Episode 3 Recap And Nail Tips: Fantasy and Bridal Nails

This week’s episode asked the three contestants—Kandi Banks, Ashley Craig and Winnie Huang—to create fantasy-style bridal bouquet nails. In other words, they had to create ultra-long, three-dimensional nails that, when the hands were held together, looked like a bouquet of flowers that a bride would carry on her wedding day. Seem ridiculous? Maybe. But to the professional nail competitor this is a fairly normal request.

Believe it or not, there are many nail competitions where professional manicurists compete in a variety of categories. One of the most exciting is Fantasy Nail Art where competitors create lavish 3-D nails surrounding a theme. To the average person, this may seem somewhat strange, even ridiculous, but once you understand the amount of work and talent it takes to create these masterpieces, you might reconsider.

Each of the 3-D elements that are attached to the nails are created from scratch, sculpted out of acrylic or gel, which are products that start off as a gooey substances but, as they cure, harden. In the salon, they are used to create nail enhancements (sometimes called “fake nails”), but in competitions they are used to build fantastical designs. For Fantasy Nail Art competitions, the nail artists build extravagant scenes—including people, trees, cars and more—and attach them to nail tips. The model wears these nails so the scenes are displayed on her hands. What’s more, the model dresses up in a costume to further enhance the theme. Check out some of the entries from a recent NAILPRO Nail Competition with the theme Rock ‘n Roll:

This competitor got creative with the Rock ‘n Roll theme and created a caveman “rock and roll” look.
[Photo courtesy of NAILPRO]

This model is showcasing the inside of a tour bus on her tips.
[Photo courtesy of NAILPRO]

Even these three ’60s singers were built entirely out of acrylic!
[Photo courtesy of NAILPRO]

Bridal Nails

[Photo courtesy of Nail It!]

While this week’s competitors created awesome, yet impractical, 3-D bridal designs, wedding nails are important. After all, your hands will be photographed with your new rings, and having beautiful tips finishes off the picture. Use these guidelines to get your nails wedding-ready in the months, weeks and days leading up to the big event!

3 Months Before: Start getting regular manicures every one to two weeks. This will get your natural nails into tip-top form, especially if you want to grow out your nails for the big day. If you have strong natural nails then a standard mani will do the trick. But if you have weak nails that tend to break or split, consider getting gel polish manicures; these will provide some added support to help your nails grow. Just make sure that the gels are removed correctly (no picking!) so as not to damage your natural nails.

1 Month Before: If you’re thinking of getting wedding nail art, now’s the time to start researching it. Just like you do hair and makeup trials, you’ll want to test out your nail art. Look online for nail art designs that you like. Start by checking out Nail It! magazine to get some great ideas! Then, if you don’t have one already, find a nail artist that can do it for you. Make an appointment and bring a copy of your design. Have the artist design the nails for you, catering it to your style and look.

2 Weeks Before: Treat yourself to a spa manicure, complete with a scrub, masque and paraffin treatment. This will provide hydration to ensure soft and supple skin. It’s also a good time to add on services, like anti-aging treatments.

1 Week Before: Apply cuticle oil to your nails morning and night every day from now until your wedding—no matter what you have on your tips! This will help maintain the integrity of your natural nails as well as keep dry cuticles and hang nails at bay.

5 Days Before: Things are about to get hectic with last minute details, out-of-town guests and pre-wedding-day events. So, if you’re going to have extensive nail art, make your appointment now so that you have the time to spend two hours at the nail salon. This type of nail art is typically done with gel polish, acrylic or hard gel, so your nails will easily hold up over the next five days.

1 Day Before: If you’re getting a natural nail manicure, wait until the last possible moment to get the service done; you want to limit the amount of time for chipping polish. Apply top coat on the day of the wedding for an added layer of protection and keep up with the cuticle oil morning and night.

Stephanie Lavery
Editor-in-Chief, Nail It!
Twitter: @Steph_Lavery, @NailItMag
Instagram: @Steph_Lavery, @NailItMag

Check out this week's DIY nail tutorial:

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