glass, we recommend wiping the bottle down with a Lysol wipe. Most salons sanitize and wipe down the bottles every day, but it’s best you do it again, just in case.

For your manicure, everything is the same, except you’re now in closer contact with the nail tech. I recommend–and I know this can be hard–keeping your phone in your purse or pocket during the manicure. Not because of the nail techs, but because of the other customers. Most nail salons now will keep customers one station away from each other, but use some common sense and keep your electronic away to stay safe.

If you use HellaBella to book and pay for appointments, you can skip tot he part where you schedule an appointment with the app. For everyone still doing the credit card/cash thing, remember that a lot of hands touch your cards and cash. We’re erring on the side of caution, but try to avoid cash, and be sure to wipe down your credit cards with Lysol wipes frequently.

Feel free to send any questions about the nail salon to our team at so that we can get your answers ASAP. Also, don’t forget that most nail techs make a living on tips. Be generous, please.