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Technique

Behind the Scenes: Tortoiseshell Nails

by Erika Kotite | October 17, 2016

Cover tech Simone Gilbert (center) came to the NAILS office in Southern California all the way from Australia to create this month’s cover look. Editor Erika Kotite is on the left and senior art director Danielle Parisi is on the right.

Cover tech Simone Gilbert (center) came to the NAILS office in Southern California all the way from Australia to create this month’s cover look. Editor Erika Kotite is on the left and senior art director Danielle Parisi is on the right.

With warm tones of amber, topaz, and gold, this month’s cover nails seem to glow from within. Simone Gilbert of Belgrave South, Victoria, Australia created this incomparable look using an ingenious blend of gel paints, foil, and amber gemstones from AthenA Rocks. As a pretty embellishment, Gilbert selected some black butterflies she found in a nearby crafts store and added Swarovski Crystals and handmade amber gemstones.

A lifelong lover of arts and crafts, Gilbert discovered the world of nails and became a licensed nail tech 11 years ago. Despite her considerable talent in nail art — Gilbert specializes in gradient designs and mixed media — she was unsure about entering NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Season Two. Encouraged by others in the industry, however, Gilbert took the plunge and ended up placing fourth.

She is the owner of Urban Bliss Beauty, a salon she runs out of her home, and she is also a brand ambassador for AthenA Rocks. Recently Gilbert also became an authorized instructor for Swarovski’s Create Your Style. Of the cover shoot experience, Gilbert says that “it was great to meet Beth Livesay in person after chatting with her online for so long. I also loved watching the photographer and the NAILS team style the shots and capture the perfect image.”

Here are Gilbert’s steps for how to get this month’s cover look:

1. On a cleaned and prepared nail, position the nail form and apply a clear base gel to the natural nail. Once cured, apply your extension to the desired length and cure.

2. Remove the form and file to shape.

3. Apply a layer of base gel and cure.

4. Apply a layer of Vetro’s Jewel Topaz, then dab a little Jewel Umber to small areas of each nail. Blend lightly using your brush and cure. Apply gel top coat and cure; remove any gel residue.

5. Using a fine liner brush, apply some black gel detailing and cure.

6. Press gold nail foil over the black gel and apply some more top coat to cover the foiling. Cure.

For the lace and pendant nail:

7. On a cleaned and prepared nail, position the nail form and apply a clear base gel to the natural nail. Once cured, apply an extension to the desired length and cure. Next remove the form and file to shape. Take a fine liner brush and some black gel to create some flowers. Then add some lace detailing and cure. Apply top coat and cure; remove residue.

8. Apply a small amount of clear base gel to the center of the nail and place the gemstone. Cure.

9. Using Ace Gel gold gel, add the gold pendant detailing with a fine liner brush and dotting tool. Cure. Apply top coat to seal your design only.

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