New York State Beauty Salons and Spas

A Guide for Consumers to identify safe practices when interacting with New York State beauty salons and spas.

Although many consumers do not think that health and safety issues are serious considerations when getting a facial, body wrap, waxing or having their nails done, most beauty treatments involve actions that can be dangerous, if not performed by properly trained and licensed personnel.Bacterial infections, transmission of diseases, adverse reactions to substances and other physical injuries can all be the result of improperly performed treatments.

Selecting a Salon or Spa

All beauty treatment specialists as well as all spas and salons must be licensed to legally operate within New York State. The consumer should thus look for:
• A business license shall be displayed at the entrance or another conspicuous location in the spa or the salon where the licensed activities are performed
• A license with a photograph, for each operator within a spa or salon

In New York State, there are five different designations for beauty specialists:
• Cosmetologist
• Esthetician
• Nail Specialist
• Natural Hair Styling Specialist
• Waxing Specialist

What if I cannot locate a license?

If you do not see either a current business license or a current NYS issued cosmetology, nail, esthetic, waxing or natural hair styling license on display, ask the service provider to show it to you.

What should I do if they cannot show me a license?

If a license is not available for your viewing, you may want to verify the provider’s licensure by contacting the NYS Department of State, Division of Licensing at (212) 417-5747 or access the Licensing Services’ online database at www.dos.ny.gov.

What other information should be posted at the spa/salon?

In addition to licenses, an itemized list of all services performed and prices charged for those services should be displayed near the entrance or reception area.

Can any operator perform any service I need?

A provider should be licensed in the services that they are performing. All personal services offered in New York State require that the individual offering these services have the proper training and be licensed to offer that particular service to the consumer. The General Business Law in New York State covers services that include:
• Hair and Chemical Services
• Nail Services
• Waxing and Hair Removal Services
• Face and Body Treatments
It is important to note that not all practitioners are licensed to perform all services. NYS licensed cosmetologists can legally perform hair services, nail services, skin services and waxing. Estheticians can perform all services except hair and nail services. Nail, Waxing and Natural Hair Styling specialists can only perform those specific services for which they are licensed. Nail Specialists cannot perform waxing services in New York State.

Safety Guidelines:

It is important to note a number of safety guidelines that all practitioners should be following:
• The facility where any service is being offered should be clean, in good repair and free from dangerous conditions or hazards.
• Sufficient space with good lighting should be provided to ensure the safety and health of the consumer.
• Hot and cold running water, toilet facilities, and covered containers for paper and waste should be provided.
• State regulations require that a provider follow infection control procedures that protect the provider and the client. Hand washing is required of all nail care clients and providers prior to a nail service being performed.
• Tables and beds used for personal services should be sanitized/cleaned between each client.
• All implements that may abrade or clip superficial skin should be immersed in an EPAapproved disinfectant for at least 10 minutes and disinfected after each use.
• Porous manicuring and waxing implements such as emery boards, block buffers and waxing sticks and other implements that cannot be disinfected should not be used for more than one person.
• Gloves should be worn by operators performing waxing or extractions.
• Disposable supplies such as cotton, sponge applicators and paper products should never be used for more than one person.
• Disposable towels and paper table coverings should only be used as a single-use item.
• Other tools used to provide services should be cleaned, then disinfected after each client, using an EPA-approved disinfectant. These tools include but are not limited to scissors, razors, clippers, combs, brushes, capes and bowls.

The consumer should be able to observe the provider performing these duties between client services. Your technician may meet these requirements by providing a kit for each client and/or disposing of single-use items after each client.

Are there implements that are prohibited or limited from use?

Yes. Some items can be used only once per client and other items can not be used at all in performing services.
• The use of chamois buffers, pumice stones, credo blades and styptic pencils and bar soap is prohibited.
• The use of non-disposable powder puffs, sponges or neck dusters, which cannot be immersed in an EPA-approved hospital grade disinfectant is prohibited.
• Other items that can be used for only one application and disposed of include emery boards; nail white pencils (unless sharpened after each use), shaving mugs without the use of sanitary paper or plastic liners and razors for more than one application.
• Finger bowls, pedicure bowls and footbaths must be cleaned, rinsed and disinfected after each use.
• All sharp or pointed items should be stored when not in use.
• All fluids, creams and powders must be dispensed with shakers, dispenser pumps, spatulas or sprays to prevent contamination.

Client safety: Negative reactions

In the event that you have a negative reaction to a chemical service performed, tell the technician. If the sensation is extreme, or if you think you may be having an allergic reaction, ask the technician for a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and seek medical attention.

Complaints

Anyone who believes he or she is a victim of an untrustworthy or incompetent licensee of the Department of State, or who is aware of unlicensed conduct, should contact the Department of State at (212) 417-5747 or access the Department’s website at www.dos.ny.gov and complete a licensee complaint form.