Marcia Hultman

Cabinet Secretary

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South Dakota Cosmetology Commission

Consumer Information

Safe and Sanitary Conditions



The Cosmetology Commission is dedicated to keeping you safe and healthy. Please look over the following tips to be sure your experience as a consumer is safe.

Safe and Sanitary Conditions

Pay attention. Did your cosmetologist, esthetician, or nail technician sanitize the equipment before it was used on you? Disinfecting products must be present at all times to clean scissors, combs, razors, clippers, etc. It only takes a few minutes of the professional's time and may prevent you from having health problems.

All products and tools used on a client should be clean and sanitary. Single-use items such as cotton balls, paper towels, etc., should only be used once and then thrown away immediately. Multi-use items such as shears and metal files need to be cleaned and disinfected before use.

If a blood spill occurs during any cosmetology, esthetics, or nail services it must be treated immediately. All service must stop immediately and the injured area must be cleaned with an antiseptic solution and covered with a sterile bandage. This applies whether the injured person is you or the licensed professional you are working with. The licensee should wear disposable latex gloves when treating any blood spill. All contaminated tissue, cotton or other materials must be double bagged and disposed of immediately. Before any service can continue, the licensee must disinfect all equipment or tools that came into contact with the blood.

Perms can lead to permanent skin scarring if proper safety measures are not used. Make sure the cosmetologist has properly applied the cream and cotton around your face and neck so the permanent solution does not burn your skin.
You should know that, if a clean cape is not used on each client, then a clean towel, neck strip or other similar item must be used between your skin and the cape.

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Check whether your cosmetologist, esthetician or nail technician is licensed in South Dakota. Cosmetology law requires all licensees to post their license at their work station. If you can't see a license, ask about it. By law, the license must be easily seen by the public.

Do not have your hair done by a "kitchen" cosmetologist. A "kitchen" cosmetologist is someone who is not licensed and inspected by the Cosmetology Commission. This person is most likely not following any sanitation or safety procedures. You are risking your health and well-being by having any services done by an unlicensed person. Ask to see the person's license and their salon license. Persons can have salons in their homes, but they must be licensed and inspected.

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Beware of the illegal use of Methyl Methacrylate Monomers (MMA) to create nail extensions. Liquid MMA is considered by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "to be a poisonous and deleterious substance" and is considered too dangerous for use in the nail industry. Consumer complaints range from skin allergies and respiratory problems to permanent loss of the nail plate and permanent loss of sensation in the finger tips. How can you tell it is being used? There are three simple things to watch for:

  • an unusually powerful, sweet odor which doesn't smell like other acrylic liquids
  • acrylic nails that are extremely hard and very difficult to file even with electric drills
  • acrylic nails that will not soak off in solvents designed to remove acrylics

Ask to see the manufacturer's label on all products before they are used on you.

Before you get your nails done, make sure the nail technician has completely sanitized the nail table and equipment. Nail infections can easily be spread if proper sanitation is not used. Ask the nail technician to sanitize the table and equipment before manicuring your nails. In addition, ask that the nail technician sanitize your hands (or you wash your hands) and her hands with an antibacterial gel. It only takes a few minutes of your time and may prevent a long visit to the doctor's office.

If you are having your nails done, do not drink coffee or liquids by the nail table. Dust and vapors collect in food and liquid and can have bad effects on your body when you drink them.

Some nail technicians use electric drills/files when doing artificial nails or manicures. Before you allow anyone to use an electric drill/file on your nails, ask some questions. Find out if they have attended any training in the use of electric drills/files. In addition, ask how much experience they have or how often they have used the electric drill/file. Make sure they are experienced. An electric drill/file can quickly damage or destroy a nail if not used correctly by an experienced professional. Make sure all attachments are clean and sanitary before being used on your nails.

For more information on nail services, see the Consumer Guide to Nail and Pedicure Services. (in Adobe PDF format)