Fort Walton Beach, Fla.-based nail tech Halley Fortenberry has quite an impressive resume despite having been in the business for just four years. She competed on Seasons 3 and 5 of NAILS Next Top Nail Artist, achieving the position of first runner-up in the latter season. The concept for this month’s cover was taken from the first challenge of Season 5. Inspired by runway looks from CND for Libertine, Fortenberry created this glimmering gold set that calls to mind the intricate shapes and precious metals found in Gothic art and architecture. Follow her on Instagram @missexclusivenails.

Cover tech and NTNA Season 5 first runner-up Halley Fortenberry with model Katie Boone.

Cover tech and NTNA Season 5 first runner-up Halley Fortenberry with model Katie Boone.

Here are Fortenberry’s steps for this month’s cover look:

1. Prep nails, apply forms, and dehydrate the nails further. Saturate nails with Protein Bond and follow with two light coats of T primer. Extend the nails using acrylic. Pinch the C-curve of each nail before fully cured.

2. Remove nail forms and file into a stiletto shape. Use an e-file with a barrel bit to balance the nail, and finish with a hand-file.

3. For black matte nails: Apply two coats of Akzéntz Gel Play in Black Paint, curing between coats. Apply top coat and cure. Paint symmetrical jewel shapes with black gel. Fill in with CND Shellac in Palm Deco and Peacock Plume, and Akzéntz Gel Play in Golden Nugget. Cure. Dust CND Emerald Mirage additive into Palm Deco. Use a no-wipe top coat to top coat jewels only. Cure.

4. For gold nail: Paint nail with two coats of Golden Nugget, curing after each coat. Dust Valentino gold chrome into tacky layer. Apply no-wipe top coat and cure. Using Black Paint, draw a teardrop shape in the center. Start outlining and adding different angled lines for a gemstone effect. Cure. Top coat and cure. For gold/clear nails: Leave the tip clear and embellish with gel and Swarovski Crystals.

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