Bejeweled: The Top 3 and the Bottom 3

Challenge 6 sponsored by Dashing Diva asked our Top 7 to create a cohesive set of 10 jeweled appliques for sponsor Dashing Diva. They were given clear nail tips to use and were allowed to incorporate a design using any nail products as the base. Then, they were instructed to use only crystals, studs, and beads (NO CHARMS) to create a bejeweled set of nails.


This week’s guest judge was Margaret Pak of Dashing Diva. Permanent judges include CND’s Jan Arnold, NAILS Next Top Nail Artist 2014 winner Ryoko Garcia, NAILS editor Hannah Lee, NAILS senior editor Beth Livesay, and the rest of the team at NAILS Magazine.




In no particular order, the top 3 are:


Danielle Costantino: The judges thought your concept and execution were outstanding. The bold, graphic design you created would be perfect for a set of appliqués. Your lines are sharp and clean. The judges were split on whether you should have made the jewels the star of the show by using more throughout your design. For a bejeweled challenge, we think they need more bling. But we love the way you thought about appliqués and how nail techs actually use them when creating your design. They are very versatile. Your color palette is lovely and your design is varied, yet cohesive. Really well done. Useful tips in your video, but we want to see a better angle (from your point of view) and a tighter shot so we can really see you working.


Lexi Martone: The judges think these nails look like high-fashion designer nail tips. We love your color palette. The emerald jewels, along with the snakeskin technique, make these look very rich. Your use of jewels really enhanced your final design. Your sponge and calligraphy pen technique for creating the snakeskin pattern was brilliant and we think your explanation was great as a tutorial for other nail techs. We also love the use of caviar beads. These, as well as your gems, are impeccably placed. Your video, as always was great and easy to view. Our only critique is that these nails might not be easy to customize as appliqués (to fit on your clients) since the jewels cover so much of the surface area.


Simone Gilbert: The judges think your nails are stunning. These nails need no other accessories — they would be the star of the show. Your attention to detail is meticulous. And we were impressed that you created the entire design using embellishments (instead of handpainted elements). The pattern is very strong and we can really see your inspiration in these nails. Your stones are placed perfectly. And individually placing pieces of glitter? You have the patience of a saint. We wish there was a little more variation from nail to nail, but these are very strong. Your demo is great. You communicate clearly, have a nice clean background, and really taught the technique well. We love watching your work come together on video. (We also thought your own nails looked great on camera!)




The following tech can breathe again. She is in the middle of this week’s pack and is safe. Congratulations to:


Sherri Traweek: The judges love your gradation of colors and your bright, playful palette. Your source of inspiration is cute and we can definitely see the frog pattern on these nails. We like the texture of the finished look and think it looks like water drops on the frog’s skin. But we wonder if you used the gems a little more sparingly if it would have had more of an impact. Some of the larger stones throw the balance off. It wouldn’t be easy to custom fit these appliques to a client with smaller nails because of the stones. Your video is cute and we always look forward to the combination of your humor/personality with your professional instruction.




Unfortunately, there always has to be a bottom group. The bottom 3, in no particular order, are:


Lauren Boyd: The judges think your design is cute and fun. We love your use of color. And at first glance we know these are Lauren Boyd nails. Your technique for creating your background was effortless and we think your graffiti-style background would be perfect for a set of appliqués. We also like how you varied the placement of the stones. We feel like there is a disconnect between your background and the cute little characters. These nails would have been stellar with more stones and without the characters. Your video is better because you’re closer up so we can see what you’re doing. It’s still a little blurry and dark, and we’d like to see it shot from your point of view (it seems like we’re watching you create upside down).


Lavette Cephus: The judges love your inspiration behind these nails and we think you did a really good job capturing the vintage Versace feel. We like how these vary from nail to nail but are all definitely the same set of nails. We like that you used different shapes of stones, but the bulkiness of the larger square stones takes away from the intricate scrolling detail. We also like the matte background, but that’s risky when applying stones, because it makes the stone application look messy because you can see the gel surrounding the stones. Your video was better. It was fun and tighter shot, but it still needs to be crisper and you need to shoot it from your point of view (right now, it’s upside down). Make sure your own nails look great under the camera.


Marisol Alvarado: The judges thought the marbling technique was cool and we liked seeing how you created the look. We also appreciate that you are listening to the judges’ critiques. We wish the jewels were more of the star of the show. These kind of feel like an afterthought just placed in a straight line with very little variance. We like that you took into consideration that these would have to be mass produced and custom fit to different nail sizes/shapes. But it would have been fun to have seen more variation in pattern (both background and placement of the jewels) from nail to nail. As lovely as these are, there just wasn’t a wow factor. We’re glad you went tighter on your video, but we’d like to see your demo from your own point of view (right now, it’s upside down).