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Why Nail Salons Are Essential

We’ve all seen them! The posts on social media from people on our friends list who are condemning, deriding, and even belittling anyone objecting to the economic shutdown of America. We’re accused of putting profits before people, being willing to sacrifice the elderly for a buck, or inventing conspiracy theories. Even worse are comments like this one, which is what prompted my writing this article:

Kerry Baldwin, oh I'm not afraid. I'm delighting in the lockdown. I'll be kind sad when it ends. Society has been more quiet and peaceful. Kind shows a lot of the economy to not be as necessary in a way. I just wish a virus wasn't the cause and that America wasn't such a workaholic nation.

Nail salons aren’t simply a place where women go to get pampered with a splash of color on the tips of their fingers. It’s often seen by many more practical-type people as being a luxury. Surely, women don’t need to have their nails done when there’s a giant scary virus roaming the streets, right?

Okay, but here’s the thing … even if you believe that only rich, white, privileged women are getting their nails done (which is not true), they are paying another woman (or sometimes a man) for a service. It‘s nothing to the woman getting her nails done to pop out $30, $40, $50 to get a set of acrylic nails. But the woman providing the service is making an income from that. 

If she charges $30 and can do this for 10 women a day, she makes $300/day. Over the course of a week? $1500. Over the course of a month? $6000.

Now she can pay rent for herself and her kids, put food on the table, keep the utilities on, pay her bills (including her skyrocketing health insurance bill no thanks to the socialists trying to “help” her out.), buy toilet paper (maybe?), shampoo/conditioner, clothing, toothpaste, you get the idea.

Now let’s say, she decides to open a nail salon.

She hires five other women to provide nail services. That’s five other women who now have a means of providing for themselves and their family.

But wait, there’s more …

When the nail manicurist can pay her rent, she’s providing an income to her landlord. When she buys food at the grocers, she’s providing an income to ranchers, farmers, and other food producers. When she buys toilet paper she’s providing an income to those in the paper product industry.

And not just an income, but the financial ability to reinvest money in those industries and improve their products and services. Because the landlord is paying a property manager, maintenance technicians, and landscaping personnel. And food producers are paying low skilled workers to harvest crops and package/distribute food. And toilet paper manufacturers are paying paper suppliers, who in turn pay lumberjacks, etc.

And it turns out, the rich and privileged aren’t the ones really hurting by nail salons being shut down. These are some of the comments I received regarding the essential nature of nail services.

There are actually “essential” components to nail salons too! Someone already mentioned the elderly - diabetics also benefit from regular pedicures to maintain circulation. But what I was going to add is that it’s sad that nail salons and barber shops are being attacked because the nature of their businesses means they are losing tons more revenue than other businesses. For some businesses, this is somewhat of a pause - the clients/services they provide are put on hold, and once they open up they can somewhat make up the difference. But people aren’t going to get more haircuts for the rest of the year or more manicures to make up for the 2 months missed. That’s just lost revenue forever. Imagine your nail tech makes a respectable $40k/year. Being closed for 2 months means she’s losing over $6,000. How many of us could afford to just throw $6000 in the trash? I know we couldn’t! I receive regular pedicures as a diabetic. It’s cheaper than going to the doctor. It helps with blood circulation,extremely cracked heals (very common for diabetics as we have dry skin and skin overgrowth) and over grown toenails. These people don’t know jack about essential. People who don't understand the economy also think all they do in nail salons is vain and cosmetic, but the people with painful conditions they help treat and manage can definitely attest that they're as essential any other business. I am surprised there's not more of an outcry since I know how much my parents get done, but of course my mom is not letting Uncle Sam stop her from getting her nails done, even in a garage. A friend of mine is a locksmith. She protects her finger tips by getting her nails done. Please add elderly and disabled people who have trouble taking care of toenail hygiene and benefit from hiring someone else to cut and care for their toes. (Edit: I used to work in the spa industry)

We are all connected!

If someone comes along and says, “sorry, nail salons aren’t essential, you need to close down,” the ignoramus is saying, “of course, nail salons are non-essential! You don’t need your nails done during a pandemic! What a rich, selfish, B!$% you are!” Please tell me that the people above describing the need for nail services are rich and selfish. Never mind that female politicians like Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico have been caught getting salon services during the shutdown so they can maintain their public persona.

When the government picks winners and losers in the economy on a mass scale, the supply chain that I described above begins to hurt. Actually, that’s not quite right–the individuals that make up the supply chain begin to hurt! That supply chain provides “essential” products and services, but if “non-essential” businesses are forced to shut down, then that puts an undue burden on the supply chain, one they can’t handle and so they start to shut down too.

It is the modern day equivalent of demanding people make bricks without straw and the epitome of socialist tyranny.

Those who understand how the economy works are saying, “this is essential to the woman who makes an income from doing this. This is essential for the diabetic or elderly women. What good is it that some places get to stay open so we can buy from them, when you’ve just taken away the purchasing power from these people who provide services in a nail salon?”

Maybe you don’t find nail salons essential to yourself, and that’s fine. I don’t actually use them myself. But I guarantee you nail salons are essential to someone. It is the height of arrogance and privilege to believe that “parts of the economy” are unnecessary and that protesting the shutdown of those parts is selfish.

What is selfish, is the belief that manicurists and their clients (or other “non-essential” business owners and their clients) should sacrifice the means by which they pay for their “essentials” all because you’re afraid for your own health and potential death, or because you think we are a “workaholic nation.” Socialism is selfish.