Sunday, April 8, 2012

ABA Toronto, Doug Schoon and Dashing Diva French Wrap System

Happy Easter everyone!

I haven't posted in a while but don't think I was slacking off! I was busy shopping, working and checking out new stuff. Click below to read more about the ABA show in Toronto, Doug Scoon and Dashing Diva French Wrap review and pictures.

This past weekend I have attended the annual ABA show in Toronto. To be honest, the only reason why I decided to go to the show was Doug Schoon. If you are a nail professional you should know who Doug is. I'm quoting his website:
Doug Schoon is an internationally-recognized scientist, author and educator with over 30 years experience in the cosmetic, beauty and personal care industry. He is a leading industry authority, known for his technical and regulatory work that has helped shape the beauty industry. He is Co-Chair of the Nail Manufacturers Council (NMC), and as Creative Nail Design's (CND) Chief Scientist, was head of the R&D laboratory, QA, and Field Testing/Evaluation departments for almost 20 years.

I can't say enough about Doug. He's an extremely knowledgeable guy that knows how to present the facts in a really interesting, approachable and fun way. He is super nice too! Be sure to "friend" him on Facebook! I also HIGHLY recommend his book "Nail Structure And Product Chemistry". Trust me, it's not a "boring read"!!

At the ABA Doug Schoon presented 3 seminars:
- Proper curing of UV enhancements
- Controversial ingredients in cosmetics
- Similarities in nails and hair structures

To be honest I was very disappointed with the lack of attendance. Nail techs constantly complain how small and boring canadian show are. On many occasions, especially speaking with new techs (and not only new) I notice a lot of confusion when it comes to general product knowledge and sometimes simple facts are not quite understood by many techs.... yet... there was only few of us at the seminars.
Maybe it's because ABA show draws more hairdressers then nail techs but I did meet techs at the show... that were not attending Doug's classes. I'm puzzled.
This lack of hunger for knowledge saddens me and speaks sad volumes about our industry here in Canada. The class should have been packed full with people!

Most of the Sunday I have spent at Doug's presentations and I really had maybe 1-2 hrs to spend on the floor.
I first hit the Dashing Diva booth where I was spotted by Catherina from Polished Beauty Bar. It's been years since I have worked with Catherina and I was flattered that she recognized me. She must have spoken very highly of me to the ladies at the booth because they honestly treated me like a celebrity :)
I got a demo of Dashing Diva French Wrap (in black) with a Gelife soak off gel overlay. I loved the look so I decided to get the kit.
The kit comes with white Dashing Diva strips (thin and thick), a bottle of brush on adhesive and Dashing Diva Base and Top Coat as well as some educational material.

What is Dashing Diva?
Back in 2003 Dashing Diva launched a first branded chain of nail spas with an inventive menu of products and services. Their first salon opened in 2003 in Greenwich Village, NYC. Now Dashing Diva has about 30 locations scattered over 3 continents.
I believe 2 years ago Dashing Diva came up with their patented French Wrap system that can be used either with their regular "polish based" Base Seal and Top Seal and with the Dashing Diva Gelife soak off gel. I saw their system about, like I mentioned 2 years ago at a trade show in Orlando but because I was working the show I didn't have the opportunity to check it out.

Basically Dashing Diva French Wrap is a clear "tip" (they call it a "flexible housing applicator" that comes in 14 sizes) with a very thin white strip secured on the inside of the tip. A very small amount of an adhesive is applied to the white strip only and placed on the natural nail. Few seconds later, the plastic tip can be "snapped" off revealing the thin white strip directly on the nail.

Sounds like an excellent idea right? No painting, no swiping smile lines, no airbrushing- just a perfectly shaped line on the nail.
I should also mention that the strips come in array of colors (13 to be exact) and two thicknesses (thin- for shorten free edge and thick- for longer free edge)

The colors I picked up were white (they came with the kit) as well as red and pink. I REALLY wanted the black but the person in front of me got the very last box :(((((
Here is the "black french" that I got done at the show:
Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Now, let's talk about how do Dashing Diva wraps perform in reality:
If you are familiar to tip extenstion method, this should be quite easy. At first I wasn't sure how much adhesive to apply. I didn't want gaps but too much adhesive causes mess too. Less is better actually.
Any overflow should be wiped away with a dry lint pad.
I first sized all the 10 tips and then applied them one by one (removing the plastic housing applicator few second after application). This way if the adhesive seeps, you have a chance of wiping it before it sets.
If you mess up and stick the strip ends up looking uneven- no worries. Remove the plastic applicator and just use acetone soaked pad and just wipe it off. It comes off like a nail polish.

