skip to content

New York Magazine Investigates the Working Conditions at Spas

New York Magazine Investigates the Working Conditions at Spas

“The frustrating thing is that every single time the owners pay you, they come up with a different rule.”
- Francesca Kim, facialist

November 28, 2007 —

In the past two decades, spa treatments have gone from being a luxury for the rich to a regular ritual in the lives of many women. A recent article in New York Magazine examines this phenomenon, as well as the varied working conditions for the waxers, manicurists and aestheticians whose job it is to make you feel beautiful. If you plan on visiting one sometime soon, find a place that treats its workers right and be sure to tip well.

In some of the spas, aestheticians were compensated at the whim of the owner. Most receive an hourly wage that rarely exceeds $10, and commissions that vary depending on whether the employee speaks English and what kind of mood the boss is in on a given day. Most of these jobs involve daily exposure to toxic chemicals, and New York Magazine found that some places refuse to allow their employees to wear protective masks or gloves.

Many spas and nail salons have been reducing their use of toxic products recently, in line with a "greening" of the beauty industry that has come into vogue. Finding such a place goes a long way toward ensuring that the employee whose work it is to keep your nails and eyebrows looking good, isn't being poisoned on the job.


Comment on this article:

Buy It

Don't Buy It

  • Unethical marketing of baby formula in developing nations
  • Numerous ethical problems with largest maker of household products in U.S.
  • Genetic Engineering and Monopolistic behavior = Monsanto
  • World's largest oil company--human rights, oil spills and misinformation about climate change
  • Processed meat sold as 'natural' food. Union-buster.