The wonderful world of nail art is always home to intense creativity, with technicians creating 3D sculptures that look more like art more than manicures or reimagining old classics like the many remixes on French tips we've seen on the runway and social media. We're always delighted to see the different ways manicurists around the world challenge themselves. One trend we've been noticing lately is actually not a specific nail art design. It's the flashcard challenge, or freestyle nails challenge, which requires folks to put even more trust in their nail artists and their abilities with a fun choose-your-own-adventure game.
The challenge starts with nail artists presenting their clients with two or more flashcards or sheets of paper with different nail-art possibilities written on each. For example, it can be short length vs long length or a neutral shade versus a colorful shade. The nail artist does a few rounds of this and each new one presents an addition to the manicure, whether it's the length of the nail, type of design, color, finish, or shape.
From there, the client picks one of the cards (without peeking at what's on the other side of course), and the nail tech uses all of the chosen cards to paint and sculpt a full nail look. It's been a fun way for nail artists to flex their freestyling skills while clients receive a creative surprise at the end of the session. You might have already seen these videos floating on TikTok or Instagram. If you check the #flashcardschallenge or simply search "freestyle nail challenge" on the app, you'll find tons of videos of manicurists holding out the pieces of paper for their clients to choose from.
We loved the videos so much that we compiled a few that perfectly show off the exciting nail trend.
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Florida-based nail artist Reesha Henry gave her client the option to choose a shape, the type of nail design, and whether or not it would be filled with bling. Her client ended up picking cards with "coffin shape," "3D nail art," and "bling" written on them, and Henry surely delivered with the end result. The final set was bubblegum pink with a 3D striped snake, jelly finger, and bejeweled nails.
The striped snake looked like it was slithering on the long, coffin-shaped nails. Each ring finger was covered in pink and silver iridescent gems. A few of those multicolored jewels lied right on the cuticle line on one finger on each hand. The pinky fingers were a sheer pink jelly finish with opalescent flecks that were encapsulated in the nail.
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The end result of Georgia-based nail artist Natalie Laguerre's freestyle challenge was a fun burgundy manicure with a multitude of designs. Her client got to pick among 10 options in total and ended up choosing "tapered square," “glossy," "burgundy," and "gold color," "glitter artwork," and "French tips." These long nails looked like they were made for the fall time.
The thumb, middle, and pinky fingers featured a burgundy French tip lined with a glittery gold pigment right where the nude and burgundy colors meet. On the other hand, Laguerre combined the burgundy color and gold foil to create a marbled effect that looked seamless. The last of the nails was the ring finger, which was decked out with flecks of gold foil, a golden tree leaf, and multicolored confetti in red and gold encapsulated in a transparent polish.
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Georgia-based manicurist Kdot went all out with this extra-long set. Based on the index cards her client chose, the requirements for the manicure were that the nails had to be a long stiletto shape with a purple color and four jewels. The final manicure was a stunning iridescent purple set with so many elements that you might miss all of them if you don't look closely.
The fluffy white pompom immediately stood out on the index fingers. On the middle, ring, and pinky fingers, Kdot placed iridescent gems of various sizes. Each ring fingernail had two small black rings pierced at the tip to add an edge to this overall beautiful manicure. In addition to the marbled design on each nail, this manicure featured flecks of glitter and tiny pink stars.
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Ohio-based nail artist Mari Campbell's assignment was to give her client a glossy pastel set with rhinestones and no glitter. She delivered with this short square-shaped nude set. Though the base of each nail was a pink-nude pigment, she added tiny lines and dots in pastel blue, yellow, and green hues. The rhinestone details were subtle. She added a few prismatic gems around the cuticle of the pinky finger and in a straight line down the index finger.
We're immensely impressed with how well each nail artist understood the assignment. They all delivered with each set in creative ways, and we're sure that they and other artists will continue to deliver with the creative flashcard challenge.
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