By Tina Bell 

Throughout the year, nail competitions are held all over the world. The categories can be vast and scary, and it helps to have a mentor or someone who has been through it all before to guide and advise you. For some international competitions, you will need to join a team. Then, this organiser will enter for you and give you the results. This is someone who will sort out the medals, trophies etc for your country. You can find these by asking the competition organiser or by asking around on social media. Normally it will be a well-known nail technician, so it’s easy to find.

Once you’ve found which competitions you want to enter, you then need to decide on a category. Sometimes one nail design can enter multiple categories, so make sure you read the rules carefully as it could save you a lot of time.

This is when the hard work comes in, the actual nails. Some images like fantasy poster design or one nail in focus can take days, even weeks, so doing them on a flexi hand and attaching them to a model for the images is the ideal way to go about it. Or, if you’re hardcore, do them on yourself and bandage your hands for bed so you don’t cause any damage!

Breaking down the nail design and designing it on paper first is a great way to start. If possible, make the accessories first, and attach them to the nail once built. Look at previous competition work for inspiration and to get an idea of the level you should be aiming for. Entering a competition is a lot of dedicated, hard work, but it’s so worth it when you hear your name get called out!

If you’re entering a Natural Manicure category, the key is to practice and be flawless. The marking system is tough, and you will be marked down for the slightest thing. One way to get good is to get yourself some one and one time with a competition winner that will help and guide you. There are some amazing ladies out there that are happy to do one to one training at a very reasonable price. Shop around and find someone who’s work you admire and just ask them! Most techs will be happy to help. You could also ask another nail technician to judge your work and ask them to be as picky as possible, pointing out every little thing they can find, so you can be even better next time.

Competitions is not all about the winning. The winning is nice, but it is a good way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and better your skills. I always ask for my girls score sheets after competitions and go through it with them whilst looking at their work. This allows us to see where they could improve for next time. Most of all, competitions are about having fun and enjoying their experience. Competitions are all about enjoyment and progression; if you’re not enjoying it then it’s not for you.