Full Name: Danielle Costantino
Hometown: Cranston, R.I.
Salon: Gel Essentialz
Preferred Nail Art Medium: Gel-polish
Favorite Nail Trend: I love how artists are taking risks with unconventional nail shapes.

I have been working as a nail technician for about three years, two of which have been at Gel Essentialz. My eyes were really opened after starting at Gel Essentialz. The culture of our salon revolves around creativity and education. It’s the perfect place to grow both creatively and professionally! What I might lack in experience I make up for with enthusiasm and passion for my craft. Being a nail tech isn’t just my job, it’s my creative escape. I’ve never been passionate about anything like I am with nails. I am very thankful I found my niche, because it is rare to love your job. I am starving for knowledge — I want to learn everything I can. I want to build more than a career but a strong foundation for my family.  I would like to educate, distribute, compete, and even invent for the nail industry one day. Professionalism is my top priority.

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Week 4: INM


I thought the theme this week was awesome! I am constantly reminded of my heritage. My family owns a few authentic Italian restaurants, and even an imported Italian specialty store. So every time I go in there I feel the Italian and Greek ties. There is a large population of Italians living in Rhode Island and we are known for our amazing restaurants and quality authentic food. I first considered making plates of food, but I wanted to focus on the actual location of my heritage. This part of the globe is so alive! The greens are greener and the blues are breathtaking. When you see pictures of Greece and Italy, it makes you want to jump into the bright blue ocean. For my project, I decided to go with a globe theme. I wanted to create a realistic feel with different textures. I used a marbleized, layered effect on the nails and finished them with a glossing gel. I used acrylic for my countries and I used a matte finish to give the piece some depth. I added Swarovski crystals to the landmasses to show the capital cities, Rome, Italy and Athens, Greece. I finished my globe off with a gold compass. I created a politically correct flag for each country. And I added a handmade banner to pull all the pieces together. I created some vines and acrylic flowers native to that region of the world to add an aged effect.


Click here to see a video of how Danielle created these nails.

Week 3: ORLY International


This challenge was definitely just that, a challenge! It took me a few days to even decide on a design. Once I figured out if I should go in a traditional style or an artistic style, the rest of the process began to come together.


I knew I wanted to focus on LA fashion. The entire world looks to the privileged people of Los Angeles to show us what’s trending. I believe that fashion is a major staple in the LA community. Most people will probably choose Hollywood. But I wanted to go in a different direction. I designed my nails to showcase the fashion capital of the country. Rodeo Drive is everything that is fashion. It’s been around for generations, it’s vintage. It’s just as popular today as it was 20 years ago, which is trendy. And it is rapidly moving forward. With each season, it is resurfaced with new ideas and styles. It is modern. I hope you enjoy my French Manicure style LA Nails.


Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial of how Danielle created these nails.

Week 2: Bio Seaweed Gel


I really loved this challenge! I normally use gel, but I was excited to try a fantasy style. Rather than creating one huge sea monster I researched the names of Bio Seaweed Gel’s new colors, and with the given theme I wanted to broaden the idea pool and take an “under the sea” approach. I wanted to create five individual sculpted pieces of art that are all unified “under the sea.” I wanted to give each nail tip a different type of texture, created by different gels. People tend to think gel is a sticky mess waiting to happen, but with three easy tips you can turn gel into an artistic friend versus a foe. Tip #1: Only pick gel up on one side of your brush. When you’re applying gel to a surface, do NOT touch the brush to any area you don’t want gel in. Even if you barely graze the cuticle the product will pool into that area. Tip #2: Use the proper viscosity gel for the job. Thick gels are good to sculpt and build with, self-leveling gels can fill in gaps or smooth an area out. Tip #3: Whichever gel you choose, remember you can always flash cure! It’s like having a “save button” in the nail world. It definitely helped me with my Seaweed Safari nails.


Click here to see a video of how Danielle created these nails.

Week 1: Young Nails


In a time where everyone is always busy and rushing around (usually with their eyes glued to some type of technological device), there isn’t much time to be creative. So when you decide to create art, it cannot be rushed. I chose to use the motto “Art Takes Time.” I figured it was appropriate for me since my clients and coworkers are always reminding me how much time I spend on each client. My response is usually, “art takes time.” I try to create a mini masterpiece on each client. Art is my way to express myself and it’s the only mental escape I have nowadays. For my Week 1 challenge, I tried to create a mural with a colorful backdrop. To enhance the beauty of each color I chose to paint the back ground with water colors. Next, I used acrylic paint to create some items that indicated the time portion of my theme. I also added a flower to represent the natural beauty of God’s artwork. Lastly, I added my motto. This was my first time creating a nail mural, and my first time using only paints (with no gel products). It was definitely a challenge for me to get acquainted with acrylic paint, but I would like to thank NAILS, CND, and Young Nails for pushing and inspiring me to step out of my comfort zone. P.S. Art takes time!