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How To Create Winning Competition Nails
Filing Competition Nails
It’s best to use a new file for each nail, or at least every other nail; I find that using new files and buffers on each nail is important for consistency because the grit of your file changes every time you use it. Also, be sure to graduate grits when filing. Start with a lower grit file and work your way up to a high-shine buffer. To prepare your buffers, lay five shining buffers—green side down—onto your heating pad. The heating pad will warm the buffers and save you time and energy so you can create a marvelous shine—trust me.
Remember to always use a filing system. For example, file the sides of your nails, then file the other sides, and finish by filing the tips. Use the same pressure on each nail with your 100-grit file while keeping the file parallel to the finger and your wrist straight at all times.
Step 1: Use a 100-grit file to shape the sidewalls and tips. Note: Don’t shape the nail surface with any grit lower than 150; this makes scratches that are hard to remove.
Step 2: File the surface of the nail with a 150- or 180-grit file. Start and stop at the same place on each nail and be sure to cover all surfaces with every file—not just the top of the nail. When filing the cuticle area, bring the product flush with the nail plate without filing it off or filing into the natural nail. Turn the hand around and check your filing from the model’s perspective. Look for any high spots and check the nail from all angles for dips and bumps. The nail should graduate from thinness to thickness to thinness evenly, from cuticle to free edge and sidewall to sidewall.
Step 3: Apply a light coat of cuticle oil and rub it into the cuticles and enhancements.
Step 4: Use a finishing stick buffer with a thick foam center to buff all surfaces of the nails with the 240-grit side, then flip it over and cover all surfaces using the 280-grit side.
Step 5: Remove any dust and debris from your client’s hand.
Step 6: Using a shining block buffer with both green and white sides, buff each nail with the green side of your shining block. Then after each nail, place the white side of the block back on the heating pad. High shine each nail with the white side of the buffer. Be sure to cover every surface: the sides, cuticles and all edges. As a judge, nothing says novice like a finished nail that has only been shined on the top surface.
Step 7: Use soap and water to clean every nail and remove any traces of dust. When you’re finished, check to make sure there is no dust residue. Done! –Carla Collier
Now start competing! If you're new to competing, be sure to enter The Glossies: An Entry-Level Nail Competition.