Competition Rules

  1. This competition combines the element of art with the technical aspect of nail structure.
  2. Competitors will be scored on a combination of technical and artistic criteria.
  3. The nails should have a traditional Stiletto shape where the tip of the nail comes to a fine point.
  4. Total time allowed for this competition is 2 hours for 1 hand
  5. Competitor is allowed to choose to sculpt with gel or acrylic and the nails must be sculpted with forms.
  6. Tips are not allowed
  7. The competitor is allowed to use products with any color and glitter.
  8. Design work can be applied inside the application without limitation and/or on top of the nails with art that is no more than 5 millimeters in height.
  9. The competitor may incorporate all types of paint and rhinestones for an added artistic element on top of the nail, but the hand painting will only count for 20% of the total score on all artistic scoring criteria.
  10. The nails will be scored in a similar manner as most artificial enhancement competitions.
  11. There will also be categories such as creativity, artistic design and use of color that will be scored.
  12. The application can be designed to the competitor’s desire and ability.
  13. Gel sealers or top coat must be applied
  14. Electric files are allowed
  15. Oil is allowed
  16. Electric file oil is allowed
  17. Pinching tools, c-curve sticks and all types of tools used to create a proper structure are allowed
  18. The natural nail may be prepared up to the primer application
  19. No pre-sizing of forms or applying of forms is allowed prior to the competition
  20. Decals or pre assembled art of any kind is not allowed
  21. All work must be created at the time of the competition
  22. All general rules apply to this competition
  23. Total possible points 1 hand 95

Instructions for Nail Structure Categories

  • 5 point total on all categories.
  • 1 point a nail.
  • Each nail is judged on its own merit.
  • The nail must meet all of the criteria for the category being judged to earn its point.
  • ½ points are allowed when stated


  • The exterior of the nail form should be contoured completely symmetric
  • The surface of the nail should have no inconsistencies or appear to be uneven on the outer surface.
  • The judge will examine the nail by looking at it from the front perspective to check to make certain zone 3 is correct and from the back side perspectives to check to make certain zone 2 is correct.
  • The nail can earn a ½ point for each correct zone.


  • The interior contour of the free edge must be completely symmetric.
  • 1 point can be earned for each nail

Arch and Apex

  • The high point (apex) of the arch should not appear overly apparent.
  • It should have a subtle and gradual incline that is located consistently in the second zone (see example) of each nail.
  • The entire arch including the apex, should be not be overly apparent or appear too flat in the second zone.
  • The arch should not be located too far forward or back in the second zone when looking at the entire nail from a profile perspective.
  • The nail can earn a ½ point for each of these two criteria that are required

Judges instruction for Shape and Refining Categories

  • 5 point total for all of these categories
  • 1 point for each nail.
  • ½ points may be given if the nails has two areas that are required to be judged in that category. For example, there are two sidewalls on each finger nail. Therefor, half points may be given when judging sidewalls and lateral side extensions
  • Each nail is judged on its own merit.
  • The nail must meet all of the criteria for the category being judged to earn its point.

Free edge thickness

  • The nail must be consistently thin throughout the nails free edge and measure the same on the sidewalls.
  • The center of the free edge should not be any thicker than 1.5mm until it reaches the top of the finger tip from the underside of the nail.
  • The nail can earn a ½ point for each of these two criteria that are required.
  • See example of measuring tools used to measure the thickness.

Sidewalls or groove-walls

  • The Free edge must extend straight out from the lateral folds and begin to taper into a point once it is past the nail plate.
  • The nail should be uniform on each side.
  • There can not be any ridges on the free edge extension.
  • The sides of the free edges should feel smooth and appear to be filed clean.
  • There is a ½ point earned for each side of every nail being scored.

Lateral side extension

  • To find the lateral side extension you must look at the extension from the nails profile.
  • The nail should appear to have symmetry so the side extensions are consistently located.
  • There should be no exposure of the natural nail’s lateral fold.
  • There is a ½ point earned for each side of every nail being scored.

Surface smoothness

  • Any surface that does not have 3-D design or artwork on the top of the nail should be completely smooth
  • There should be no scratch marks or ruff spots from the product application.
  • If gel sealers are used, all of the nail should be sealed with gel sealer or top coat completely.
  • 1 point can be earn for each nail

Judges instructions for length

  • 5 point criteria length
  • The competitor can earn a total of 5 points for length
  • In a 1 hand competition, 1 point is earned for each nail’s accurate measurement.


  • 1 hand competition- Each nail is measured from the cuticle to the top of the free edge extension.
  • The Index, middle and ringer finger must be the exact same length.
  • The thumb and pinky must be the same length.

Judges instruction for application and finishing

  • 5 point total on all categories.
  • 1 point a nail. ½ points are allowed
  • Each nail is judged on its own merit.


  • The back side of the nails free edge extension should appear completely clean to earn a ½ point
  • There should be no visible dust, debris, excessive oil or product of any kind.
  • If product such as top coat or gel sealer are used to create transparencies for the free edge, the application must appear smooth behind the nail with no excess product on the skin
  • The application of product should appear smooth to earn a ½ point.
  • No excessive acrylic or gel or electric file marks that ruin the appearance of the nails free edge.
  • If electric files are used the free edge must appear smooth.

Cuticles area

  • The cuticle and surrounding skin on the nail folds must not have any new cuts or irritation around the nail.
  • There should not be any noticeable and apparent ledge of product that can be felt or seen near the proximal folds.
  • The application of product must be apparent and cover the entire cuticle area near the proximal folds without leaving a large margin between the cuticle line.
  • The product must not be overly filed and must be apparent.
  • Each nail must have all criteria to earn 1 point and 2 of the criteria to earn a ½ point.

Product control

  • All of the Color application should have a clean application
  • If glitter is used, control of application must be considered to earn a ½ point.
  • There must not be any air bubbles and or pitting in the product to earn a ½ point.

High shine finish

  • The nails should have a high gloss shine that has a glass finish appearance throughout the entire surface of the nail.
  • The shine on the nails should have a reflective appearance
  • The sides, edges and cuticle area must be considered.
  • Lines of demarcation are NOT considered as long as the shine is apparent.
  • If gel sealer is applied, the sealer must be completely cured.
  • The sealer should not feel or appear to be tacky or dull on the surface of the nail.
  • All of the tacky residue (inhibition layer) must be completely removed off of the nail.
  • 1 point can be earned for each nail

Judges Instructions for Artistic criteria

  • Criteria is scored as a total score
  • All criteria points awarded are from 1-10
  • Scores are determined by the judges educated opinion based on the specifics of each criteria

Creativity of design 

  • Each nail should have a creative collaboration and an artistic element used to create the total look.
  • The nail should have an artistic element both inside and on the surface of the nail

Total impression

  • Base your opinion on the total impression of the artistic element that is represented for each nail.
  • Every nail should represent the artistic element evenly amongst the completed set.
  • There should not be some nails with more or less work than others.

Level of difficulty

  • Base your opinion on the complete nails level of difficulty for the division the entree is entered into