Elaine Waston, Vice President of Marketing and Sales and Educator at...
How To Create Winning Competition Nails
Product Application: Polished Nails
The thickness of the nails should be that of a business card, and the free edge length must be one-third of the nail bed. Visualize exactly how you want the set to look when finished and apply the acrylic as though it were finished. This will aid in the consistency of the nails and leave you with very little filing to do. Start by sculpting the polished set so you can get yourself warmed up for more precise smile lines on the second hand.
Step 1: Prep nails and then apply primer.
Step 2: Apply forms one at a time so you don't have to worry about them shifting while you work on another nail. (I don’t recommend extending the nail beds unless your model doesn’t have long nail beds.)
Step 3: Mix the white acrylic with a natural shade of acrylic so that it still appears white, but the line of demarcation from the smile line doesn’t show through the polish. Apply the white acrylic in one ball. Note: Don’t waste too much time perfecting smile lines here.
Step 4: Apply pink acrylic to the nail. Note: Practice achieving the right liquid-to-powder ratio. It’s important to have good product control, and this means no air bubbles. Nailpro judges will be looking closely for bubbles!
Step 5: Move to the next nail. Apply the form and white acrylic, and then go back to the first nail and press the C-curve.
Step 6: When you’re ready to press your C-curve, start by removing the form, and then either place a C-curve dowel under the free edge and gently pinch the free edge around the stick, or use a pinching tool, such as tweezers. I prefer the old school way of pressing with an even amount of pressure by placing the top of my thumbs just behind the smile line on both sides. Or try a technique used by world champion Tom Holcomb in Japan: When you’re pressing in the C-curve, push down instead of in and you won’t risk lifting the nail plate. Continue until all five nails are complete.
Step 7: Use acetone or soap and water to remove the oil and any dust from the hand.
Step 8: Apply an even layer of base coat to the nails.
Step 9: Apply one coat of red crème polish. Load the brush with polish and drain one side on the neck of the bottle. You don’t want to accidentally get polish into the cuticle – it’s almost impossible to completely remove it to the point that the judges won’t notice. Using your pinkie to steady your hand, place the brush about 1/8-inch from the cuticle on the nail surface and carefully push the polish brush up toward the cuticle to create a guide. Then stroke the polish down evenly and in one stroke.
Step 10: Repeat with two more strokes until the nail is covered. Add a fourth stroke if necessary. Pull the skin back at the sidewalls and completely cover the nails.
Step 11: Apply a second coat of polish in smooth, even strokes. Use long strokes, and don’t dab at the nail. Note: When applying the second coat, brush down over the free edge to completely cover it. Make sure all edges are covered but be sure not to get any polish on the undersides of the nails. Use exactly the same stroke on every single nail.
Step 12: Use your acrylic brush to clean up around the cuticle with acetone; this makes a perfect margin and cleans up any polish that may have splashed underneath the nail. Don’t let any polish touch the underside of the nail – it should be completely clean!
Step 13: Apply top coat. Instruct your model to hold up her hand and rest on her elbow. The polish will dry untouched while you shine the unpolished hand.