Doug Schoon – The Smooth Science Guy Interview
Where are you located?
Dana Point, California
You come from a scientific education, how did you first become involved in the Nail industry?
25 years ago I started the first safety training company for the Beauty industry. The company was called CATS. Mostly I worked in cosmetology, but became interested in the Nail industry and spent most of my time working in that arena.
What kinds of changes have you seen over the years?
Salon professionals are beginning to understand the importance of working safely. 20 years ago, they didn’t realize this was something they should do nor did they even know how to start working safely. They’re now also beginning to see how important cleaning and disinfection is to protect their client’s health.
Tell us a little about your book, Nail Structure & Product Chemistry.
This book brings together information from many sources, including my 20 years of industry research, as well as, medical and scientific knowledge that has been gathered by other researchers. Before I wrote this book, there was almost no factual information about the science behind nail products and services. (ISBN: 140 186 709X)
My book is a compilation of all the authoritative information on these subjects and designed to bust the myths and set the record straight on these issues. It’s the truth, well told, and made easy to understand.
How can we get our hands on a signed copy?
Either to attend one of my lectures or order a copy from my website.
What inspired you to create www.dougschoon.com?
I write magazine articles that are published in various places around the world, but most people never get a chance to read them. This website is a “library” where all this information will be collected in one place.
What articles are available?
Articles for Professional Beauty Magazine
What Nail Professionals Should Know and Do About MMA (2005)
Where Is The Cuticle? (July 2007)
PDF and Video
Give me 100% Organic, Non-Toxic, All Natural and Chemical-Free (September 2007)
PDF and Video
Nail Plate Construction Zone (November 2008)
PDF and Video
5 Forgotten Properties of the Nail(January 2009)
Articles for Scratch Magazine UK
Avoiding MMA and Nail Damage (2005)
PDF and Video
Performance Through Consistency Control(March 2005)
PDF and Video
What Do We Want Nails To Be? (November 2005)
PDF and Video
7 Secrets To Curing UV Gel Nails (January 2009)
PDF and Video
You provide valuable information about health & safety with regards to the Nail industry. What should patrons look for (and ask about) when they visit a new nail salon?
They should read a brochure I helped author, “What to Look Out for in Nail Salons”. Nail professionals should also give this information to their clients and use it to make sure their salon is up to par with these guidelines.
Tell us a little about you, what is your background & where do you come from?
I’m a polymer chemist, with a Masters degree from UC Irvine- California. For 20 years I was vice president of science and technology for Creative Nail Design, Inc. and ran both their research & development, as well as, the quality control laboratories and the new products field testing department. I was also CND’s chief scientific spokesperson, media representative and was on their “Board of Directors”. I hold 11 US and international patents for development of innovative new products.
As an industry expert you serve as an expert witness in legal cases, what other services do you offer?
I help companies develop innovative new products and education programs, understand and obey government regulations. I develop warnings, packaging and labeling. I also help cosmetic and beauty care Marketers understand the industry and better position their products and improve them where possible.
Which nail products do you endorse for use?
Although I develop most of the products Creative Nail Design sells and think they are the best, I provide nail professionals with information that applies to all products. I think that all products can be used safely, if used properly. Of course, some are higher quality than others. The products I developed are known for being the highest quality in the world and many have a long track record as being the most successful, i.e. Radical, Retention+, Brisa Gels, ScrubFresh and the SpaPedicure line with, to name but a few.
What upcoming trends do you see for 2010 and beyond?
Nail professionals continue to become increasingly more interested in working safely and will begin to better understand their professional responsibilities. Currently, the vast majority of nail professionals do not fully understand how to work safely. That’s changing, slowly.
For example, most nail professionals still do not understand that removing a callous from the foot is a medical procedure and not something they should be doing. Nor should they be working on nails that are infected. This is what doctors and podiatrists should be doing, not nail technicians.
The Nail industry is experiencing huge growth, what are the main changes you see happening in the next 5 years?
Hopefully better cleaning and disinfection in salons. That’s the main problem right now, at least from the public’s point of view. Until the public regains confidence in the cleanliness of salons and implements used in procedures, our industry will not meet its full potential.
What are the pros and cons in working in a female-dominant industry?
I’ve learned a lot about women and how they think, as well as, what they want. I could write a book on that too, I suspect.
Is it possible to use nail products without harming the earth, the environment or ourselves?
Not only is it possible, it’s easy. Most of what you hear about cosmetics containing birth defect or cancer-causing substances is complete nonsense.
Many activist groups make most of their money by scaring people into giving them donations. That works, so they dramatically exaggerate the truth…sometimes to the point that the misinformation they spread crosses the line into intentional deception.
The truth is, it’s easy to work safely, but that doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a deeper knowledge and understanding of the products/services provided than what is taught in school. That’s a chief reason I wrote my book.
How do you feel about testing beauty products on animals?
All products are tested on animals. Even though humans don’t like to admit it, we are animals. As far as cosmetics products being tested on animals other than humans, that doesn’t happen anymore.
What are the most common nail problems?
Definitely nail brittleness. As we age, our nails become more brittle. In the salon, the most common nail problems occur from nail technicians over-filing the natural nail or from incorrectly removing artificial nails or removing them too often. All of these can lead to natural nail damage. Nail technicians are supposed to protect and nurture the natural nail, but too many don’t.
Have any advice for those who look after their own nails?
Find a knowledgeable nail technician that constantly takes continuing education classes to improve their skills. Any nail technician who thinks they “know it all” is fooling themselves. I don’t care how long you’ve been “doing nails”. All nail professionals need continuing education on an ongoing basis.
How has the internet changed the Nail industry?
Through Facebook and my website www.DougSchoon.com my articles have been downloaded into 61 countries over the last three months. I could never have done that without the Internet.
It’s given a very big voice to people who don’t know what they’re talking about. But on the positive side, it’s given the truly knowledgeable experts the ability to get proper information in the hands of the masses.
When’s your next article coming out & can we get some insider information on it?
I’ll be releasing articles on Facebook and my website every few weeks for most of 2009. The next article is entitled “Don’t Rub Me Wrong” and it’s about the dangers of over filing the natural nail, an all too common practice in the nail industry.
The science of nails aside, what else gets you out of bed in the morning?
I’m a long-distance walker and since I live on the coast, I love to walk along the ocean. I also play African hand drums and I’m an amateur astronomer (the scientific study of stars, not horoscopes).
Are there any people you would like to thank?
So many I don’t know where to begin. I’ve worked with some of the best nail professionals in the world and have learned a lot from them. Probably the most important thanks would be the Nordstrom family, founders of Creative Nail Design, Inc. They’re the ones who brought me into the industry.
Thanks to Doug for answering our questions and sharing his work with us. Be sure to keep up with the latest news on his website to learn more about healthy nail care and interesting nail sciencey things .
Stay tuned for more interesting interviews with other fun & fearless members of the nail industry.