Tag Archives: hygiene

Waxing- recycling that’s not recommended

Waxing- recycling that’s not recommended

Imagine this- a huge metal strainer inside a huge urn like pot with a tap.
Fill it up with used hairy wax, dead skin and blood spots and let the urn heat it to a high temperature and then turn on the tap, strain the wax through gauze and an inbuilt strainer to siphon out the hair, throw out the gauze filled with hair and refill the salon wax pots.


Yes, this really does happen, well I’m not sure if it still happens, but in the 80’s before the Aids / HIV scare, it’s what all salons did.

I worked in an exclusive high end city salon, we charged a huge amount for our waxing and during each wax treatment, the hairy hot wax from our clients legs, arms, backs and chests was thrown into a bucket under the bed. At that time, being only a junior therapist, it was my job to recycle the wax.
(And you thought being a beauty therapist was glamorous!) NOT!


We had a great boss, so she let us throw bikini, underarm and face wax away into the real rubbish bin, but the bucket of body wax was always recycled.


The wax was fantastic high quality beeswax, really gentle but far too expensive and unprofitable to throw away after each client.


We were told that the boiling heat of the urn would kill any harmful germs of infected skin or hair follicles and that the wax was safe and clean to reuse.

The only other option for us and our clients was warm waxing (strip wax) made from glucose,fructose,citric acid,modified colophonium,aqua,Solomon tuberosum,fragrance and maltose.

This was always thought to be a little more painful,but a much faster, cleaner method of waxing.
We used a metal spatula that was double dipped and only cleaned with methylated spirits between clients.

For Underarms and bikini areas we used a disposable wooden spatula (tongue depresser), but it had still been dipped in the same wax pot as the metal spatula.

Oh boy, when I think back to those days, I just cringe. We never even wore gloves. In fact we were never even trained to wax with gloves. Gloves are now worn to protect both the operator and the client.

Fast forward 2013, this method of waxing is unacceptable, unhygienic and against health regulations in most cities.

Brazilian waxing is also more popular now, so even stricter standards of hygiene must be followed. Don’t be afraid to ask your operator for a pair of gloves too if they require your assistance during this service.

Heating the wax to these high temperatures and straining the hair through gauze and strainers may not kill blood borne diseases.

Spots of blood are very common during and after waxing, so it is very likely that if the wax is recycled there will be traces of blood in the wax, as well as on the spatula or tweezers used.

This goes for sugaring (an ancient yet very popular way of removing hair using a sugar, water and lemon juice paste or gel) as well. Double dipping of any kind is not acceptable.

Wax rollers are generally cleaner. It is quicker to apply the wax this way without using a spatula but the roller head needs to be replaced with a new disposable one for each client. Make sure there isn’t any hair stuck in the head before they start!
A sure sign that things are not hygienic.

Before any wax is performed important questions should be asked by the operator.
A professional salon will always check first for any infectious diseases, to minimize the risk of cross infection in the salon.

You may also get asked if you have varicose veins, moles, sunspots, pimples, warts, rashes, sunburn, irritated skin or infected ingrown hairs as these areas should be avoided when waxing.

You may also be questioned as to whether or not you are on any medication eg.
roaccutane, renova or differin also known as adapalene (Vitamin A- which causes skin thinning, so waxing should be avoided).

The bed should also be covered with disposable paper and the bed should be wiped over with a disinfectant after each client.


If the wax pots, benches, tweezers and spatulas look sticky or dirty before you get started, this is not a good sign.

Remember, your health is not worth putting at risk.


Make up: to share or not to share

Make up: to share or not to share


I occasionally have the opportunity to do a little bit of TV and film acting
The gigs are few and far between, but when I am lucky enough to get a call, it’s not the scripts or lines I need to know off by heart that scares me, but whether or not the hair and makeup artists are going to use clean makeup tools on me. Yes, that’s right! The whole idea of a huge cast sharing brushes and sponges completely freaks me out! All those bugs  festering in those little pots of makeup and brushes.

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Last week I worked on a TV commercial and I loved every minute of it. Not only was the filming fun but the makeup artists were incredibly professional. As per normal, the cast get to have their hair and makeup done in a makeup and wardrobe bus. Chairs, mirrors, running water, clean towels and loads of brushes, pots of makeup, powders, lip pencils and colours and foundations all in abundance.

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What I loved about my experience last week was the fact that each cast member had their own little makeup case. To start with all the brushes were extremely clean. Cleaning brushes is so easy, all that is needed is that they are to be washed in soapy hot water, rinsed well, air dried and wiped over with isopropyl alcohol (99.8%). cleaning-brushesL1_A2                            images-5

The brushes used on me were placed in my case, with my lip colour and all my palettes.

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Nothing was double dipped, spatulas and cotton buds were used to remove colour from the pots, then disposed of immediately. Colours of eyeshadow, blush and bronzing palettes  can be easily and hygienically cleaned with a light spray of isopropyl alcohol which dries immediately and doesn’t harm the products.Foundation was placed on a palette and only my brush was used for my application.


This is how it should be everywhere you go when having your makeup applied, whether it be a department store counter, a makeup bar, a salon or even if you have a professional makeup artist visit you. There are no exceptions!  Spatulas/disposable applicators should be made available for you to test and try at your leisure, rather than fingers straight into products.

