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Spoiler alert: Buy your own nail tools.

pedicureEver noticed that experts travel with their own tools? Chefs pack their own Wusthofs; yogis tote their favorite mat. Pedicure-loving New Yorkers should do the same.

Podiatrist Herbert Chien, who scared good sense into me, explains why, “When you get nicked by unclean equipment, it’s very easy to get either a bacterial or fungal infection from dirty equipment.” The UV sterilization machines—the ones that look like toaster ovens—don’t reliably clean equipment, says Dr. Chien. In rare cases you can catch something worse, like a strain of hepatitis or cutaneous tuberculosis from the footbaths. (There was a recent outbreak in Georgia and California.)

Sephora makes a complete and compact kit for $30. Unfortunately the design is far from perfect—the pumice crumbles all over the tools and the plastic bag is too shoddy to last. The tools, however, are top-notch and the nail tech at my local place said she preferred my tools to her own. Best of all, I walked home without worrying about the small nick on my big toe turning into something nasty.

Have you purchased a pedicure kit or individual tools that you’d like to recommend?

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