Nail Files: A Study of Nail Salon Workers and Industry in the United States
Published Web Locationhttps://www.labor.ucla.edu/publication/nail-files/
Nail salons in the United States are a booming multi-billion dollar industry. Due to immigrant and refugee labor and changes in technology, the nail salon industry grew from a high-end, luxury service to an affordable service available to low- and middle-income clients. Nail salons include their predominantly Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Nepali, Tibetan, and Latinx immigrant and refugee labor force. These immigrant and refugee communities have not only created economic niches that are unique to the industry but also developed health, labor, and community organizing initiatives that advocate for quality and safe jobs. They continue to shape the parameters of beauty service work, but they are also a key facet of today’s service economy, subject to its market forces and labor issues.
While there have been some studies focusing on health and safety conditions in salons, few have explored labor conditions. The UCLA Labor Center launched this study in collaboration with the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative to gain a deeper understanding of the nail salon industry through existing literature, policy reports, worker stories and government and other relevant data sources. This is the first report to look at the industry nationally through a labor lens. The report focus on three primary areas: workers, industry, and oversight.