In what has become a community outreach extravaganza, several hundreds of women were seen all over New York on Thursday handing out notices raising awareness about the treatment of women in nail salons. The campaign, organized by the Mayor DeBlasio's office, aims to find the women involved as a first step to correcting the abusive and harmful conditions in these places. This is all in response to an expose published in the NYTimes earlier this month that has got everyone talking. Even Governor Cuomo's office, which has issued an emergency order to "combat the wage theft and health hazards faced by the thousands of people who work in New York State's nail salon industry."
The Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (@rubendiazjr) posted this tweet on the #DayofAction for nail salons, outlining the new policy and consumer advisory. The problem is this issue won't be solved in a day, it needs more than just one #DayofAction.
So you are probably thinking, what am I to do?! (Or maybe just, what am I to do about my manicure?!) Here are a few things you can do to make more conscious decisions when it comes to getting your nails done.
1. Choose Nail Polishes that are Toxin-Free (or Bring Your Own)
Like bringing a reusable bag to the grocery store, think of bringing your own nail polish as a way to reduce impact. Plus you'll have the color in your bag incase of any unpleasant chipping. Try brands like Priti, LVX or Acquarella.
2. Report What You See.
As part of the rule changes made this week, nail salons across New York will be required to post information about health, safety, and how to report rule breaking. Anna Brower (@ab2788), Director of Communications for NYC public advocate Leticia James, tweeted the image of the soon to be distributed signs.
3. Avoid Artificial Nails
Choose a salon that doesn't do artificial nails, meaning they don't have the toxins floating in the air from acrylics or gels. If it smells bad, it probably is. We know this is going to be hard for some, but think about how the toxins they are using are also seeping into your hands. :O
4. Start with Minimum Wage (and Tip Better)
Our friends at Refinery29 and EcoCult put together lists of salons that they know pay at least minimum wage to their employees. Also, tipping better is huge. Tip in cash and know that the money has more value to them than it probably does to you.
5. To Boycott or Not to Boycott
This is a big question. Where do we go next? Reducing business will obviously hurt the salons, but will probably hurt the workers who are already in a bad situation more than it will hurt the owners. We suggest taking action to push for reform. Also, ask questions about the conditions and demand to see whatever is behind the curtain. Trust us, if they are unwilling to show you the real conditions, they are probably hiding something.
6. Share, Share, Share
This movement has gained wild traction in the past few weeks because people are talking about it. Continue to do so!