Can Waitresses Wear Nail Polish

As a waitress, you will already be familiar with rules in the workplace. There are rules governing how you should treat customers, how to handle food, and what you may or may not wear.

But if you are new to the job, you may not be sure if waitresses can wear nail polish. So keep reading to get the answer, as well as the reasons behind it, below. 

What This Article Covers

Can You Wear Nail Polish As A Waitress?

Unfortunately, no. While you may be able to get away with wearing nail polish as a waitress at some establishments, be aware that it is rarely allowed. 

The reason for this is the ban on nail polish in the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) food handling guidelines.

Section 2-302.11 of the FDA Food Code guidelines states that fingernail polish is not allowed when working with exposed food.

It also states that all food handlers must keep fingernails clean, neatly trimmed, filed, and maintained

should waitresses wear nail polish

Why Not?

Why does the FDA have regulations about fingernails? What are their reasons? There are two very valid reasons for this rule.

Food Safety

All eateries have to abide by food safety laws, as set out by the FDA. And health inspectors can drop by at any time, to ensure that these rules are being met.

This is why, when working with exposed food, all food handlers, chefs, or waitresses need to practice good hygiene.

Image And Brand

Image and brand are other factors. Consider this; Why do females use nail polish? To project a certain image, and to express their style and personality. 

Nothing is more expressive of your personality than beautifully manicured fingernails adorned with stunning, high-gloss color.

Why waitresses shouldn't wear nail polish

Well, the establishment you are waitressing for has a particular brand image, and your conduct and appearance need to fit in with that brand. 

Why Is This?

But how can wearing nail polish contaminate food? And how does what you wear on your nails affect the image or reputation of the establishment?

Risk Of Contamination 

Ever wondered: “can you wear clear nail polish during surgery”? Well, the rules regarding that issue apply to the food industry as well, because anything you eat can affect your health. 

And any particle that enters exposed food, whether organic or inorganic, can contaminate it and lead to possible health consequences

Risk To The Establishment’s Reputation

And that is where the real risk to the brand comes in. If a customer’s food is found to contain chipped-off nail polish, they could face legal consequences, which would hurt the business's reputation. 

If your workplace allows waitresses to wear polish, a polish resistant to chipping and peeling would be the answer. An example of this is our range of Breathable 1-Step Manicure polishes. 

Can Waitresses Wear Acrylics Or Fake Nails

Can Waitresses Wear Acrylics Or Fake Nails?

So what about acrylic nails, or artificial nails and tips? Can waitresses wear any of those?

The Same Rule Applies Here

The FDA Food Code regulations about food handlers' fingernails also include the prohibition of artificial nails and all nail art. 

Therefore, any nail products including gel, acrylics, and all forms of artificial nails or extensions would be banned. 

The Gloves Solution

Unless appropriate food handling gloves are worn at all times, none of these are allowed. However, it is mostly the kitchen staff, and not waitresses, who are required to wear gloves. 

If you are required to wear food handling gloves, this may not be an issue. But if you are not, you will have to keep your nails trimmed and bare.


You have two choices. Wear food handling gloves at all times, which hide your nail adornment. Or adhere to the strict guidelines. 

What Can I Wear Or Do Instead?

But this does not mean that you cannot keep your nails groomed, in fact, it is encouraged. And we have the best nail treatments to keep your nails healthy and in tip-top condition.

Can You Wear Nail Polish As A Waitress

Keep It Simple

Perhaps you are permitted by your employer to wear nail polish if it is clear, durable, and chip-resistant? 

The ideal product to meet these requirements is our Breathable Treatment and Shine Clear Polish

This would also be the best nail polish for nurses, as well as the most suitable nail polish for swimmers.

Why Can't You Wear Nail Polish As A Waitress

Keep It Natural

If you are not allowed even a coat of clear polish, do not despair. 

Clean, trimmed, buffed, and healthy-looking nails can look every bit as attractive.

In Conclusion

For world-class manicures at home, check out our range of vegan cruelty-free nail polish, high-quality nail treatments, and essential beauty tools. 

We will keep you looking your very best at home, at work, and anywhere in between. 

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