If you haven’t heard of Dazzle Dry, buckle up because the quick dry, non-toxic nail system is about to take the nail category by storm. Created by scientist and researcher Dr. Vivian Valenty more than 14 years ago, Dazzle Dry is quickly becoming a nail salon staple and beauty editor darling due to its unprecedented results that yield chip-free nails for two weeks. Oh, and it dries in under five minutes without the use of fans or lights. A chemist with a vast career that includes serving as an Assistant Professor at Skidmore College, a research scientist at the New York State Department of Health, and a research and developer at Dupont and General Electric, Dr. Valenty is best known for her problem-solution approach to innovating on the job. Successes include developing a molecule at Dupont to replace phosphates in detergent using carbohydrates and soybeans, as well as the development of a patented polymer for GE’s electronics and semi-conductors. About 15 years ago Dr. Valenty opted to utilize her science background to meet a challenge presented by a nail tech: develop a polish that would dry in under 10 minutes and wouldn’t chip or crack for two weeks. After several hits and misses – Dr. Valenty developed the first topcoat to use UVA rays to quickly dry nails, but the formula was shelved when the FDA ruled UVA rays were damaging to skin—she created a polish system that utilizes polymers to formulate a base coat that expands and contracts, just like nails. Here, Dr. Valenty talks about Dazzle Dry’s unique formula, and Brian McGee, the company’s General Manager, discusses the nail polish system that’s sweeping the nation.

Beauty News: What sets Dazzle Dry apart?
VV: The base coat in the system expands and contracts with the nails.  A lack of polish flexibility is typically what causes chipping, peeling, and cracking. Also, this quick dry system requires no lights or fans to dry nails. The polish can be removed with any remover, it doesn’t have an expiration date and it never yellows. Dazzle Dry manicures last up to 14 days; pedicures last up to 30 days. And it’s clean meaning it contains no harsh chemicals.

BN: Where does the “magic” live in the Dazzle Dry system?
It really lives in the entire system, that’s how we’re able to claim everything we’re claiming.

BN: How does the formula and system work?
The nail is composed of several million keratin molecules, and when you wash your hands or take a bath your nails absorb water, and when they absorb water they expand, and when they dry, they contract. Nail polish doesn’t do that, so there is a disconnect, and when there is a disconnect the system will fail at the weakest link and that’s why there are problems with nail polish, like cracking and chipping. The Dazzle Dry system includes a Nail Prep; a Base Coat, which is applied twice; nail polish and a Top Coat, which is also applied twice. Nails are bone dry in five minutes. You can safely reach your hand in your bag, rummage around for your wallet, flip through credit cards and pay for your manicure just five minutes after nails have been polished.

BN: Does Dazzle Dry ever fail?
Only when the nail tech skips a step. It is a system, so all steps are important. But the nail must be clean. I asked myself how I can ensure the nail tech will properly prepare the nail. That’s why I created the Nail Prep.

BN: Brian, how did you come to meet the brand?
Brian McGee:
A friend of mine had heard about a company looking for a leader and asked if I would have a call with them to help find them the right the person. I come from contract manufacturing and consulting and have worked with a wide variety of companies, from brands to retailers. Personally, I had been looking to join a brand that had achieved a small level of success and that was singular in its approach to the marketplace, and was science based and actually did what it said. I wanted to join an organization that was not afraid to spend on marketing with an aggressive growth plan to support it. I met Dazzle Dry in November 2020. We talked for about two and half months. It wasn’t my intention going in to join them but I saw this gem and thought how lucky I was to discover this brand, this company, and these people in the place they are today and do everything that I’ve learned over the past 30 years.

BN: What stage of growth was Dazzle Dry when you joined?
We have three buckets of business. We have our DTC, which is our largest channel and very healthy; at the time it was taking in about 10,000 orders a month. We have our primary wholesale channel, professional beauty, such as high-end spas. We are expanding that now as we recently signed a deal with Lifetime Fitness to be used in all of their spas. And then we have our third part of the business, which we are really just dipping our toe into, and that’s prestige beauty. We’ve started that by going on Amazon Pro Beauty. We are a highly demonstratable brand and I can see us doing really well on a shopping channel and doing demos on the floor of beauty stores and we are pursuing all of the above.

BN: What were the first things you did when you joined the company?
BM: The first six months of 2021 we rearranged our whole marketing plan, we began using analytics to drive sales and marketing activity.  We hired a PR firm, a new digital marketing agency, and a new creative agency.

BN: How has the company grown in 2021?
BM: We have almost doubled our sales month to month since doing business with Amazon. And it’s not just a way to grow our sales but it’s the best marketing tool we can use. We expanded from a single-source marketing agency to a full roster of agencies and freelancers, and we work with Yotpo on our loyalty program and our referral program. For the first time in a while we have new colors coming out; we have new sizes rolling out in the next couple of months. The company generates more than $10 million in annual sales and is looking to close 2021 with a 15 percent to 20 percent increase over last year. Next year we are looking at 40 percent to 50 percent growth.

BN: Has the company sought funding?
BM:  It’s not really necessary. We are a profitable company with a lot of growth who has been intelligent about how we spend money. In the last four months we moved from a 10,000-square-foot facility to a 44,000-square-foot facility. By controlling the production and distribution of our products we’ve been able to control our costs really well, which has allowed us to fund marketing at a very healthy level. You just need to get the resources right, and plan for the right output.

BN: What’s mission critical?
BM: We need to turn up the volume on getting more people to hear about us because we can’t count on someone going into a salon, spending more money on our specialized service and ultimately falling in love with us. We want to be the worst kept secret in the beauty business, not the best. We know we have a completely unique brand and that it meets the two biggest complaints women have about nail polish, dry time and durability. Dazzle Dry has been on the market for 14 years and has been growing aggressively for four years. But we’re really only introducing ourselves to the world right now.