Live Mag

When beauty really goes skin deep

by: Morwesi Ndlovu - 2 April 2015


A 22-year-old woman in the United Kingdom was infected with HIV after a seemingly hygienic manicure using standard tools and liquids. This is a rare case and definitely shocking. By not following up on how hygienic the tools we use in salons can put our lives in danger. Do you bother asking yourself just how clean their tools are?

We basically think of salons as the last place we could contract any type of vicious disease or virus. However, it is the first area where we need to ask crucial questions to be aware of unnecessary complications to our well-being. As a student, I would never really have a manicure mainly because I’ve been too concerned about the price and hygiene.

Unfortunately, the most common tools that we know include clippers, foot spa, cuticle removers were indeed tools that had the lowest awareness of hygiene among the people we asked on the streets of Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

So you could enter a salon with high hopes of walking out of there looking hot, yet also carrying an infection or disease that could harm you unknowingly.

We went to the streets to find out what salon owners and their customers know and how they can educate us on hygiene and their tools.


“We clean our floors and sterilize our tools every day before we open” said Mr Wale, owner of FM Hair & Nail Studio. Even though that’s the case, let’s face it a little more assurance is needed. With hairpiece packets lining the walls; a potentially hazardous situation caught my attention since Wale’s male employees were eating in the same area. While taking all the experience in. We swiftly move on to speak to one of Wales’s employees (Nancy) to get more insight as to how they work on a daily basis. She was almost done with providing a manicure service to her customer. As shy as she was, she was able to let us know about her procedures.

“We do not change our tools because we have so many of them” she says. “However, no customer of mine has returned to complain about any type of infection”, Nancy adds.

Could it be that those very same customers find it too much of an effort to go back to the salon to complain or was she putting on a front, just to please her customer?

Well, jaws dropped when students that either have or have not had the services got the 411 on diseases/viruses they could potentially contract. Not knowing that having a scar, scab or even a tiny harmless bug bite before you have a manicure/pedicure can put you in risk of an infection or even a disease. Once bugs that live in foot spas, manicure; pedicure and even tattoo tools are in contact with your skin. You are instantly in danger. However, one lady on the street was pretty much okay with whatever bugs there could be out there. “Look, if I had to live life like that, I wouldn’t enjoy life. Bugs and diseases are every flippen’ where, that’s why I have my hand sanitizer, and go to salons that are clean.” she chuckled.

Woman need to be aware of the  importance of hygiene in the salons they go to. It would go a long way for them to put more effort as well as to be inquisitive about the tools they come in contact with. So word of advice, educate yourself and encourage others to beware of such issues in these environments.


Words @Morwesi_Ndlovu

Photographs Pretti Piktures