Caitlin Iley

Nail Tech Talk: Meet Alice Nali, Scratch Stars Nail Stylist of the Year 2023

By Callie Iley | 24 September 2023 | Feature, Tech Talk

Alice Nali Nail Tech Talk Feature

Get to know Italian-born Alice Nali, Scratch Stars Nail Stylist of the Year 2023, who shares her nail story, journey to success & future goals…

Alice Nali first visited a nail salon around the age of 10, and fondly remembers the range of colours and glitters displayed on the shelves. Fascinated by the concept of creating art on nails, she began to practice techniques at home and attended a beauty academy near Udine, northwest Italy, at the tender age of 16.

On qualifying, Alice was snapped up by a salon and worked on clients during the week, while being driven across Italy at the weekends by her parents to attend nail courses, as she wasn’t old enough to drive. By the age of 19, she had attained 50 nail qualifications and certificates, and two years later, had built up the confidence to open her own nail business from home.

For three years, Alice transformed the nails of her local clients and was invited back to her former beauty academy to teach a class, where she uncovered a love for education. At the age of 24, she moved from Italy to London, where she worked in a salon for several months lockdown hit, and she used the time to hone in on her social media skills and enrol in online courses.

Alice has since established herself in London, completing further teaching qualifications and opening up AlyNails Salon & Academy, from which she offers nail extension services including extreme styling, classic and luxury manicures and pedicures, and hand-painted nail art, her signature service.

“I love to add unique nail art to nails whenever possible, using pigments and gel paints,” she shares. “My favourite designs to paint are cartoon characters, and I enjoy sculpting 3D shapes using L&P acrylic and acrygel.

“I find a lot of inspiration from nail magazines and social media, and I like to look for ideas in the fashion sector and via street art and cake designs. I’m always inspired by the skills of Olena Oezman, Mino Vo, Corinne Di Battista, and Barbara and Kristina Újvári, and the knowledge of Marian Newman BEM.”

The move to London also encouraged Alice to compete in a number of nail contests, including the Scratch Stars Awards. “I enjoy being part of an industry that’s constantly evolving,” she shares.

“I like to learn and improve, and share my passion with other nail techs, and I plan to continue competing and building my name in the industry. I also hope to carry on supporting the development of nail technicians through teaching.”

Alice decided to enter the Scratch Stars Awards 2023 to challenge herself and see what she could achieve from the opportunity. “I wasn’t expecting to have so much fun, and I really enjoyed the full process, from the finalist announcement to the adrenaline on the competition day, and the excitement of the awards party,” she shares.

“When I got the email announcing that I was a finalist for Nail Stylist of the Year, I couldn’t believe it – and had to read it three times,” Alice remembers. “I was so happy, glad and excited to see what I had to do to win the title, which before that moment, felt like a very far dream.”

Remembering the morning of the competition day, Alice met her model and headed towards Oxford Street with a suitcase full of nail supplies and equipment ready to compete after two months of training and practice. “We arrived at the London College of Beauty Therapy two hours earlier than needed, because I was worried we wouldn’t arrive in time to find it,” she smiles.

“I wanted to mix as many techniques and skills as I could fit in one hour onto two nails, so I planned one nail with a double French with black and white shades and a hand-painted Mickey Mouse design. For the second nail, I wanted something lighter, with watercolours and a 3D butterfly built and painted on top.”

Alice’s competition nails

“On the day of the awards party, I was nervous, but I knew I had to enjoy the night, and it was so special being surrounded by people who share the same passion and dreams. When I heard my name, I was so happy I started crying – I couldn’t believe it,” Alice recalls. “The night was just perfect, and the party was incredible.

“Winning the Scratch Stars Nail Stylist of the Year title is an incredible feeling. I can’t wait to apply in 2024 already! I keep my trophy in a glass cabinet in the salon for my clients to see because I’m so proud of it.”

“I feel so happy and satisfied since winning, and it’s helped my confidence and my commitment to competing.”

“I think all nail techs should enter a competition at least once. It’s fun, challenging and an amazing experience. Preparing for a competition stretches your skills and challenges you to improve your precision, which supports salon work. It increases your confidence, improves your skills and pushes you out of your comfort zone.

“My clients and students understand the importance of the award and the commitment behind it. They’re proud to visit an award-winning pro and my students feel that the information they’re studying is coming from a talented, recognised person. My clients were so happy and proud of the work I did,” Alice smiles. “All of them wanted to know the details of the competition and they pushed me to carry on. Lots of them shared my win on their social pages and spread the word to neighbours and friends. It has been an incredible year and I am excited for future opportunities.”

Follow Alice Nali on Instagram and Facebook