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It is not advisable to ever share makeup, especially eye make up (particularly mascara, eyeliner or eye-shadow) as there is the risk of spreading conjunctivitis.images-8Unknown-1

Sharing lipsticks or lip glosses also risks spreading cold sores, caused by a virus called Herpes Simplex.


So next time your friend wants to borrow your makeup, or you are offered a free make over, please check very carefully that nothing is double dipped.

What you don’t know about salon hygiene

What you don’t know about salon hygiene

I feel so compelled to start this blog, as yesterday I experienced something so shocking whilst having a pedicure. Having been in the skin and beauty industry for over 25 years, worked, managed and owned salons, I feel more than qualified to start this blog and share my knowledge.

So, this all started when a good friend of mine suggested I join her and her friend for a spa
pedicure. What a great idea? Being in the industry, I certainly don’t treat myself enough.
My friend insisted that this place was really clean and that they were fast — and cheap!
So I gave them a call to see if they could accommodate me as well. How bad could it be?


Located in the best street in an exclusive Melbourne suburb, surrounded by designer wedding boutiques & antique emporiums and the best coffee shops!

When I called, the staff rambled the salon name and told me yes they could fit me in.
All they asked for was my first name. No phone number or deposit needed.

Very excitedly, I arrive at my allotted time. The salon is packed, absolutely packed.
Rows of pedicure spa chairs. Rows of manicure tables. Rows of polish bottles. Rows of unknowing, innocent clients.

I say hi, introduce myself. I am asked upfront for the $30 for my pedicure. I am then told to choose my polish colour. Fabulous collection of colours. Not asked for any further information or to fill out any health, history forms.

As I tell the staff that I am waiting for my friends, I am told to go to one of the many vinyl massage chairs. So I guess that meant I should make myself comfy and sit down.

The lovely lady in the chair next to me with her feet bubbling suggests I immerse my feet in the foot spa.

I gingerly place my feet into the warm bubbly not so clean looking water.

Uh-oh! I notice that the pedi spa is oily looking; not clean! Not a great feeling when you can see floaters of dead skin in the water and you know it’s not yours!

The salon owner comes along and throws a blue powder into the water and walks off. Oh, so that must be spa salts or maybe, hopefully disinfectant.

I start to relax and my two friends arrive. The massage chair has started doing its work.
The pedicure girls are doing their thing, running around with face masks and rubber gloves. Yes, it does look very hygienic!

I hear in the distance one of the clients ask her operator not to cut her toenails too short, she was worried about ingrown toenails.

My feet are still bubbling away, it’s now been 20 minutes and the lovely lady next to me is finally being attended to. Her feet are gently taken out of the bubbling water and placed on a nice clean towel.
Oh God, Horror – she has a fungal nail infection, obvious for all the salon to see! At this point, I cannot breathe.


The salon operator, with her rubber gloves and face mask, is protecting herself. But only herself!
She picks up a grubby looking nail file from the plastic container of communal nail files and starts filing this lovely lady’s fungus infested toe nails. I stare in absolute disbelief!
Now, I really cannot breathe, I want to vomit! Will she throw out that nail file after filing those infected toenails? No not a chance, the file goes straight back into the communal plastic container with all the other nail files.

Then the cuticle and nail clippers start working. At this point I cannot take it any more.
Where will they go after she’s finished clipping off the lovely lady’s dead skin and hang nails?
Straight back in the container and given a quick wipe for me, or the next unknowing client. I did not see an autoclave or even a jar of hospital grade disinfectant for soaking instruments.

All my years of experience and expertise told me to ‘run’ and I did!
I politely excused myself from not wanting to pick up tinea, a plantar wart or a fungal nail infection. My friends thought I was crazy. They didn’t quite understand the seriousness of my exit.
And why would they? How could they possibly understand?
All those trusting clients, all at risk of picking up an infection.

Fungus breeds in warm water. The little ‘spray and wipe’ of the pedi spa basin will not kill fungi, viruses or bacteria.

Feet should be checked or examined first by the operator for any fungal diseases or infected toenails or plantar warts, verrucas, whatever you want to call them. It is contraindicated, against health regulations, to treat ANYONE with a contagious foot disease. Disposable files and emery boards for all nails and foot files and pumices for the removal of dead skin should be opened new for each client, or BYO.

And what if the client is diabetic? He or she should never have their toenails cut.

Feet should be placed on disposable paper towels, unless towels are boiled, bleached and disinfected between clients, to properly clean them.

Always take your own bottle of polish, the thought of painting those fungal infested toenails and then the little polish brush put straight back into the bottle for the next trusting client.

The most surprising thing about this salon was that there were certificates on the wall claiming that this salon passed all the councils hygiene codes of practice.

First impression for anyone walking into a salon like that is that all the staff were wearing gloves and masks: you would have to think it was clean and hygienic. Well, it’s not. I really implore you to take note when you next have a manicure or pedicure.

Do not be afraid to ask them how they sterilise or disinfect their tools if you are concerned about the hygiene.

Infection in the salon is very real and very contagious, and it’s disgusting that these types of salons can operate without the general public realizing what a health risk they are.

Paula Abdul and Victoria Azarenka were onto something. They learnt the hard way.