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  • About Healthy Nail Salons


    The Collaborative implemented a Healthy Nail Salon Campaign in 2009. The campaign was successful in establishing a partnership with Board Supervisor David Chiu and the San Francisco Department of Environment. This campaign began as a way to protect the salon workforce from exposure to toxic chemicals found in nail products. As a result, the first Healthy Nail Salon Recognition Program was established. with the support of the local nail salon community, the Collaborative has worked in partnership with other cities and counties to establish local Healthy Nail Salon Programs throughout California, which is now in five counties and cities. This program rewards salons that prioritize the health of its workers and consumers. Salons will receive recognition by the county/city if they follow the Healthy  Nail Salon program guidelines which include the use of safer products and implementation of best workplace practices. The Healthy Nail Salon program criteria has  nine requirements that focus on protecting the health of the workforce and creating a safer environment for clients.  Salons that are interested in joining the Healthy Nail Salon Program must complete the following three easy steps:

    1) Fill out and send in the Registration Form

    2) Attend a free training to learn about the program requirements and benefits

    3) Complete the Healthy Nail Salon Program requirements and schedule a site visit

    The program is location in the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Clara County, and Southern California. Each region follows the same requirements. If you have a salon in one of these regions and you’re interested in joining, contact the staff in your region: Alameda County, San Francisco, San Mateo County, and the City of Santa Monica.

    Benefits of joining the program include:

    • Attract and retain health and environmentally conscious clients

    • Free advertising and press

    • Enhance the health and well-being of your staff and clients

    • Community recognition

    • Reduce indoor chemical odors

    Consumers have also expressed support for programs that recognize salons for using safer and healthier practices. Surveys of over 1000 people throughout CA found that consumers wanted a safer work environment for nail salon technicians. 94% were more likely to go to a salon that was formally recognized for using safer products and practices, and 94% were willing to recommend a safer salon to friends and family members.


    What are the Healthy Nail Salon program requirements?

    1. Use nail polishes without the toxic-trio: dibutyl phthalate (DBP), toluene, and formaldehyde
    2. Safer nail polish removers without ethyl or butyl acetate, such as acetone.
    3. Avoid using nail polish thinners. Use those without toluene and methyl ethyl ketone.
    4. All nail salon staff should wear nitrile gloves when using nail products.
    5. Ventilate the salon. Designate a specific area for artificial nail services.
    6. Install a mechanical ventilation unit within 1 year of entering the program.
    7. Train all salon nail staff (payroll & on contract).
    8. Commit to adopting safer nail products.
    9. Do not allow customers to bring in products unless they meet program criteria.


    Program staff are available to provide free support and education to salons to make the transition to adopt all of the requirements. In fact, we have found that many salons already have adopted these healthy practices!   Watch the video below to learn more about the “Toxic Trio” and learn about salon workers’ experiences.


    To learn more about the Healthy Nail Salon Program or if you are interested in bringing the program to your region, contact Catherine Porter (Northern CA) or Lisa Fu (Southern CA).