One Year Later: NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Top 3 Speak Out

Last year’s NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Top 3 finalists, 2nd from left — Winnie Huang, winner, Sarah Elmaz, 2nd runner up, and Celina Rydén, 1st runner up — all say their deep friendship is the biggest prize they won.

Last year’s Next Top Nail Artist Final Challenge at America’s Beauty Show brought three women together in competition … and ultimately in deep friendship. Winnie Huang (winner), Celina Ryden (first runner up), Sarah Elmaz (second runner up) arrived from literally around the globe to Chicago in March 2016 to compete in the final stages of the competition. (Winnie is from Canada, Celina hails from Sweden, and Sarah lives in Australia.) Now, one year later, here’s what they have to say about the experience.

NTNA: How’s this year been going for you as one of the top 3 nail artists in the world?

WH: It’s been a whirlwind! I’ve done so many things that are on my nail bucket list and met so many people.

CR: Same for me. My year has included lots and lots of travel (which I love) to the states and Europe, doing classes and workshops.

SE: Since the Finale I’ve had more time to devote to workshops around Australia and internationally. It’s nice to be able to meet people who have my same passion for nails.

NTNA: Who are some of the key people you’ve met as a result of your NTNA involvement?

CR: Sarah and Winnie, hands down.

SE: Meeting Celina and Winnie was the highlight for me. And of course Jan Arnold!

WH: Yes, ditto. These two are my amazing nail BFFs. Also Jan Arnold and the CND family. Oh, and Johnson Hartig of Libertine … so many other artists and pros I’ve looked up to since the beginning of time.

NTNA: Has your business as a nail tech been enhanced by this experience?

CR: Absolutely. I pushed myself farther creatively than I ever had before. I never thought I would make it as far as I did. It was fascinating to see how far you could push your mind and then actually execute the idea.

NTNA: What are a few things you DON’T miss from those intense weekly competitions?

WH: The weekly deadlines, and video editing. Ugh.

SE: Also the nervous waiting on results day!

Why do you feel like the three of you bonded so deeply?

SE: No one knows what this is like until you are knee deep into the competition. We were all in the same boat, just trying to get through each week.

WH: Our personalities are similar; we laugh at the same things and we were there for whoever needed support, which made our connection so much deeper. NTNA was an important chapter in our lives. We live so far apart, but the good news is we are meeting up at a nail show in Japan this fall. We are extremely excited to see each other!

CR: I remember saying to myself in week one [of the competition] that if I could dream of being in the Top 3, I would want to be there with Sarah and Winnie. Like Winnie said, I could tell that we were all very much alike.

NTNA: Three words you’d like to say to this year’s Top 3?

CR: “Go! Go! Go!”

SE: “Soak it in!”

WH: Wait, just three words? OK: “Congratulations! Inspire and Enjoy!”

NTNA: Will we see you at ABS this year?

WH: Absolutely!

SE: Not this year, sadly; I have a Get Buffed workshop in Malta; but I’m excited to hear the results.

CR: Yes! Catch me at the Light Elegance booth and doing classes.

For more information about NAILS Next Top Nail Artist, go to

See Parts 1 and 2 of the Top 3’s Final Challenges here:

More details of the NTNA Grand Finale at America’s Beauty Show coming soon!

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Illinois law enlists hairstylists to prevent domestic abuse


In this Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, photo, Karen Gordon, left, works on the hair of a client at J. Gordon Designs in Chicago. The state law requiring one hour of abuse-prevention training for stylists, barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, hair braiders and nail technicians as part of the licensing process goes into effect Sunday, Jan. 1. The National Conference of State Legislatures says the Illinois measure appears to be the first of its kind in the country. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois law that takes effect Sunday aims to take advantage of the trusted relationship between hairstylists and their clients to prevent domestic violence.

Stylists, barbers, cosmetologists, estheticians, hair braiders and nail technicians in Illinois will receive an hour of mandated abuse-prevention training as part of the licensing process. The law does not require them to report any violence, and it shelters them from any liability.

Instead, the training provides beauty professionals with information about local help and resources they can share with clients. The Illinois measure appears to be the first of its kind in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Hairstylists are well situated to notice signs of abuse, said Vi Nelson, spokeswoman for the industry group Cosmetologists Chicago.

Abusers “tend to try to find places where it could be an accident or it’s not as visible,” Nelson said. “They may hit them in the back of the head, and there’s a bruise or a bump. The hairdresser is touching you and can see things that cannot be visible to the casual observer.”

Clients and stylists often develop yearslong relationships, said Karen Gordon, who owns J. Gordon Designs salon in Chicago.

“We get very close with our clients, even so far to say we love our clients,” she said. “You know people through life’s ups and downs. When people come into a safe environment like a beauty salon, they tend to open up.”

State Sen. Bill Cunningham supported the measure, in part, because his wife is a former hairstylist whose customers frequently shared incidents of domestic violence.

She “had a difficult time dealing with these issues when they came up. She wasn’t sure what to tell her clients,” said Cunningham, a Democrat.

That’s why the new law was written to connect victims with services, not to have beauty professionals act as therapists, he said.

“The main goal is to get victims of domestic violence professional help if they want it,” he said. “It could be as simple as providing their client with a phone number. In maybe more extreme cases it could be putting their client in touch with a shelter.”

The domestic violence prevention nonprofit Chicago Says No More said the mandate was needed because past training efforts never caught on. The group’s founder, Kristie Paskvan, said beauty professionals are an ideal source to provide help because they can be more objective than family and friends.

“They’re listening and then they can say ‘Hey, if you’re interested, here’s some information,'” Paskvan said.