I still have to get the feel for how much blending of the strip I should do. I don't want to over-buff and cause bald spots but if you don't buff enough you are left with a bump that is visible under the polish/gel.
I don't know how long it takes to apply the strips because I was so excited to use them that I forgot to time myself LOL.

I haven't used the system with the polish base/top. I also bought the Gelife base and top gel and I really like how they go on. They apply very well and have an amazing shine. From what I can tell of my "demo nail" the nail feels pretty strong with just base/top gel used.
Apparently the gel soaks off quite well too. I will update you once I have a chance to remove it from my "guinea pigs"
Below are the pictures of the first sets I did:

My trial kit came with 2 boxes of tips (140 count in each box. 14 sizes x 10). On the kit it mentions that you get 25 applications. Well, I have used the thin strips on 4 clients and I ran out of #7 size already.
Couple of other sizes are running quite low too.
I went to my local supplier.... and they only carry the KITS! No way I'm spending money on the whole kit again after just 4 applications. Can you believe that I called Cosmoprof in Buffalo, NY, USA  over the weekend, assuming that they will have a better selection. I specifically asked if they carry the "refill sizes". They said yes. So I drove (I know, I'm little crazy) to the US, 100 km (60 miles) one way to buy more tips... ONLY to find out.... that they only carry the full boxes and NOT the refill sizes. They also didn't have the different colors. To say that I was disappointed would be putting it very mildly.
So we ended up going to Marshalls and to Chilie's for a dinner (BTW, the chocolate/coconut crust dessert with icecream drizzled with caramel and more chocolate was to die for!!!!!)
So far this is turning out to be an expensive (and very time consuming) system.
I might try ordering directly from Dashing Diva (if they let me- often companies don't like to ship outside of US).

Because this system is not super new I'm curious- have you had a chance to use it? Are you using it? What do you think....?!


  1. Hey Anna - great blog post :) I too was very disappointed in the lack of turnout for Doug. I haven't tried Dashing Diva yet but yours looks fabulous. I agree the lack of availability here in Canada with some products is very frustrating. Maybe refills will be available at the trade show in Orlando!

  2. Hi Anna,
    I used to use the wraps all the time, until the gel polish craze caught on here. I do have to admit, the wraps are fabulous for a wedding since the tips are the same size - it makes for a great looking french. But to be honest, I can do a gel french in less time than it takes me to size the tips, apply them, buff and then apply the gel top coat. Plus I don't have to worry about the adhesive as sometimes it shows under the top coat, even if you are careful and try to wipe it off the nail. But as I said, they're fabulous for a wedding or special event, when pictures are going to be taken - you can't get a more perfect french than the Dashing Diva wraps.
    We also had the same problem you did - running out of a few sizes and even here in the states, the refills aren't easy to get.
    You did a great job with them and took great pictures too!

    1. Hi Sherrie!
      I do find that Dashing Diva takes me longer then french done with gel polish or even gel but I DO like how perfect the end result is. I can get a very crisp smile lines with hard gel but I'm not a fan of the french look done with Shellac etc. The product is too runny to create very crisp, balanced smile lines.
      I do find that there is a lot of fiddling with the while strips though.
      I actually tried getting the missing sized and found it VERY frustrating. I didn't have the time to blog about this experience but I will try to update this post soon.
      You made a very good point about the weddings. Dashing Diva is a perfect option for the die-hard french lovers (no pun intended).
      PS. Thank you for the compliment!

  3. This seems to be a problem about different products in the nail industry: Lack of availability in Canada.

    I love the finish look of the black manicure you got done. It does look super crisp and has a perfect smile line, I'm impressed!

    I've been doing french applications with Gelish, and while it's a lot easier to apply and cure than Shellac, it does require 2-3 coats to get the crisp/opaque look.

    I've been interested to try Dashing Diva on myself and see how it turns out.