Acrylic Nails

Ask Vicki: Vicki Peters Answers Your Technical Questions

Vicki Peters receives hundreds of phone calls from nail technicians who have questions about the art of competing. This month Peters answers the most frequently asked questions about competitions.

As the director for NAILS Magazine Shows and a former competitor herself, Vicki Peters receives hundreds of phone calls from nail technicians who have questions about the art of competing. This month Peters answers the most frequently asked questions about competitions.

What Time Does the Competition Start?

Good question, but not a simple one. Do you want to know what time the actual competition starts? What time the registration starts? When the briefing starts? Or what time you can set up? Most competitions have a registration period of 1-2 hours before the actual competition begins. You can use this time to set up your station. Going over the rules with the competition director usually takes about 1/2-hour and then you’re allowed a break before the actual start of the competition. Once a competition starts, you can’t leave the area.

Is It Necessary to Preregister?

No. Onsite registration is usually available. Sometimes the trade show will offer a discount if a competitor preregisters. Preregistration will usually guarantee a position in the competition.

Can We Use Chamois Buffers?

Not usually. I believe the reason for their exclusion is that chamois buffers do not meet some state board regulations because they cannot be sanitized and are not classified as disposable.

Three- and four-sided buffers, high-gloss block buffers, and any other disposable buffers are usually allowed for shining and buffing.

Can We Use a Drill?

Most competitions do not allow drills. In my own experience in the competition circuit, I have seen only two competitions that allowed drills.

Do We Use Our Own Products?

Yes. You must provide all your own supplies, including lamps and extension cords. Read the rules and regulations regarding containers that you are allowed to have to hold your products. Some competitions want everything labeled in no-name brand containers, while other competitions don’t restrict the types of containers. However, all products must be labeled with content (acrylic liquid, powder, primer, acetone, etc.) to meet state board regulations.

Can I Do My Own Nails?

No, you must use a model.

How Much Time Is Allowed?

Generally, two and a half hours is allowed to complete a full set of nails. Some competitions allow only two hours. I know of one competition that allows 45 minutes to do only one hand, and you polish just three of the five nails.

How Are Sculptured Nails Scored?

Sculptured nails scores are based on quality in several areas: consistency, cuticle area, side wall, product control, C-curve, tips, smile line, buffing, polish, general shape and contour, thinness at cuticle and free edge, reinforced stress area, back and side fit, and cleanness.

Nail art is judged by consistency, use of colors, clarity of line, theme continuity, and workmanship.

Point allotment is done in a variety of ways. Let’s look at some different systems:

30-Point System. The first place winner is awarded 30 points. Second place gets a score of 29, third gets 28. Twenty-seven is not used. Fourth gets 26 points, and so on. There are generally three judges, and the scores are added up or averaged for the final scores.

Elimination System. Each of the three or more judges chooses the top 10 contestants and eliminated all the rest. The judges then take their top 10 to the tally person; the scores are averaged to determine the top 10. The top 10 are judged once more. The top five are then chosen and judged again for placement. No scores are given.

10-Point System. Judges give one point for each perfect nail. Or, the system is sometimes reversed and judges take away one point from a start of 10 for each nail that is not perfect.

Besides varieties of point allotment systems, there are different methods of judging:

Open Judging. Judges can see the model as they judge. This is not the most popular method of judging and can be uncomfortable for the judge because the competitors watch their models being judged. It is also easier to be distracted when judging openly.

Closed Judging. Judges sit at a table behind a curtain with the model seated on the other side. The model slips her hands through a 6-inch slot in the curtain and places her hands on the table. This gives the judge an opportunity to judge privately. Each judge is usually in a separate booth and doesn’t see the competitors at anytime during the process.


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