A year ago, we had never heard of Harold “Buddy” Sims. Luckily for us, the Omaha, Neb.-based nail tech submitted an entry for our inaugural NAILS Next Top Nail Artist (NTNA) contest and he was selected as one of our 24 semi-finalists. Then he made it through to the Top 12. And week after week, he surprised us with his creativity and design skills, ultimately making it to Long Beach to compete in the Top 3. Not bad for someone who was licensed only three short years ago.
Asked how his life has changed since his 2nd Runner-Up finish in January, Sims says, “Life has been crazy wonderful since NTNA! Many wonderful opportunities have been provided to me. Business is booming and other opportunities outside of the chair are becoming available. I have met so many wonderful people, and have been so excited to share my experience with anyone who will listen! Local media outlets and others across the world have covered my hard work, and I hope that I can inspire others to put their best work forward. NTNA was the best decision I have made in my career to date!”
But he hasn’t let his success go to his head. “Everyone, myself included, is very happy with the outcome,” says Sims. “The support I have received since my return is nothing like I have ever experienced before. I would like to thank my fiance, family, salon owner, co-workers, and clients for hanging in there with me throughout this long journey. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful clientele. I truly would not be where I am, and couldn’t have made it through NTNA without them.”
For this month’s cover, we asked Buddy to recreate one of our favorite looks he designed during the NTNA contest. As part of CND’s challenge, he created these reptilian nails based on the nail manufacturer’s Fashion Week partnership with design duo The Blonds. “My inspiration came from CND’s Design Lab. Otherworldly garments with a reptile feel were seen in The Blonds’ line. One garment in particular shared the same color scheme as my design. The nails were a seamless fit with the selected design!”
Describing his creation, Sims says, “I knew I wanted a very smooth and consistent shape to the scales, and I had some experience using hole punches to create different shapes. The main obstacle was finding the correct size and shape to fit the nail. After the punches were created, I used stork scissors to remove enough of the scale to fit snugly to the nail with adhesive. Three different hole punches were used to create the different sizes and shapes.”
Here’s how you can do these nails:
1. Prep the nail and apply Young Nails Half Well Tips in clear. File them to a round shape. Apply Gelish Foundation and cure. Apply a thin coat of your first color. Buddy used Gelish Wiggle Fingers, Wiggle Thumbs, That’s the Way the Magic Comes. Cure the first color.
2. Continue layering the remaining colors. To create the color-changing look, Sims recommends going from darkest to lightest. Apply a thin coat of Gelish Ooca Coocha Bing Bang Bam Alakazy Alakazam and cure. Finish with Gelish The Great Googly Moogly and cure. Apply Gelish Top It Off and cure. Remove the sticky layer.
3. Using the same layering technique as above, apply the colors on a clear gel form. Buddy begins and ends with a layer of Gelish Top It Off for an ultra-shiny finish. (Cure between each layer.) Remove the sticky layer and peel the cured gel-polish off the backing.
4. Use a round craft hole punch to create a series of scales.
5. In order to place them on the nail, use scissors to remove enough of the scale to fit snugly. Apply gel resin glue to the scales so they will adhere to the nail.
6. Use tweezers to get the precise placement for your scale-like pattern. To expedite drying, use a spray activator.
7. Using a different shaped hole punch, create another set of scales.
8. Apply these scales on another nail using the technique in steps 5 and 6.