Worth Every Penny?: Dashing Diva Nail Salon

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Not my picture
I love getting my nails done as much as the next girl, though I find it an extravagance I rarely indulge in. But about a week ago I had exciting plans for the night and school and some personal matters were absolutely killing me, so in a very Legally Blonde moment, I went to the nail salon. But instead of going to the run-down, slightly questionable but cheap one I would usually drop by, I instead headed for the shiny doors of Dashing Diva. I've walked past it many times, and always paused to admire how large, clean and pink it looked. Whoever designed it clearly had some idea of every girl's dream nail salon--they even serve free cosmos on Wednesdays!

I got the basic pedicure (my feet tend to be in more dire need of attention than my hands) and from the minute my flats hit the floor of the salon, customer service was terrific. One aesthetician removed my coat, another offered me coffee or tea, and yet another got me settled into a tub. I'd like to add that this is no ordinary tub--pink tile with the seat cushions trimmed in pink tweed complete with rose petals. Annoyingly, I had to fight off a slightly aggressive sales pitch for fancier pedicures involving heated foot treatments and the like, but I held my ground.

Let me say that when I usually get my nails done at that crappy small salon I don't do it to relax or take time for myself. I do it because I want my nails to look pretty since God knows I suck at painting them myself. But the hour I spent getting a pedicure at Dashing Diva was the most relaxing I've had in a very long time. For starters, the place is very, very quiet. Not so strictly library-quiet, but incredibly comfortably tranquil with everyone absorbed in their own doings. I flipped through magazines while a DVD of Adele performing at the Royal Albert Hall was playing on the televisions stationed all over the salon (possibly my favorite touch). 

I prefer pedicures because I'm more concerned with the skin on my feet and what they do to it than the application of polish to my toenails. (Though it's probably the reverse when it comes to manicures). In recent years, I've been reading more and more about nail salons giving clients infections through unsanitary clippers and the like, so I was almost overjoyed when my aesthetician ripped open a new package of tools just for my feet. No toenail fungus for me!

That's one of the things that impressed me the most--resolute dedication to hygiene which is something not enough nail salons commit to, or at least, not on the same level. The lady working on my feet was also very kind about me giggling like an idiot as she scrubbed at my soles. =)

Also not my picture.

I got to choose one of three aromatherapy oils to be massaged in and from then, it was a careful polish application (bring your own color--their selection is crap) and just a while later I sadly had to leave the tub and head to the drying station. They had a fancy button which apparently delivers a specific set time of fanning to set the polish (is this a big deal or am I just easily impressed?). Everything was going fabulously and Adele was crooning I Found a Boy, right up until I got up to leave. My aesthetician came scurrying over, slid my feet out of the foamy flip-flops and slipped plastic half-socks over my toes before kneeling to pop my flats on.

I thought that was all fine and extra preventative against wearing, but when I got home, I was extremely peeved to discover two large smudges, one on each of my big toenail. I know I don't care that much about the polish application, but if I'm going to spend that amount of time and money I sure as hell better not get a smudged pedicure--not after all that.

Which brings me to the money. Dashing Diva doesn't list their prices online (annoying!) so call ahead because this isn't the kind of place the average person could walk into and request a service without suffering massive sticker shock afterward. My pedicure--the basic one--was $36, before tax. At my old cheap salon, I could have gotten a mani/pedi for $25. 

Yeah, I know.

While you're partially paying for the nice decor, the rose petals in the tubs and the aromatherapy oils, you're also paying for the hygiene--your very own set of pedicure tools that are chucked the minute your feet are done. (You do get a cuticle stick and a small foam buffing block to take home, but those are probably super cheap, especially through wholesale). Would I pay $36 for a pedicure simply for clean tools? Maybe. Would I pay $36 for a very hygienic pedicure, lovely atmosphere and great customer service? Yes. 

But this will still remain a very rare extravagance for me. Going to a regular nail salon is a treat, but going to Dashing Diva is an occasion. It's the kind of place I'd take my mom for Mother's Day, or could be a fun way to treat your bridal party or a girlfriend for her birthday. 

Bottom line: Top notch hygienic salon services with terrific attention to detail, atmosphere and customer service are what justify this chain's high prices for the odd indulgence. Take your own nail polish as their color selection is poor, and bring flip-flops to wear out to avoid smudging.

Apparently Dashing Diva is quite famous, so if you've been there and would like to add anything, leave a comment!


  1. I think I've walked by that same Dashing Diva, but I have yet to try it. One of my friends got a really cool chrome mani at Dashing Diva about a year ago, though. Everyone at work commented on it!
    Currently, I'm a big fan of a little salon in the 80s on Lex, the same block as the Le Pain Quotidien. i think I'll go for a pedi tonight....

    1. Ooh, chrome! May have to investigate next time I go (whenever that is!).

      I think I know that place--is it sort of white and purple? Le Pain, by the way, does possibly my favorite turkey sandwich if you get hungry after your pedicure!

    2. Yeah, I think Dashing Diva lists the chrome finish under Metallic Nails on their website. I've been meaning to check it out for about a year and a half.....

      It definitely has a white theme....and maybe purple now that I think about it. They have lights in the back by the pedicure chairs that change colors to provide "mood" lighting. Oooh, I'll have to try the turkey sandwich....