Elsbeth Shuetz (center) poses with Africa’s Nail Art Competition contestants.

Elsbeth Shuetz (center) poses with Africa’s Nail Art Competition contestants.

Africa’s Nail Art Competition was held for the second year in Lagos, Nigeria, as part of the Beauty Africa Exhibition. The contest was organized by Nigerian beauty wholesaler and school Nectar Beauty Hub, sponsored by Orly, and judged by Orly international educator Elsbeth Shuetz. More than 200 nail artists from Nigeria and neighboring West African countries applied, and 20 applicants were then chosen to compete.

The competition took place over three days, with nail art themes for each day: Fruits in Africa, Just for Christmas, and It’s All About Bling. “Competitors had two to three hours to complete a set with tips and acrylics, and then decorate them with Orly Instant Artist and embellishments,” explains Shuetz.

Nectar Beauty Hub sales and marketing executive Enitan Jemegbe describes the competition as “a life-changing event” for the nail techs who participated, with grand prize money that could enable them to open a nail shop of their own or buy tools and materials for an existing salon. In addition to the prize money and gift baskets given to participants, the competition was attended by nail salon owners in need of technicians, leading to new job opportunities for the competitors.

The contest gave the participants a valuable opportunity to learn new skills. Most of them were self-taught nail artists, learning their skills from YouTube demonstrations. “The eagerness and hunger to learn and soak up everything I taught them was heartwarming and joyful,” says Shuetz. “There’s a huge potential on the rise for African nail artists!”