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  1. Nail and beauty salons are in constant contact with a high volume of people every day. People come to get their nails done, and sometimes we can lose track of how clean we're keeping things for them- especially when the client has been coming for years or if you've just been running behind lately!

    It can be a dangerous mistake to confuse and use ineffective methods of sanitation, disinfection and sterilisation and unfortunately due to lack of education, this can be a common occurence in salons. 

    Each country, state and government will have their own guidelines which are paramount to follow. You must follow the legislation by HABIA in UK for cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation.

    Sanitation (cleaning)

    Cleaning is the physical process which reduces the amount of organic matter. This matter can contribute to bacteria and viruses.  Cleaning is the first step before disinfection or sterilisation of instruments and equipment as debris, visible or unvisible may remain on the surfaces of tools and cause issues with the effectiveness of the disinfection and sterilisation process. 

    Methods of sanitation include:

    • hand washing
    • cleaning surfaces with sprays or wipes
    • washing tools in warm, soapy water
    • all varieties of wipes
    • anti-bacterial sprays
    • santiser sprays and gels.

    The customer and technician must wash their hands with a liquid soap before starting every service. Additional infection control measures can be used, such as an automated dispenser for soap, hand sanitisers or alcohol-based wipes to make sure you and the customer stay safe.

    Hand sanitiser is a good backup for when soap and water are not available. It's important to remember that just because you use it, hand-sanitising gel should never serve as an alternative in place of proper hygiene practices like washing your hands with soap and water.

    UK Government legislation state that wipes are only sufficient sanitation if they contain 60% ethyl alcohol. These do not however disinfect or sterilise, and used towels should be washed at a minimum of 60C for best results.


    Disinfection is a sufficient level of microorganism control when skin is not cut or broken.  Disinfection is the process or act of destroying pathogenic microorganisms and removes most viruses, spores and fungi present on surfaces. Disinfectants work by destroying the cell wall of microorganisms or interfering with the absorption.  Disinfection does not necessarily kill all microorganisms, especially resistant bacterial spores; it is less effective than sterilisation.

    Disinfectants must always be used in line with manufacturers’ instructions. 

    Methods of disinfection include hospital grade and approved disinfection solutions such as Barbicide or Mundo. 

    In nail and beauty services, all disinfectable surfaces such as metal tools and implements and work surfaces must be disinfected following sanitation procedures.



    Sterilisation is a process that eliminates or kills all forms of life, including transmissible agents such as viruses, bacteria, fungi and spore forms. Sterilisation should be performed on metal tools, e.g. scissors, cuticle pushers and cuticle nippers.  

    Sterilisation can be achieved by applying chemicals, high pressure, heat, irradiation, and filtration or a combination, which include hospital approved Autoclaves, UV sterilisers and sterilising solutions. These must be bought from reputable manufacturers and not third party retailers as there is no way of being sure of its effectiveness. 

    For those who are not already doing so, purchasing single-use items such as nail files can help reduce the risk of cross contamination.  You are making a difference in the lives of your clients by taking steps that will protect their health.  An unfortunate side effect to all this is increased rates, but you will be able put together some wonderful incentives for them.

    It is important that we maintain high touch surfaces such as toilets, computer keyboards and chairs. These items have a direct connection with our health by making sure they are clean of germs which can lead to illness or infection!

    It is recommended that you identify and record what requires cleaning, disinfection and sterilisation to keep your team safe. Ensure all members of the correct competencies can be successful with their jobs by providing instruction on how it should be done properly!

    You can check out our recommended sanitation, disinfection and sterilisation procedures for Katie Barnes Tool Range here.







  2. SIMPLY SALON NAILS: How to store nail products correctly

    By Katie Barnes | 24 October 2017 | Blog, Business, Expert Advice, Feature


    Salon owner, educator, former Scratch columnist and award-winning nail stylist, Katie Barnes, offers advice on storing your nail products to get the most out of your purchase…

    It’s important to understand how long nail products last last, how to store them for optimum usage and safety and how to dispose of them when necessary.

    Nail products can go bad, just like food can and when products go bad, service breakdown occurs. With correct storage and practicing product safety, you can significantly extend the shelf life of your nail products ensuring long lasting nail services.

    It is important for techs, not just salon owners to know a product’s shelf life for effective purchasing and usage. Sometimes you need to throw away products that are contaminated or spoiled, so you also need to know the correct disposal methods.

    You cannot use an expiry date as gospel because you have no way of knowing how long a product has sat on a distributor’s shelf, so something that you think may last year may go bad in a couple of months. On the other hand, some products can be used safety long after the expiry date. The best test is always the ‘use test’.

    Correct storage

    In addition to the storage recommendations outlined for individual products in the following guide, store all nail products in their original containers, upright to prevent leakage and ensure that all lids are always securely closed and products stored in a cool, dry place when not in use, away from moisture and sources of direct sunlight, heat and flame.

    Product disposal

    When disposing of products, always follow manufacturer’s instructions as well as MSDS sheets and COSHH guidance. If you do not follow these, you are creating a safety and environmental hazard as well as compromising your insurance policy. Many techs have learnt this the hard way due to the reactive and flammable chemicals in nail products. On top of causing damage to your pipes, anything that you pour down the drain eventually ends up in the ocean, threatening sea-life while old polish bottles tend to end up in landfill sites, where the chemicals from polish still in liquid form can filter into the soil. 

    Gel (including gel polishes)

    Shelf life: 1-3 years

    Gels should be stored away from sunlight, especially those with a window that displays the colour because any light that comes into contact with the gel, will start to cure it.

    You should only remove excess gel from your brush on the inside of the bottle neck rather than the against the side to avoid this pooling around the outer bottle neck or tub and subsequently curing.


    Shelf life: 1-3 years

    Polymer lids should to be tightly closed so moisture in the air does not interact with the powder.

    Monomers can thicken and become gel like, begin to set too slowly or even completely harden when it is has gone bad whereas polymers tend to discolour and change in texture.

    Nail Polish

    Shelf life: 12-18 months

    The pigments in polish can fade when exposed to sunlight and bottles can explode in temperatures above 48°C. If nail polish has been sitting around a while or stored incorrectly, it will begin to thicken and become hard to use due to its contact with the air.

    If the polish has appeared to ‘split’ it possibly just needs to be rolled between your palms – try to avoid shaking as this can create air bubbles.

    Adding products such as polish thinners or polish remover changes the product chemistry which can have its own problems.


    Shelf life: 1-2 years

    Primer is light sensitive so can discolour, become contaminated and lose effectiveness if not stored correctly.

    It can also become contaminated when applied over an incorrectly prepped nail as the brush will pick up dust and oils, spoiling the primer – you will see this floating in the bottle.

    Creams, lotions and cuticle oils

    Shelf life: Un-opened 1-2 years, opened 1 year

    Oils in these products can clog your drains if poured down the sink. If the smell has changed, they have an unpleasant odour, or the water content has increased, it is time to throw them out.


    Shelf life: 2-3 years once opened but can remain effective for 10 years when stored correctly and unopened.

    Disinfectants such as Barbicide should be changed daily, when contaminated or diluted incorrectly.

    This is overdue when the liquid starts to congeal, change colour and evaporate. Depending on the water you use, this can look cloudy and is perfectly normal.

    Love Katie B x