As part of NAILS Next Top Nail Artist contest we tasked our competitors with weekly challenges, each sponsored by a different manufacturer. Week 2 was sponsored by Entity, and the challenge was to create the next “would-be” ad in the company’s “You’ve always been…” series. The series started with “daring”, then moved on to “passionate”, and finally ended on “spirited”. For the challenge, we asked our Top 11 to create an ad with the theme: “You’ve always been…mysterious.”

The winner of the week was Christian Mans, who created some really interesting pipe-shaped nails with a full masquerade look. Entity loved the design so much they’re actually using it in their new ad.

“As artists, we are all a bit mysterious,” wrote Mans. “As nail artists, we are extra mysterious when it comes to the skills and techniques we have hidden up our sleeves. With this in mind, my inspiration was drawn from a Venetian Carnival celebration, where everyone covers their faces with elaborate and elegant masks to keep their identity a mystery.”
Here is Mans’ step-by-step so you can see just how he created these nails.

1. Sculpt French pipe-shaped nails with acrylic. The pipe nails are pointy in shape, but keep the deep C-curve like square nails. File the free edge of the nails at a 45-degree angle for a pointy view from above.  

2. Apply chunky gold glitter gel on the thumb and ring finger. After curing, place gold foil leaf over the sticky gel. The chunky glitter leaves a textured, semi 3-D, feel and appearance.

3. Apply royal blue, emerald green, and deep magenta on the pinkie, middle, and pointer fingers, respectively. Use mica powder or pigment to lightly dust the sticky gel after being cured. Finish off with a gold mica powder to complete the silky fabric effect.  

4. On a piece of plastic, paint a butterfly with gold glitter gel and cure. Apply a layer of hard gel over the gold gel. When curing, gently fold the butterfly wings up. 

5. Create a flexible gel sheet by applying a rectangle of color gel on wax paper and cure. Brush mica powders and finish with a thin layer of a flexible clear gel. After curing, cut the gel sheet into a rectangle. Fold the rectangle gel sheet to create a fan pattern.  

6. Make two more gel sheets, one for the flowers, and the other for the ribbons. Cut the flower gel sheet into petals, and arrange them into a flower. Apply hard gel to the center of the flower and cure. 

7. On a piece of foil sculpt a face with white acrylic.  

8. Decorate the face with gel, acrylic paint, and embellishments.  

9. Arrange and attach your gel fans and ribbons with acrylic to the nails. Then attach the mask and flowers with acrylic.

10. The hand piece was created with feathers, a broach, and charms. Gold chain attached to the mask and the pinkie nail connects the hand piece to the nails and serves as a hand decoration. Charms are attached to a gold chain connected to the butterfly. 

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.