Full Name: Liina Leino
Hometown: Helsinki
Preferred Nail Art Medium: Acrylic
Favorite Nail Trend: Painted characters

I am the most playful person you have ever encountered, a 26-year-old Finnish nail tech with eight years of experience as a nail artist. Imagination and insight are my greatest assets in the competition. I will break boundaries and give my all to Nails Next Top Nail Artist. You want a show? Watch me joggle.

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Final Challenge: CND

Manus x Machina

Click on the image above to enlarge and see all six sets.

The theme for the sixth part of our challenge was to recreate a set of the Manus x Machina challenge. I chose to re-do the Pleats and Folds set since I was a bit confused on the assignment. I did not realize that we were supposed to use actual machine-made parts and I created the set to look like it was machine made. This time I used satin ribbon on my set to represent the Machina part of the challenge. I encapsulated the ribbon with gel on eight nails. It’s actually very hard to work with fabric and gel, so I’m really pleased of the outcome. The ribbons on the set will circle around my model’s hands and arms. Everything else is handmade with hard gel and gel paints.

Click here to see a video diary of Liina’s nails.

Click here to see a Pinterest board of Liina’s nails.

Week 10: EzFlow

Avant-Garde Acrylic

The colors immediately reminded me of a carousel. I wanted to make a set that was very feminine and decorated. I wanted the set to be bursting with flowers and carousel animals. I made the animals so that they circle around themselves on the poles, that way the set comes to life. I wanted the set to be clean and visual at the same time. I created encapsulated roses on the middle fingers to give the set a softer look. The pink and white ombre roses are actually called the carousel roses, so they suited the set perfectly. This set was incredibly fun to make. My social media artist name “Kohokukkia” translates to 3-D flowers, so the floral set was a perfect way to end the competition.

Click here to see a video diary of Liina’s nails.

Week 9: Bio Seaweed Gel

Paint the Town

I am originally from Turku, Finland. Turku is my home town and I love those streets, but Helsinki gave me all the possibilities I needed to become the person I am today. Helsinki is the capital city and the cultural center of Finland. Helsinki is filled with amazing architecture and museums, and different events that keep people busy. It was a good kind of a culture shock to move from Turku to Helsinki; suddenly I was surrounded by artists and social media, and I made new awesome friends and important contacts. Helsinki is so busy and I love it!

Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial for how Liina created these nails.

Week 8: ibd

Scream Queens

I wanted to create a fierce set that was graphic but also contained sparkling glitter. I created multiple sharp objects with gel: nail scissors, nail file, syringe, Swiss army knife, nails, and screws. There is the nail tech’s worst nightmare on the little finger: a broken bottle of red nail polish. I painted the tips red and added glitter for a touch of glam. I added fun details to my work. The syringe is filled with liquid green poison. I made the Swiss army knife as realistic as possible and added rusty look to all the metal parts. This set was incredibly fun to make, I was just bursting with Halloween vibes!

Click here to see a video diary of Liina’s nails.

Week 7: INM

Northern Lights

On a cold and clear night, you might see a grand light show in the sky. Finnish people call them “revontulet,” a name that translates “fox’s fire.” In a Finnish folktale a fox ran so fast through the snowy hills, that its tale hit fire and sparkles against the snowy ground creating the lights in the sky. I used both gel and acrylic to create my Finnish landscape. This set is very personal to me, as the Finnish winter in all its beauty is very close to my heart.

Click here to see a step-by-step tutorial for how Liina created these nails.

Week 6: Artistic

The Artist Within

I’ve made arts and crafts since I was 5 years old, sitting in front of my desk and singing the whole time. Now, 21 years later I’m doing the same thing as my living. Art has been my way of life, it gives me peace of mind and it is my therapy. I’m in this current situation in life thanks to arts and crafts. I have always been interested in multiple art forms. I could sing for my living, I can paint, I can do calligraphy, and I love to knit and crochet.

I chose origami as my theme since it represents my current family; when I met my man I was making origami. He broke one and I forced him to make me a new one. When we had our daughter I made her an origami mobile above her crib.

I make art for art’s sake and I’m never satisfied. I’ve got a sick sense of self-criticism that makes me easily depressed, but as my favorite artist, Ben Haggerty puts it:  “A true artist won’t be satisfied. So I guess that’s the sacrifice.”

Click here to see a video diary of Liina’s nails.


Week 5: Akzéntz

Decade Decadence

Back to the ’80s
I chose the ’80s because it’s not just a decade; it’s a state of mind. The ’80s pop culture is so innocent. Lyrics described the horrors of the world but the tunes were so happy it was almost eerie. I love the colors of the ’80s, creativeness of the electronic music, and the playfulness of ’80s movies. I added scenes from my favorite ’80s movies: Tron, Ghostbusters, and Back to the Future. I really enjoyed painting the ’80s fabric styled nails and it gave me joy to create the 3-D nails using only gel.

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

I wanted to stay true to myself and create a set with multiple characters, something that I love to do. This set was incredibly fun to create. I paired every good guy with a villain. Heroes were placed on the top and villains were placed under the nails. I really wanted to challenge myself and decided to handpaint the characters under the nails. Hand painting characters isn’t easy and it’s something that you learn to do with time. I made two step-by-step tutorials of the characters including one for Simba from the Lion King (my absolute favorite film as a child), and one for Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty.

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

Week 3: Gel II

Timeless Treasure

I thought of making this set around some very obvious things that I treasure, like my beautiful daughter, my hobbies, or my job. The thing is, I have spent many nights awake and thought about climate change. Everything I treasure and love is on this planet and I’m scared of the legacy we leave our children. I made a piece of every climate on this set. We can’t prevent climate change from happening but you can slow it down by changing your own behavior. We only have one planet and need to treasure it.

Click here to see a video diary of Liina’s nails.

Week 2: Orly

Sunset Strip

When I got my Sunset Strip challenge I had to study the subject. I watched a couple of documentaries of the Strip and fell in love with a famous hotel called Chateau Marmont. I love the smoky vibes of the ’30s and I always feel at home in old buildings. Chateau Marmont has housed multiple wild artists since the ’30s and there is a saying: “If you must get in trouble, do it at the Chateau Marmont.” It certainly feels like a place for me.

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

Week 1: Gelish

Squadron Goals

I have traveled a lot but this time my inspiration was not on Earth. I wanted to make a different set for my true dream destination: the moon! Since the set was about traveling I added only space travel themes to it; world-famous Buzz Aldrin, Laika the space dog, a satellite, and Apollo 11 spacecraft. I used LED lights in my set to create an astro technology feel.

Click here to see a video diary of Liina’s nails.