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Pretty in Polish: The Top 2 & The Bottom 2

Posted November 7, 2013


Challenge 8, sponsored by Misa Cosmetics, asked our Top 5 design a set of nails inspired by a popular Misa polish name. From Femme Fatale and A Sin Worth Committing to Dirty Sexy Money and Epiphany, see how our Top 5 interpreted these names.

This week’s guest judge was Misa’s Alexis Nguyen. Permanent judges included Gelish’s Danny Haile and the staff at NAILS Magazine.



In no particular order, the top 2 are:




Misa’s Alexis: We can clearly see the planning and research that Ryoko did for this design and she was able to execute with clean detail work, good color choices, and expanding her theme “out of the box.” We see a true nail artist who has an original story and style all her own.

Gelish’s Danny: Beautiful art! Great inspiration!

NAILS’ editor Hannah: Once again, you’ve wowed us with your talent. I love all the research you did and your unique take on Misa’s Femme Fatale. The detail on your Medusa and stone faces is great! And I love that you have all those different accent nails. Great set of nails!

NAILS’ graphic designer Kim: Medusa’s eyes are PIERCING, and are such a strong contrast between her victim, a dull stoned figure. As expected, Ryoko has amazing, intricate art that tells an incredible story. The nails are so different, but there’s a nice balance.

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: I loved reading Ryoko’s description of a “Femme Fatale.” Who knew I’d learn about Greek mythology in NTNA! The design is beautifully executed, and Ryoko has done it again with her incredible talent for drawing. The details in the serpents and Medusa’s face are amazing!

NAILS’ managing editor Sree: The nail featuring Medusa’s victim is my favorite. The cracked stone look could translate well to other nail looks, with or without the face.





Misa’s Alexis: We love how she chose and executed this unique theme and this fun, playful set put a big smile on our faces. Such great handwork with those clear, tiny lines. Well done, Julie!

NAILS editor Hannah: I absolutely love this design. I love that you chose A Sin Worth Committing, but you didn’t do “sexy”…instead going with the unexpected sin of sweets. Plus, seriously with that detail? I love the mouths. I love every part of it. And I’m not sure if everyone knows that you painted this on your own hands…I can’t believe you’re that good with your non-dominant hand. It really feels like you’re hitting your stride right when it matters most.

NAILS’ art director Danielle: Love, love, love this! You obviously put a lot of thought and effort into this week’s challenge. I think you truly thought outside the box. I love your whimsical, yet on-target designs. You have “it” this week and you really capture the spirit of this week’s challenge.

NAILS’ production manager Carla: This design is such a cheeky and glam take on “A Sin Worth Committing”. If those nails are wrong, I don’t want to be right!

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: I can’t get over the small intricate details on the candy in Julie’s designs. That Nestle’s Crunch! And that sprinkled doughnut! Incredible! There is so much going on, yet everything is cleanly executed. Great interpretation of the polish name, it’s definitely a sin I am guilty of as well. Nice touch on the gold polish as well.

NAILS’ managing editor Sree: I love all 10 of these nails. My favorite aspect is the attitude Julie gave the lips. They are bold and spunky. I love the candy color palette as well, including the bubblegum pink backdrop.



The following tech can breathe again. She is in the middle of this week’s pack and is safe. Congratulations to:




Misa’s Alexis: We definitely appreciate all the thought that Lauren put into this and her point of view. We simply didn’t see that this thoughtful beginning made it to the final execution and design. Perhaps different color choices would’ve made this a winner for us.

Gelish’s Danny: Abstract and beauty! It’s the ability to overcome life’s challenges that makes us stronger through the inspiration of art. Even if it’s just nails or simply color that gives us inspiration. It is our strength!

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: Lauren, I have to commend you for sharing such a deeply personal story. You channeled those emotions and memories into your nail creation and it truly shows. I have to agree that we overuse the word “epiphany,” but I think that your nail art conveys the true sense of the word, as indescribable and abstract as it may seem. I like that you used the white and gray to represent the “veil” being peeled away, revealing all the beautiful colors underneath. Powerful, personal, and beautiful work.

