Full Name: Karrie Bowers
Hometown: Morgantown, W.Va.
Salon: Beautopia Nails
Preferred Nail Art Medium: Soak-off gel and art gels
Favorite Nail Trend: Jewelry elements

I’ve been very interested in nails nearly my whole life, though I became licensed only a couple years ago. The amazing, ever-growing community of talented nail artists online — professional and amateur alike — inspired me to turn my lifelong hobby into a career. I find that with every client and every manicure, my passion for this business grows. I believe in strong product education for both the client and professional, and hope to eventually add “educator” to my resume. I’m really excited to be part of this competition!

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Week 4: INM


I have never examined my heritage closely; my mother is adopted and I don’t know much about my father, as they divorced when I was a baby. I never have felt like that’s sad at all, as my mother’s parents were the most important people in my life growing up. I was closer to them, and their relatives, than a lot of people with whom I share blood. Lots of people have similar circumstances, and honestly I think it makes those people really interested in the history and heritage of others. I’m so happy that through my husband’s family, my daughter has a traceable ancestry, and a pretty huge family. My husband’s mother’s family are Campbells, and I’m very fond of them all, so I decided this, paired with the fact that I’ve always been fascinated by the beauty and mystery of Scotland, and a couple other reasons, I decided to base my nail set on this magical and gorgeous place.


For the Highland crags, I used acrylic built over foil and then painted them with polish and a makeup sponge to give them depth. I used hard gel and CND Additives to create the loch and placed Nessie (made with acrylic over foil and painted with gel-polish) in the middle. I sculpted the flag, ring of stones, boulders, knife and sporran from acrylic and painted them all with various polishes and gel-polishes. I used thread to create the fringe on the sporran. The plaid or tartan nails were painted with gel-polish and finished with striping tape. The whiskey glass is all made from hard gel.


This week, I really tried to focus on the notes from the judges on my previous submissions. I didn’t go nearly big enough with the Bio Seaweed Gel challenge, so I tried to lose my inhibitions and go bigger with my concept here. I also really worked on the quality of my video this week by adding transitions, making my editing smoother, and adding an intro that I think is more enjoyable to watch.


Click here to see a video of how Karrie created these nails.

Week 3: ORLY International


After getting this challenge, I worked out the idea I wanted, imagined it on a model’s hands, then two days later, the flu invaded my life. Nice. Since I really loved the concept I came up with and also really didn’t want to infect a model with the “yick,” I opted to do the look on my own nails. While I do a lot of work on my own nails on a regular basis, this wouldn’t normally be an issue, however for my concept to really work on myself, I had to work upside down, and do the most detailed side with my non-dominant hand. Not ideal, so I painted the film strip directly on the nails of my right hand, but for the Hollywood detail I made letter decals from gel-polish and applied them.


I took a very literal interpretation of this challenge — “LA-focused French.” All 10 nails are a French of a sort. I started with an opaque nude that flattered my skin tone. Then I painted an elongated, modern French tip on white on the left hand and shimmery pewter on the right. I extended one side of the smile line toward the cuticle to create a slight vignette effect. I based the art in this manicure on the “LA” hand sign that you see a lot lately on Instagram and Pinterest, where it’s usually used in a context that evokes a sort of hipster, carefree west coast vibe. I wanted to use the nails that are visible when making this hand sign to be the feature nails. For the “L” hand, three nails show a design based on a film strip with a “Hollywood” text inspired by the font used in the famous sign but in a more whimsical layout to complement my theme. The underside of the thumb and index finger that show when making the hand sign are painted coral. For the “A” hand, the index and middle are painted with the tall, swaying palms that are so iconic in photographs of Los Angeles, and an “L.A. Gear”-esque, beachy-colored interlocking LA to tie in the idea of the hand sign.


Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial of how Karrie created these nails.

Week 2: Bio Seaweed Gel


For this challenge, I was inspired by under-sea life. I’m especially drawn to mermaid tails. The textures and colors of the mythical mermaid’s tail are inspirational to me in my work, so I definitely wanted to include one on a nail. I also love the color and vibrancy of coral reefs so I included the flora and fauna of a healthy reef. I created the tail from a base of aluminum foil covered in a layer of CND Brisa Lite Sculpting Gel in pink and decorated in assorted glitters and CND Shellac shades. I handpainted the scales with gel-polish as well. The fish was made similarly, from a base of foil covered in Sculpting Gel, and painted with Shellac. For the rocks and cave, I used Brisa Lite again, this time in white to create the craggy lines. The texture that makes this product ideal for creating the perfect smile line made this a great choice to represent the rocky mermaid hideaway. For the bubbles and the clam shell, I molded modeling clay into the shapes needed and covered with sculpting gel and then painted the details with Shellac. My starfish was made by painting Shellac onto wax paper and curing. I then peeled it off and applied it with glue to the nail. This challenge was particularly exciting to me, and it was a really fun experience. I love working with gel and really enjoyed coming up with ways to create the vision the theme conjured in my head.


Click here to see a video of how Karrie created these nails.

Week 1: Young Nails


I chose “Never Stop Learning” as my caption. This is more like a life philosophy to me, as I feel if you’re not spending your life learning as much as possible about the world around you, then you’re just wasting your time. My husband often jokes that I would kill on Jeopardy due to my somewhat deep, and generally useless, well of knowledge. I am the freak who read encyclopedias for fun as a child. I read linguistics and anthropology textbooks for pleasure. I will tell you the origin and historical evolution of a word you use in a conversation with me. Put plainly, if you don’t stop me, I can annoy you to death with pointless facts.

But sometimes my hunger for information is an advantage. Every day I am on Instagram, Salon Geek, YouTube, Tumblr, Nail Art Gallery, and other outlets for pro and private nail artists who share their work and inspirations and, as a community of artists, help the field of nail art evolve by developing and showcasing new techniques. I read trade magazines regularly and keep them cataloged for reference. I search the Internet for fashion trends and inspiration. I’m learning every day, not just about nails but about the fascinating world around me. I chose to represent my motto with neon “creative juices” flowing from a tablet playing a Young Nails tutorial. For this mural I used polish, acrylic paint, and gel-polish and included the icons of several sources of education and inspiration I use regularly. Basically, I think it’s important to arm yourself with as much information as possible. In the nail industry, as in any other field, it’s imperative that you have the facts to serve your clients in the way that they deserve.