By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Vivian Valenty wants to help women feel beautiful.
In her mid-60s, Valenty went from the corporate world to focusing on her product Dazzle Dry, a four-step system that delivers quick-drying, long-lasting nails. She says it’s nontoxic, vegan and cruelty free, making it cleaner than any other polish in the industry.
Near the Airpark, the 13-year-old evolving product is used at Agave Spa at Westin Kierland; Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Princess; Village Gainey Ranch and Village DC Ranch.
“Growing up, I was taught that the best way to make the world a better place was to use your natural talents,” Valenty says. “After 35 years as a bio-organic chemist, I realized that my talent was creating products that not only solved problems but did so in a natural, healthy way.”
She learned about the dangers of artificial nail enhancements. They use chemicals that are known skin sensitizers and health hazards. Their gel counterparts also require frequent exposure to UV-A light, which can penetrate deep into the subcutaneous layer, increasing the risk of skin cancer.
“Once I discovered the dangers lurking in everyday nail care products, I became determined to find a more natural alternative, one that would still provide healthy-looking nails and a polish that lasted for at least two weeks,” she says.
In 2007, at age 63, she started her own line of nail lacquers free from harmful chemicals, animal byproducts and animal testing. The Chandler resident adds Dazzle Dry is the only quick-drying, long-lasting natural nail care system of its kind.
It uses a signature four-step system to strengthen nails, protect against abrasion, dry in just 5 minutes and deliver long-term results.
“It doesn’t require a UV-A light,” she says. “It only takes 5 minutes. After you apply the last layers, you wait 5 minutes and it is functionally dry. You can dig into your purse without ruining the polish.
“It’s similar to a gel in that it stays on the nail for seven to 14 days. Some customers are able to get three, four or five weeks out of it. I don’t prefer that, because the growth is too much already. When you are ready to take it off, it comes off like regular polish.”
This isn’t her first foray into nail products. In 1989, Valenty started working on a topcoat that dried the polish using a UV light. She sold it to a company in Scottsdale that marketed it called Pro Finish. Valenty stopped working on UV products when the FDA determined they were dangerous.
“I needed to work on something that was better,” she says. “That’s how I came up with Dazzle Dry. It took me about 13 years off and on. This doesn’t turn the nail yellow.
“This year I’m 76. It took a while for Dazzle Dry to catch on. We don’t have investors.”
Valenty was born in the Philippines, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry from one of the country’s top schools.
Through the government and the Ford Foundation, she was given a one-way ticket to the United States pursue her Ph.D. at Penn State. She specialized in organic chemistry—particularly bioorganic chemistry of living things. Her plan was to return to the Philippines and do research on indigenous plants.
“I was aware of traditional medicine,” she says. “I wanted to use what was the active ingredient in the plants. I met my husband and we decided we were going to stay in the United States. I found out my skills lie in product development. It allowed me to create products from corn and soybeans. One was a replacement for phosphate in detergent to soften the water.”
She was hired by GE, which relocated her to Arizona. Eventually, she quit her job and started her company.
“I’m focused on building the Dazzle Dry brand,” she says. “As a chemist, I was never sure how the product was going to take off. I thought it would—you can get flawless nails without flawed ingredients.”
Valenty says she makes sure the ingredients are clean and nonallergenic. She says the product is so clean and healthy that women tell her their nails are stronger.
“When I talked about it with a nail tech, she said, ‘Vivian, you have a product that’s out of this world.’ It’s a dream come true for a nail tech.”
Sales have ballooned since the COVID-19 pandemic came down in March. The system is easy to use at home, Valenty says. It’s sold online at dazzledry.com for about $18 a bottle.
“Women love to be beautiful and feel good,” she says. “You feel good when you look pretty. A lot of women, like me, move their hands around when they’re talking. They want to look pretty.
“But you can’t just buy the polish, though, and expect to get the longevity of wear. The adhesion to the nail is more complex than putting on the polish. The nails have to be prepared. It’s like if you were painting a wall or object. If you don’t prepare the surface, you won’t get a good coating. It’s a four-step system—the nail prep, the base coat, the color and the topcoat. All four are necessary to get the adhesion and longevity of wear.”
A fifth product, Revive, can be used when the polish thickens.
“I believe that beauty and wellness can go hand in hand,” she says. “And after using Dazzle Dry, my clients do, too. See for yourself what beauty without compromise looks like.”