Nail techs in Kentucky ask state board for clear regulations – Spectrum News 1

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Nail technicians in Kentucky are looking for clarity and changes in the state board of cosmetology policies.

What You Need To Know

  • Nail technicians across Kentucky are asking for state regulations and representation in state board policies
  • Expectations include language expansion for the board test and members from the community on the state board
  • Lavish Nails, a Lexington nail salon, is among dozens in Kentucky who hope to make a difference
  • Leaders plan to follow up on the matter at the end of September

Lavish Nails is a Lexington-based nail salon, whose co-owner says statewide regulations and processes for certification have become a challenge.

Visal Heng is an artist transforming nails one hand at a time as the co-owner of Lavish Nails, a salon in Hamburg Shopping Center. Heng says inspections have led to higher fines for some salons, which can lead to thousands of dollars in violations.

“I know for a fact that a salon here in Lexington got flagged for having towels that were covered, but then when the state board inspector came and inspected their second location, they didn’t get covered at all.” Heng explained. “So they have to pay thousands for one salon — but not the other one.”

Heng says these conversations have helped them forge a new community of professionals who work together for change and fairness. It’s why they are now bringing concerns to leaders in Frankfort — hoping to reach the state board of cosmetology.   

Lavish Nails is among dozens of nail salons in Lexington supporting changes to state board policies. (Spectrum News 1/Sabriel Metcalf)

“It’s just asking the state board to even out all the rules and what is approved and what isn’t approved,” Heng said. 

At a recent committee hearing, State Sen. Reggie Thomas, D-Lexington, and others addressed a large crowd of Asia Pacific Islanders from around Kentucky.

Thomas says they expect security for workers in the nail industry.

“What we want to do here is give them more of an opportunity to make a living, give them more of a chance to achieve the American dream. Correct some deficiency, some of the harms that we’re seeing here in Kentucky in the industry today,” he explained.  

Thomas says other significant expectations include having someone in the nail field on the board of Cosmetology which currently has none. 

The group is calling for fair regulations to statewide salon requirements, licensing and more. 

“It’s walking into a salon, and ensuring that it’s clean, it’s health regulation. We want to make sure that it’s offered all around,” Heng said. 

A major expectation is for nail techs to see a change in language barriers in exams for certifications, making them widely available in languages for the API community and others. 

Leaders with the Kentucky Board of Cosmetology say the board has been made aware of the statements made at the recent committee meeting, but have no comment on this matter at this time.


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