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As Manicure Guilt Sets In, New Yorkers Reconsider Their Nail Salons

Driely S.
Driely S.

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It's been one week since the great nail salon fallout of 2015, and while we're waiting on the state to officially take action against locations that grossly underpay its nail technicians and clean up health hazards, New York City women are left wondering what to do with their nails. As a followup in the New York Times details, it's not as simple as it sounds.

"I grappled with trying to determine my need," Kate McKean, who wanted to get a manicure for a gala event earlier this week, told the paper. She left a 30% tip when trying out a new salon in her Brooklyn neighborhood, the name of which was not specified.

In Manhattan, Coop + Spree owner Brooke Richman vowed to try a salon near her Nolita store that had been vocal about the Times' report on its social media accounts. Even though their $30 manicure is a steep increase from the $9.50 she's paid weekly at her regular salon for years, Richman is now intent on going somewhere where she knows that "everyone is legally paid."

In another party are those who feel like something is being taken away from them by paying that much for an ethical manicure"Now I can't even get my nails done without feeling white guilt. Can't I have ONE THING?!" read one tweet that the paper pulled. "so now it's nail guilt? that's the new shame o' the week. pretty nails don't care?" said another.

And on the other end of the spectrum are those who fear that turning away from salons like those profiled last week will just further hurt the women who work there. "You don't want to regress the industry, you want to support them," said Pippa Lord of Sous Style. She went to her regular Brooklyn Heights salon on Sunday and promptly posted a photo of her mani-pedi online with the hashtag #handlewithcare.

"It's sort of a pledge to signal to the industry that they will pay more for ethical manicures," she explained.