Week 3

The LA Manicure: The Top 3 and the Bottom 3


Challenge 3 sponsored by Orly asked our Top 10 to create a modern, Los Angeles-focused French manicure look on two hands (an actual person’s hands). They were also asked to shoot a step-by-step tutorial showing us how they created the nails.


This week’s guest judge was Jeff Pink of Orly. 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:


Lauren Boyd: The judges love your choice of colors and the hip LA attitude they portray. You chose a very cool shape and the black outline on the tip gives it a perfect amount of LA edge. It might have been unintentional, but the black paint splatters resemble palm trees, making it even more LA. While we love your brightly colored street art style, we’d love to see you push yourself and show us what else you can do in future challenges.


Lexi Martone: The judges love how you drew your inspiration from modern LA architecture. Your execution of the shapes and crisp, clean lines was flawless. These are the perfect take on a “new” French and the matte finish really seals the deal on making these modern. They’re bold, yet simple and could definitely go from day to night, casual to dressy. Make sure your background in your demo is spotless in future challenges.


Simone Gilbert: The judges love your choice of colors and thought your use of gold makes these classy and elegant. Your clean, precise detailing is so impressive. We like how your interpretation of the necklace is apparent without being a literal interpretation. The judges were split on whether this was a modern enough take on Hollywood, or if it evoked too much old school Hollywood glamour. Your demo was extremely well shot.




The following techs can breathe again. They are in the middle of this week’s pack and are safe. In no particular order, congratulations to:


Danielle Costantino: The judges thought your design was nicely painted and really fun and cute. It represents an iconic part of LA. Your concept was great and your painting skills and detail were good. We liked how the street represented the “French” tip, but the art covered up too much of the nails for the French look to stand out. It felt a little more like a mural than a French twist. Good job on your demo and photos.


Lavette Cephus: The judges like your unique take on this week’s theme and how you played off City of Angels. The consistency of your painting from nail to nail was impressive with all that detail. The matte finish is an excellent choice to make this a modern look. Instead of doing the same design on all 10 nails, we would have liked to have seen a little variety — perhaps the angel only as an accent nail or maybe some added embellishments to break up the design. Pay attention to your lighting in your photos so you don’t get shadows.


Karrie Bowers: The judges love your use of black and white with little pops of color. Your concept is great and extending the swoop on the French smile line really makes it modern. The film strip idea and Hollywood sign concepts are good, but it feels a little unfinished. Your posed photo was cute, but you couldn’t see enough of the nails, so when you look at the design straight on, it’s a little too simple and missing that “wow” factor. We’d also like to see your lines become crisper and cleaner. In your demo, we would have liked to see you make the gel-polish decals.


Sherri Traweek: The judges love how you picked one specific, iconic theater in LA as your inspiration. It’s clean and simple and they look like they’re ready for a grand opening night. The design is wearable and very pretty, but they don’t scream LA without reading about your interpretation. It feels a little more art deco than modern, and we’re not sure if you pushed the boundaries on the French aspect enough. Your main photo is great, but your demo photos look a little overexposed and we would like to see you crop in so we can see more detail.




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


Amy Gustafson: This is a very elegant French twist, but it feels a little dated and not quite modern enough. The use of rhinestones helps to make it more current. Since this is Next Top Nail Artist, we really would have liked to see you handpaint all the swirling lace detailing rather than use a stamping tool. This was a missed opportunity for challenging yourself to show us new skills like you have done in your past challenges.


Lini Sherburne: The judges love your choice of colors and the contrast in texture (matte vs. shimmer). The design is subtle and elegant and would look good on a runway, but it feels familiar and not completely original. We also would have liked to have seen more variation from tip to tip. Your inspiration from a favorite LA designer helps for us to see how these nails could be considered an “LA Manicure”, but without your story, we might not get the LA reference at first glance. The placement of the flare of the triangle at the tip gives a fan illusion that makes the nails feel a little “duck nail” shaped.


Marisol Alvarado: The judges appreciate your depictions of iconic LA landmarks and appreciate that you really challenged yourself. But your coverage of the nail pushes the boundaries of whether this is a French look. We love seeing the inspiration photo side by side with the nail tip, but we would have liked to see how you created your design, especially since there is so much detail. You are missing a consistency overall. The two middle nails on the hand on the left are nice and muted with no outlines, while some of your other nails have a heavier bolder outline.