Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Competition tips from Sam Biddle

Competition Tips from Sam Biddle

With the Nail Olympics looming in September, I thought now would be a good time to have a look at the different skills to have when competing. I'm looking forward to the nail olympics in London this year and I will be running a seminar on nail art trends and on how to increase revenue in salons using nail art and i am lucky enough to be one of the international judges this year. I look forward to seeing you there!

There are two distinct ways to approaching competing, the holistic thoughtful approach and then the down right practical.  Winners are those who have a nice balance of both. 
Sometimes our approach to the competing  is not inline with our perceived outcome.    The saying “it's not the winning but the taking part that counts” is a saying we have all heard and perhaps said it to others our selfs, but if we are honest do we really think it applies to us?   
Getting the approach to competing right in our heads, will ultimately mean when it comes down to the practical side of competing we are one step closer.  Take a moment to realize why you are entering the competition, what are your goals.  Do you want the recognition? Do you want to improve your skills? Is it the feedback from the judges your interested in? or perhaps you want to market your competing to improve your business.  Finding out your drive to enter a competition will help you focus in the competition. Each of the points I have mentioned is a valid benefit to competing and means regardless of a 1st 2nd or 3rd place you are still a winner.  
If your entering the Nail Olympics or any nail competition you should have already grasps the basics, you should know what is expected and what you can produce in the way of winning nails.  However there are some extra little things which might work towards giving you the edge over the competition.
Before you start this journey you must be realistic.  It might seem harsh for me to say this,  but judge your own nails and be honest.  it is no good ‘hoping’ that the judges don't notice that your nails aren't perfect or that the judges will miss that your smile lines aren't crisp for example. These same judges have been in your shoes, and have done their fair share of hoping, good judges will be the toughest to ‘blindside’.  

So lets get down to some practical advice,
The first and very important thing to do is to read and understand the rules.....they are written to help and guide you.  International competitions like the Olympics are run very differently from national competitions, worldwide nail techs are coming together to compete with their varied experiences, and its up to the head judge to develop a good criteria to follow which suits multiple nations.  Language and translation of specific terms might become confusing.  I think it is always worth finding out more information if your worried at all. 
If you have entered a competition before you are normally given a score sheet, this sheet is invaluable, look at the criteria's the judges are scoring your nails against, finds out how many marks you can achieve with each criteria, for example if you get just 5 points for a polish but 25 points for floor judging...then make sure whilst your working you are aware of this and keep your working space tidy! the other thing to remember is these score sheets are a route map to improving your nails, as they will tell you where your skills need work.

Another good point to consider when entering is your model,  regardless if it is for pink and white or fantasy make sure she fits the bill, her nails are good and she is willing to be there and support you! Sometimes within international competitions it is hard to find models, but with the help of Facebook and the right nail community you can pretty much ask a fellow tech to find you one suitable when you arrive.  I would advice paying them for their trouble, it always helps.

There is a wealth of tips and steps to help compete with pink and white but it is design nails and fantasy which are my passion and speciality.  If there is a theme try and think out side the box but ultimately keep it simple.  Over complicating the design will turn off the judges, but having a simple design which has detail and creative workmanships is much better. But don’t mistake ‘keeping it simple’ for ‘less is more’.  Although you don’t want to overload your nail and designs you don’t want large empty spaces either.   Entering a design sculpt competition means your design nails need to include a good structure. Don't forget about you c curves and side walls, remember the nail has to be well formed as well as the design. Also think about your design story over the whole 10 nails, and not just apply a little flower on the ring finger for example. 
Gel nails are always let down by their shape and c curve. Trying to  get a great model who’s nails have the c curve you need is not always possible.  There are some other little tricks you can do to get the shape you need. Apply a thin clear base which you need to pinch before you apply your white, pinching will give you the c curve you need, do do this I use reversed tweezers or pinching clips, available from www.sambiddle.co.uk.  Then apply your pink gel cleaning up the smile line with a clean brush and then your white gel application should be easy, butting up to the ready made smile line. The nicest and easiest white gel for this is INM bright white.  Generally in the arena it gets cold so Warm up your product in your hands if the gel viscosity to very thick!
To get a crisp Smile line use a separate detail brush or striper brush and for good curing a high wattage lamp at all times. For more definition use a brighter pink along the smile line and I would personally custom blend your pink and white, to suit the models skin tones.
Be prepared and don’t rush, When the competition starts, apply 1-2 nails onto the polished hand to overcome adrenaline rush. Remember you have plenty of time, and the mistakes happen when you rush! Prepare the natural  nails by doing a mini manicure the morning on the competition. Use 2 dappen dishes for liquid, one for the white and one for the pink/clear so it is clean and crisp.  When filing Use a new file for each hand, the grit changes as you go, a great way to get a constant look is to File all 10 nails the same way, for example side walls x10, free edge x 10, cuticle x 10.
Wipe the nails with acetone to remove and dissolve any residue dust before you buff.  If you do have any pits or air bubbles apply some brush on resin and once dry buff the surface, they will become invisible. For great polish application, clean up polish brush with acetone before you start, and re-dip into the polish.  
Pre crimp your tips to create beautiful c curve by using with Hot/cold water method, securing the tip around c curve tips.  When your applying a Tip  to the natural nail apply resign to tips and shake downwards to remove excess before application, the last thing you want is resin on the underside of the free edge. 
Entering is an enormous step for most nail technicians, stepping into an unknown arena can be daunting and scaring,  but just stop a moment and take a look around you at the seasoned competitors.  Watch their body language, they are relaxed and take things as they come, this is what it will be like for you too in time,  competing will benefit you as a nail professional, and it will become an enjoyable experience.  Enjoy every moment and learn from it. 

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