Some Charlotte salons barely making the inspection grade

There are tight regulations in place to keep nail and hair salons clean across North Carolina. However, NBC Charlotte found out some businesses are barely making the grade.

The NC Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners said there are 2,000 salons in Mecklenburg County that must be inspected annually. We pulled the reports for 2017 for all salons with grades below a 90.

The Relax Nail and Spa on Arbor Creek Drive received an 80. Inspectors said when they went into the business, they couldn’t find approved cleaner. In fact, they could only find floor cleaner and degreaser.

Picture from state inspector at Relax Nail and Spa on Arbor Creek Drive

That’s a problem because that indicates the tools and equipment couldn’t be cleaned properly. The salon’s owner agreed to talk to NBC Charlotte.

"The state says they found floor cleaner and degreaser in these photos right here. The score was an 80,” said Mark Boyle.

"Because that day my mom had taken the wrong one from home, and I told her that,” salon owner Tu Anh Thi Dang said.

Salons are graded on a similar 100 point scale to that of a restaurant report grade. A grade of a 90 or below triggers a re-inspection in 30 days. A grade of 70 or below is grounds for the state to revoke or suspend a license.

Picture from state inspector at Relax Nail and Spa on Arbor Creek Drive

Salons are supposed to use approved cleaners like the blue liquid often see called Barbicide. Inspectors said some salons are cutting corners and even using Windex as a disinfectant, and that’s a big no-no.

A whistleblower, who doesn’t want to be identified, claimed some salons are putting your health at risk, all in an effort to save a buck.

“Windex or any of these other brands that they are using those are not going to kill near as many germs or bacteria or diseases that they come in contact with,” she said.

Approved disinfectants help fight off bacteria that can make you sick. Diseases can be transferred from customer to customer from dirty tools including clippers, combs and scissors.

Another salon that got a grade below a 90 was Doolittle’s Children’s Hair Salon in Ballantyne. At the time of the inspection last year, Doolittles got an 80, just barely a B.

According to the reports, state inspectors said the salon got dinged 10 points for not having clean equipment. Doolittles has since been re-inspected and now has an A.

Central Hair Salon in the 4000 block of Central Avenue also made our list with an 83. Points were knocked off for dirty tools and overall furniture clutter.

NC Nails on Ashley Road was docked 10 points for dirty equipment or utensils which could make you sick. Inspectors said MRSA and staph infection can be contracted in a salon from unsanitary clippers or scissors.

Currently, there is no online system that allows you to check salon reports. However, you can call 919-733-4117 and request that information from the North Carolina Board of Cosmetic Art Examiners.

21 NCAC 14H .0503 SANITARY RATINGS AND POSTING OF RATINGS (a) The sanitary rating of a beauty establishment shall be based on a system of grading outlined in this Subchapter. Based on the grading, all establishments shall be rated in the following manner: (1) all establishments receiving a rating of at least 90 percent or more shall be awarded a grade A; (2) all establishments receiving a rating of at least 80 percent, and less than 90 percent, shall be awarded grade B; (3) all establishments receiving a rating of at least 70 percent or more, and less than 80 percent shall be awarded grade C; (4) any cosmetic art shop or school with a sanitation grade of 70 percent or below shall be awarded a failed inspection notice. (b) Every beauty establishment shall be given a sanitary rating. A cosmetic art school shall be graded no less than three times a year, and a cosmetic art shop shall be graded once a year. (c) The sanitary rating or failed inspection notice given to a beauty establishment shall be posted in plain sight near the front entryway at all times. (d) All new establishments must receive a rating of at least 90 percent before a license will be issued. (e) The operation of a cosmetic art shop or school which fails to receive a sanitary rating of at least 70 percent (grade C) shall be sufficient cause for revoking or suspending the license. (f) A re-inspection for the purpose of raising the sanitary rating of a beauty establishment shall not be given within 30 days of the last inspection unless the rating at the last inspection was less than 80 percent. (g) A whirlpool and footspa sanitation record must be kept on each whirlpool and footspa for inspection on a form provided by the Board. (h) All cosmetic art shops and schools with a failed inspection report shall be sufficient cause for the immediate suspension of licensure. All cosmetic art shops and schools with a failed inspection report must close until the sanitation conditions have improved to be awarded a passing grade. (i) Mobile cosmetic art shops and schools are prohibited. (j) A copy of the itemized and graded inspection report must be provided to the operator at the time of the inspection.

History Note: Authority G.S. 88B-2; 88B-4; 88B-14; 88B-26; 88B-27; Eff. April 1, 2012; Pursuant to G.S. 150B-21.3A, rule is necessary without substantive public interest Eff. January 13, 2015.

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Casey Harper