Undercover investigation reveals dangerous, dirty salons in NYC

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NEW YORK CITY (PIX11) — There are just 24 inspectors assigned to probe all beauty salons in New York State, but with more than 10,000 shops in the city alone, there are dirty, dangerous and potentially deadly practices going unpunished.

PIX11 sent undercover cameras into these salons to uncover filthy ways that beauticians are cutting corners.

One young woman said she had such a bad infection — causing numbing and tingling in her finger — that a doctor had to cut into the wound and drain it. Another said she had shooting pains up her leg from a toenail fungus she acquired during a pedicure.

Fungal and bacterial infections, hepatitis and HIV can be spread if salons don’t follow safe procedures. In the U.S., some women  have died after being exposed to unsanitary conditions at their salons.

And PIX11’s cameras found, over and over, dirty tools and unsafe, even illegal, practices, happening in the city’s salons.

In New York, all files and wooden cuticle sticks must be new for each customer. But PIX11’s cameras found manicurists grabbing used tools over and over again for different customers.

The same goes for waxing: aestheticians should use a different stick for every wax application, but that often was not the case.

Clippers and any stainless steel tool must be soaked in barbicide — that clear blue liquid that kills bacteria on shared instruments — or other approved disinfectant, but undercover cameras found cups of barbicide with no tools in them at all. Or tools being soaked in a mysterious pink soapy liquid.

Some of the tools being used by salons are completely illegal in New York, like the credo knife, a razor used to shave callouses. They’re banned because they can easily cut customers and spread blood-borne diseases.

Just two of New York City’s 10,000 salons were suspended for dangerous practices in 2013, but the PIX11 undercover investigation proves that more are committing the same filthy offenses.

An expert said with NYC rents, an $8 manicure often comes at a higher price to customers’ health.

The next time you want to treat yourself, remember:

  • Always get a new pair of shoes;
  • Never let your waxer double dip a wax applicator stick;
  • Always make sure your waxer wears gloves;
  • Be sure all tools are soaked in barbicide before they’re used on you;
  • Bring your own buffer or pumice stone, files and pushers or ask for a new one for your service.

Connect with PIX11 Online

Connect with PIX11 Online

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

@PIX11News on Twitter