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You’ve Always Been Mysterious: The Top 3 & The Bottom 3

Posted September 26, 2013


Challenge 2 sponsored by Entity Beauty asked our contestants to create a complete hand and nail look inspired by Entity’s recent ad campaign and the slogan, “You’ve always been mysterious.”

This week’s guest judge was Lorena Marquez of Entity Beauty. Permanent judges included Gelish’s Danny Haile and the staff at NAILS Magazine.


In no particular order, the top 3 are:




Entity Beauty’s Lorena: “Absolutely amazing! The quality of your work is excellent. The lines are very clean and sharp — everything looks very finished. The concept is breathtaking. I love the complete look.”

Gelish’s Danny: “Awesome nail shape! Great inspiration using the theme of Carnivale — very mysterious!”

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: “The 3-D work is extremely elaborate and impressive! Great craftsmanship, and the theme of ‘secret identity’ is clearly evident in the art. But the angle makes it difficult to see the nails — I’m itching to see more of the artwork!”





Entity Beauty’s Lorena: “The nails and artwork are beautiful! The image looks finished and polished. I love that it is not overdone and the shape of the nails is very nice.”

NAILS’ production manager Carla: “The 3-D elements are fun and I love the deep teal and opalescence used to suggest ‘mystery’.”

NAILS’ graphic designer Kim: “Julie cleverly creates a sense of mystery. She uses her ingenuity to create a water-filled gel crystal ball, and the hand, smoke, and crystal ball work so well together. Rotating the model or another hand position could’ve had more impact to show the 3-D hand.”





NAILS’ managing editor Sree: “Lauren’s look is my favorite of the week. I love how the hand positioning shows all of the key elements of the nails, whether it’s the mysterious green locket ring or nail’s studded underside. I also love the execution of the locket ring itself.”

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: “The jewelry inspiration is beautiful and wearable.”

NAILS’ production manager Carla: “This design has some great layering that makes me think of ‘gypsy mystique’ and the beaded underside of the nail is a nice reveal. I also seriously love that the 3-D ring actually opens with a hinge!”



The following techs can breathe again. They are in the middle of this week’s pack and are safe. In no particular order, congratulations to:





NAILS’ managing editor Sree: “Knowing Max’s self-admitted inexperience with 3-D art, I have to say ‘kudos’ for going out of your comfort zone in creating a multi-dimensional look.”

NAILS’ graphic artist Yuiko: “Max’s design is very bold, and stands out clearly against the black background. I love the detail, especially on the wings! But my first impression of these nails was more ‘rock-and-roll’ than mysterious.”

NAILS’ graphic designer Kim: “Max’s nails are edgy and bold. His sculpted 3-D wings, heart, and skull, and his artistry in polishing and handpainting creates amazing depth and energy.”





NAILS’ editor Hannah: “These nails are really pretty. I especially love that you’re on trend with lace. But I wish your 3-D work was more sculpting than just adding jewels and pre-made embellishments.”

NAILS’ group publisher Cyndy: “Lace and crystal is such a pretty look. She’s gone for a super-wearable look that still has flash.”

NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: “I commend Temeka for creating one of the only wearable looks this round. She captured edgy, feminine mysteriousness in a simple design with bows and light-catching metallics.”





Gelish’s Danny: “I like the playful colors and the great-looking fades.”

NAILS’ production manager Carla: “This design brings to mind Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan — it’s a more playful version of ‘mysterious’!”

NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: “Buddy’s nails are fun and adorable. I really like that he thought outside the box by relating mysteriousness to secret admiration, but I’m not sure I’d be able to make the connection myself just by looking at his image.”





NAILS’ editor Hannah: “I love your final image! And I appreciate the different techniques you used to create texture on the nails. Your 3-D elements are more of embellishments than actual 3-D designs. I would have liked to see you push yourself to sculpt elements.”

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: “The composition on Winnie’s design is perhaps the most fitting for an ad. The nails are beautifully constructed, and the mask adds a great effect to the mystery theme. But without the prop, the nails would lose the idea of secret identity.”

Entity Beauty’s Lorena: “It looks nice but would have been better if the fingers were a bit spread apart so they wouldn’t all blend together. The colors and design are cool but the nails are a little thick.”





Entity Beauty’s Lorena: “The nail art is really nice. I would have liked to have seen more of the nails. It’s a little busy, but there are lots of nice elements to the art. Good job!”

Gelish’s Danny: “The handmade 3-D art is spot on. Good use of color, too.”

NAILS art director Danielle: “You have a good mystery approach. Although your 3-D decorations were cool and relevant, I think you should have scaled back them so not to lose sight of the nails. With fewer elements, the ones you use would really stand out.”



Unfortunately, there always has to be a bottom group. The bottom 3, in no particular order, are:





NAILS’ editor Hannah: “These are definitely a little more creepy than mysterious, but the execution is spot on. Super cool elements. I love the eye! Your painting and artistic abilities are awe-inspiring.”

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: “I love Hocus Pocus! But ultimately I think this nail art is more creepy than mysterious.”

NAILS’ graphic designer Kim: “I love the texture of Lexi’s art. The creepy eye on one of the accent nails looks like it could come to life and blink!”





NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: “The craftsmanship on Victoria’s design is very intricate, especially on the index finger! The crystal ball helps with the theme of mystery, but without it, the nails would need something extra to create that puzzling look.”

NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: “I like Victoria’s whimsical fortune-teller image a lot. It definitely evokes the right emotions and the wearable 3-D is very cool! I do wish she used more mysterious colors though — I’m not the biggest fan of the rainbow accent for this design concept.”

NAILS art director Danielle: “In theory, your design sounds great. Unfortunately, the nails blend into the crystal ball — making it hard to see the design. Your nails need to stand out and have the ‘it’ factor in every challenge.”





Gelish’s Danny: “Great use of color. Nice shape. Design could have used more definition. The apple told the story.”

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: “The idea is unique, and the apple adds to the mystery. However, without that prop, I’m not sure if the nails are mysterious enough. I would like to see more variety in the nail art and perhaps a better hand positioning as if she’s handing you the apple.”

NAILS’ art director Danielle: “You are so creative, but I feel like you are holding back. It was a good story to draw inspiration from. I would have like to have seen the longer nails. Entity‘s ads all have very long nails. Maybe you could have even sculpted the actual nails to have the smoke shape you have on top of the nails. Fantastic job on your step-by-steps — great explanations.”

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