Ethical Nails


The New York Times article, The Price of Nails, exposed the exploitation of workers in the nail cosmetology industry in New York City. Sarah Maslin Nir writes about the unethical treatment and environment employees must endure in order to keep their jobs.

Out of all the major cities in the United States, NYC has the most nail salons per capita.
With manicures “an average price of about $10.50,” and with outerboroughs (not-in-Manhattan) offering weekday mani-pedi deals for less than $20, it makes you question what exactly you’re paying for.

If a salon’s services are offered at very low prices, chances are that they’re skipping costs somewhere. With that somewhere being workers’ wages.

Immigrants are hired. As foreigners, they are unfamiliar with their rights as workers and are more easily exploited. “Most must hand over cash — usually $100 to $200, but sometimes much more — as a training fee. Weeks or months of work in a kind of unpaid apprenticeship follows.” Employees are then paid a starting salary of anywhere as low as $10 a day, to $35.

For the past 10 years, up until this year, I’ve always gotten my nails done at salons. I’ve noticed the large discrepancies in prices for services but always chalked it up to location (of course Manhattan will be more expensive than the suburbs).

An industry meant to make people feel beautiful actually has an ugly face behind it.

As a consumer, I wanted to make sure I was socially conscious to the where’s and what’s of where I was getting my nails done. The New York Times followed up with an article on what to be aware of where you get your salon services done.

Do you get your nails done in salons? Does this deter you from going?

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