Lilly Delmage

NAIL TECH TALK: Kayley Cairns, Scratch Stars finalist 20/21

By Lilly Delmage | 07 May 2021 | Feature, Tech Talk

Kayley Cairns Ssas21

Kayley Cairns is a Scratch Stars Awards finalist in the Mixed Media Artist of the Year (sponsored by Magpie Beauty) and Nail Stylist of the Year (sponsored by OPI UK) categories 20/21. Here, shares her experience in the nail industry thus far, her lockdown endeavours and why she entered the Scratch Stars Awards

Kayley began her nail industry journey in 2009, training in liquid & powder enhancements with CND. She then got a job in a salon, just months before CND launched SHELLAC™.

“In 2011 I became a SHELLAC™ educator for CND. I worked many trade shows for Sweet Squared (CND’s UK distributor), at press events and at London Fashion Week and was offered training in not just nails but teaching, public speaking and marketing.”

Kayley then went on to pass her CND Masters in acrylic twice and became acquainted with Hazel Dixon, who inspired her, ‘to train in everything – from design acrylic to extreme shapes’.

“In 2017, wanting to grow outside of my comfort zone, I left my position with CND to join Hazel Dixon Nail Artist Academy. This enabled me to teach a wider range of nail professionals as well as expand to a range of products to suit my growing needs as a competitive nail artist.

“Since joining the HD Nail Artist Academy, I have been shortlisted as a Scratch Stars finalist three times in the Mixed Media category and twice for Nail Stylist of the Year.”

Kayley’s tool kit essentials include the HD Pro Art Gel Paints, HD Pro Acrylic Cover Pink in Silk Rose, Akzentz topcoat in Shine On and the Nail Artists French Twista L+P brush.

When asked about how lockdown impacted her, Kayley opens up about struggling with her mental health after losing enthusiasm for competitions and nail art.

“I stepped away from work and actually what I discovered was myself a little more. I recognised that while I have so many certificates for nails, outside of our industry I have very little other options for work and that made me uncomfortable. If I can’t do this job, what else could I offer? So, I signed up for a three-year art degree to enable me, should I wish or need to leave our industry, to become an art teacher.

“As part of it, I have learned photography skills which will no doubt benefit my nail career and it has also changed the way I think about what I am creating – I am working on creating more original work then I was before.”

Kayley with Nailympia awards & certificates

When asked if she believes it is important to keep training, she commented, “Keeping training keeps us enthused, it prevents standards from slipping as well as keeping us up-to-date with updated technology knowledge.”

She further explained how important it is to continue competing, as it forces you to practice and allows you to learn from peers through networking, “Innovation is often found through competition,” she comments.

“I’ve been a reader of Scratch since I started nails and the people in it have inspired me to work and try hard right from the start.

“The Scratch Stars Awards is the only real nails-only competition in our industry and it is judged in person in a competition environment.”

“I would love to win a Scratch Star Award! God loves a trier, right? I’ve been runner up quite a few times so to actually make it to a win is a big hope!”

Kayley enjoys working with mixed media due to the freedom it provides. “I love that I can create so many different looks and textures when working with an assortment of products. There are so many different ways to create different effects so it’s like being a child in a sweet shop!”

“To date my highlight was winning at Nailympia, it has scared me for a long time (the thought of entering it) but I decided I would go for it with everything I had. I’ve had some great experiences with nails which would be highlights for many, but Nailympia wasn’t an opportunity given to me by who I knew or worked for, it came about through hours and hours of hard work and practice. When I won, I was so overwhelmed I just cried, proud that I had done it (and I’m not that kind of emotional person!).”

One of Kayley’s favourite parts of working in the nail industry is the freedom it gives her to be her own boss, as well as spending her days with likeminded people who share her same passions.

“Our industry is passionate and creative and the network of friends it has given me is something I’ll treasure forever.”

Follow Kayley on Facebook and Instagram.

Discover whether Kayley scoops the titles in her Scratch Stars categories at The Scratch Stars Party 2021. Tickets on sale here.