State Rep. Fran Hurley of Chicago, who supported the legislation, said she knows of one Chicago-area salon owner who puts business cards for a local anti-domestic violence group in her beauty shop’s bathroom.

“You’d be amazed at how many times she has to replace them,” said Hurley, also a Democrat. “She refills them all the time.”

Cosmetologists Chicago helped write the measure so that it did not require beauty professionals to become involved or report violence unless they choose. Once that was clarified, Nelson said, the professional response was “overwhelmingly positive.”

The first training sessions will be offered in March at an industry trade show in Chicago.

Gordon has been in the beauty industry for 38 years and said she thinks she would have used the training if it were offered earlier in her career.

“I wish I’d had the tools,” she said. “I wish I’d had the resources.”

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CIDESCO Celebrates its 70th Anniversary!

CIDESCO-USA, Cosmetologists Chicago and its skin care subsidiary the American Association for Esthetics join its worldwide partners in celebrating the 70th Anniversary of CIDESCO on December 27, 2016. CIDESCO (Comité International d’Esthétique et de Cosmétologie), the World
Standard for Beauty and Spa Therapy, takes a look back at its success and a look into the future of esthetics worldwide.

“CIDESCO has reached an incredible milestone this year, celebrating 70 years of success, developing into the internationally recognized and respected organization that it is today,” commented CIDESCO International President, Anna-Cari Gund of Sweden. “I am incredibly proud of all that has been achieved and look forward to celebrating the achievements of all our members, students and graduates across the globe.”

To commemorate the milestone, CIDESCO takes a look back at notable beauty events, fashions and trends that have occurred over the last seven decades including occasions such as the election of the first female president of CIDESCO.

Founded in 1946 by Georges Dumont from Belgium and Jacques Poirsons from France, the birth of CIDESCO aimed to unite Beauty Therapists, to exchange ideas and a framework for education, exams and teaching in a progressive, unified way.

With the first CIDESCO Sections accepted in Belgium, Austria, the Netherlands and Switzerland, the world standard for Beauty and Spa Therapy began its international journey. Just over ten years later CIDESCO’s first Beauty Therapy Diploma was issued in 1958, marking the start of a change in the standards and education in the industry. In 1963, CIDESCO welcomed its first female President, Ria de Korte from the Netherlands, who adapted to the demand for new skills, equipment and diplomas to embrace continuous global development and changes within the beauty industry.

From CIDESCO Sections in Australia and Latvia to Malaysia and France, there have been distinct changes in trends, styles and popular beauty treatments, creating new challenges and opportunities for both members and students alike. Over the years, CIDESCO has noted the acceleration in technology and science, adapting with the beauty industry’s response to continually maintain the highest standards.

With the introduction of paraffin wax treatments in the 1950’s; the ‘big bold brows’ trend; and the introduction of the Modern Spa in the 1970’s, CIDESCO Beauty Therapists have become accustomed to the rotating platform of beauty trends, further noticing the correlation between fashions and beauty appointments.

CIDESCO has recognized that with new trends, developing products and treatments, it is essential to comply with the latest in beauty standards to ensure that the industry develops positively on a global scale.

Today, as aesthetic surgery grows with popularity year-on-year and the variety in make-up tools, products and services increases, this rapid development demands that standards are continually developing and preparing to accommodate this ever-expanding field of study and work.

CIDESCO is cognizant of social changes too. In 2004 Facebook® united the globe by connecting people in a new social sphere, which has supported the beauty industry incredibly well. Social media platforms allow users to share images, videos and create professional branding. The growth of social media has helped to inspire new people into the industry and also unite therapists and businesses around the world, to share tips, job opportunities and more.

Now in its 70th year, CIDESCO has 30 Sections globally, its own quarterly magazine, CIDESCO LINK, and even more diplomas and post graduate qualifications with millions of students worldwide, wanting to study with the CIDESCO internationally recognized examining body.

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Information to follow from Don Wismer.

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NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Announces the Top 3 Finalists


The Top 3 nail artists have been named for NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Season 4, in a fierce race to the finish last week after nearly three months of challenges. Jonny Diep Pham, Liina Leino, and Tracey Lee beat out 21 other competitors and will now prepare for their final challenge, which will culminate on the floor at America’s Beauty Show and at the grand finale Saturday March 25 at Roof on theWit.

Meet the Top 3:

Jonny Diep Pham: The 32-year-old nail artist from Sydney first gained attention at Nailympia Australia last year with his immaculate yet emotionally driven artistry. He skipped this year’s competition in order to prepare for NTNA.

Liina Leino: Setting Finland on fire with her incredible range of technical and design skill, the 26-year-old Finnish nail tech has eight years of experience and endless passion for her craft. Liina also delights the judges with her highly entertaining videos.

Tracey Lee: Tracey Lee is truly a global artist, with nail design awards stretching from South Africa (her home country) to the U.K. and Australia. A big move from Johannesburg to the Netherlands caused Tracey to leave recruitment and follow her true calling by completing a course in gel and acrylic nail systems. The rest is history.

Each challenge during the NTNA season was underwritten by top nail products companies; special thanks to top sponsor CND and sponsors Akzéntz Professional, American Dawn, Inc., Artistic Nail Design, Bio Seaweed Gel, EzFlow Nail Systems, Gelish, GelII, ibd, INM, Minx, Morgan Taylor, and Orly.

To learn more about the finalists and how each rose to the top, visit Tickets to NAILS Next Top Nail Artist Awards Gala in Chicago will be available on a limited basis; more details coming soon!

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