NAILS’ group publisher Cyndy: OMG. That story is probably at the heart of Lauren’s creativity! The inspiration of the revealed beauty beyond the blankness is elegant and conversation-starting. What I especially like is that Lauren’s art is inspiration in and of itself. I can imagine her sitting with a client and really creating a unique design for a customer that lifts her mood, puts a spring in her step, and makes her look at life with a twinkle in her eye.

NAILS’ graphic designer Kim: Lauren’s overcoming of life’s obstacles is incredible. Thanks to it, her design reads like an art piece that you can ponder and discuss: is she peeling away the white emptiness to reveal her epiphany of real, colorful joy and happiness? Or is she peeling away the crazy whirlwind of a hectic and negative lifestyle to reveal a cleansed, white solid state of mind? I dig it! Though at this stage of the game, it would have been great to change it up a little more on each nail. Congrats on everything you’ve accomplished!

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: Lauren’s interpretation and her story of epiphany is an interesting one, thank you for sharing your lesson. The design is definitely mysterious and unique, but also personal in a sense that each person can interpret their epiphany in their own ways. I wish there was a variety of designs, though, where each tip is slightly different from another.



Unfortunately, there always has to be a bottom group. The bottom 2, in no particular order, are:




Misa’s Alexis: This is a Catch-22 for us because we really like Buddy’s overall design sense but we think this entry is a little too simplistic for a Next Top Nail Artist. Maybe it’s that he intentionally kept the added colors to a minimum as he says in his description. Well done on mixing up that custom color.

NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: Great detail work and nice choice creating contemporary patterns that would appeal to existing clients. I was also very impressed with the custom color Buddy created to match Misa’s Dirty Sexy Money! An all-around mindful design. I would have liked to see more whites and reds because the black didn’t pop out enough on some of the more simple nail designs, but that’s just a personal preference.

NAILS’ managing editor Sree: I appreciate Buddy’s effort at developing a custom color. The look is wearable but I don’t feel like the model finger fits in with the rest of the look.

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: I love the different patterns on Buddy’s design. His attention to detail is impressive, especially with the shadowing that you can see throughout the nails. Great job also on creating a custom color matching the Misa color, and good call on the red and gold details — they definitely compliment the green and the design!

NAILS’ production manager Carla: You did a great job taking the Misa’s eponymous nail color and illustrating the “Dirty Sexy Money” theme with a few nods to high fashion and some really great prints.

NAILS’ graphic designer Kim: Buddy’s design is a lot of fun and an interesting abstract concept that strays from the literal meaning of Dirty Sexy Money. That’s because it’s about the fashion that leaves you cashless. Fun and wearable!





Misa’s Alexis: Being color (and colorful) people, we adore Winnie’s color choices. They match her dark, vampy theme perfectly. Although we like her design, we wish she would have pushed the theme of Femme Fatale to create something unexpected.

Gelish’s Danny: Sexy and deadly!

NAILS’ editor Hannah: Winnie, I love how you made every nail different and really tell a story of a Femme Fatale. It also looks like you’ve been working on keeping your nails a consistent shape and I commend you for that. I just think there is a little too much going on and the design doesn’t pop out at you immediately. Love the trigger finger!

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: You had a lot of ideas here, Winnie. I think the criss-crossing and Victorian lace to show the duality of this Femme Fatale was an interesting concept, but I’m not sure it worked. It may have looked clearer to have the lace and criss-cross elements as an accent nail instead. I do love the deep red and black colors, the woman you painted, and the trigger finger (so clever)! But I feel the cigarette and shoe images get a little lost. And as someone who loves a killer heel, I really wanted to see that detail more clearly.

NAILS graphic designer Kim: I look forward to Winnie’s YouTube videos as well as her step-by-step nail tutorials! She does a great job at telling a story with her photo steps. I like the way the red glitter wraps around each nail differently like a ribbon and each accent is cute and fitting — as cute as a gun can be of course. But Winnie can turn anything into cute!

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: Winnie’s “Femme Fatale” has the strength and boldness of a fierce woman, reminiscent of a Bond Girl. Her choice of colors are very fitting for her theme, but it does get a little difficult to see some of the artwork. Some of the drawings get lost in the background, which could be fixed with cleaner lines.


Check back tomorrow to find out who won this week’s challenge and who’ll be packing up their paintbrushes.