Sometimes passing judgment is a good thing. Whether you’re looking to enter the competition arena for the first time or you’re simply interested in improving your technique at the salon, these judging criteria provided by Peel’s Salon Services to its competitors may help you figure out why your nails don’t look exactly like the ones winning trophies.

Front Form: Are all nails consistent nail to nail and hand to hand? Is the shape attractive to the hand? Do all free edges match?

Length: Is it even from nail to nail and hand to hand? (Hint: Use a cuticle stick to check the length of each nail.) Does the length complement the hand?

Product Control: Is there a definite distinction between the white tip and the nail plate? Is the smile line smooth? Are there any bubbles or lifting? Is the white tip opaque and even in color? Is the nail plate crystal clear?

Surface: Are there any scratches? Are there any dull spots? Does the surface look like glass?

Cuticles and Sidewall Thinness: Does the product blend into the natural nail at the cuticle without a ridge or bump? Is the product thin and tapered at the sidewalls?

Side View - Top Arch: Is the apex at the stress area? Is the stress area reinforced?

Side View - Lower Arch: Does the arch follow the natural nail line? Is the lower arch conducive to the upper arch?

Barrel View - “C” Curve: Is the arch centered? Are all edges thin and balanced? Is the “C” curve consistent nail to nail?

Underside: Do you have a good fit with your forms to prevent seepage? Do you have traces of adhesive, dust, or filings underneath the nail?

Polish Application: Are all edges covered (including the extension edge)? Is the cuticle line clean? Is there any polish on the skin? Is there any polish under the extension edge?

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