Simone Radley shares her top tips for nail competition success

By Sophie Nutt | 14 February 2020 | Expert Advice, Feature

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Since immersing herself in the nail industry just three years ago, Simone Radley has stunned the UK nail sector by excelling in industry competitions country-wide and imparting her skills on others in her role as an INK London educator. Enthralled by the excitement, buzz and sense of achievement associated with competitions, in the last 12 months, Simone has scooped 14 medals and trophies – as well as placing as a Scratch Stars Awards finalist – while building her salon clientele and teaching.

“I think competing is so important because you learn so much about yourself and your work,” smiles Simone, because you learn so much about yourself and your work,” says Simone. “It’s totally different from salon work, so by doing it you learn new skills, which is really important in an ever evolving industry and it keeps you on your toes and increases your skill level. You’ll also start to view day-to-day work from a different perspective, so it’s a great way to push yourself.

“My advice to anyone thinking of competing is to do it! You have nothing to lose, but make sure you book some competition training or a one-to-one with someone that competes so you know what you’re doing. Give it a go – you might just love it.”

After placing at Nailympia London 2019 in Salon Nails (2nd place, Division 2), Competition Pink & White Gel Tip & Overlay (2nd place, Division 2), and Gel Perfect Match (1st place, Division 2), Simone shares her top tips for each:

Salon Nails
“Just think of what you’d normally do in your everyday salon work and keep it natural. Convince as many of your clients as you can to have pink & white nails a month or two before the competition date so that you can get the practice in.”

Gel Tip & Overlay
“Practice! L&P acrylic is my first love and so gel is not my go-to technique. I also prefer sculpting with forms as opposed to using tips, so practice is definitely key. If you’re not familiar with using tips then use them in your salon work for at least a month before the competition to get used to using them.”

Gel Perfect Match
“Measure and measure again. When the time is right and your mind is racing at 100mph it is easily overlooked but your ruler is your best friend.”

The Joy Of Bling!
Simone’s nail creation for The Joy Of Bling category at Nailympia London 2019 gained a lot of attention from passers-by, fellow competitors and the judges. The crystal-encrusted swan earned Simone 3rd place in Division 2.

“I was really nervous before Nailympia London 2019 and didn’t sleep very well for a number of days,” admits Simone. “I didn’t really know what to do for this category and one night at about 3am it just came to me – I had to do a swan! The next day I started thinking of how I wanted it to look and what I could do to achieve it. I knew I wanted it to be completely over the top so I ordered loads of crystals and had a go.

“For the body I used lace gel and I moulded the neck and head in white acrylic before sticking them together. I then covered it in clear hard gel, poured on some Swarovski Crystal Pixie and cured. For the wings, I used clear hard gel on some for paper for the shape, peeled them off before coating in more gel and stuck the crystals onto it. I attached the wings and stuck the swan onto the nail with more hard gel and added in any extra crystals that I needed. It was down to the wire time-wise but I was happy with the outcome.”

Read more about Simone’s career story and competition success in the January issue of Scratch