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I have been in the nail industry since 1984. What competition stood for back in those days was quite different from the way of competitions today. There were only 2 or 3 acrylic manufacturers back then, so there was a different motive behind the desire to compete or judge. Judging was considered more of a duty or responsibility then an opportunity to secure a championship title for company owners to then use as bragging rights. And the judges were only those who had been previous champions.


Unfortunately, that is seldom the case today. Today most competitions are either being hosted by distributors or product manufacturers that have judges associated with the product line. Today there also many competitions that are being hosted and sponsored by nail magazines. This again leads to judge positions handed out to those who either advertise in their magazines or take booth space in hosted tradeshows. Often competitions are organized by promoters that have no experience at all. I have personally judged over 150 competitions in the past 17 years. As a result of my experience I have judged in just about every type or style of judging system possible. I have judged next to the best judges in the world and with judges who were completely unqualified. Sometimes the competitions were held to the highest standards in every level. However, more often than not I would witness endless issues, which to me just resulted in lots of time and money from competitors wasted.


As for competitors, the motive was basically money. Up until the time when international competitors got involved in US competitions, competition promoters used cash and prizes as incentives to lure nail artists to compete. That of course changed once the nail industry expanded to other countries. Once countries that were not controlled by state licensing started offering courses to do nails championship titles quickly became much more valuable then the cash prize incentive that was once expected. Nail academies that had champions doing the teaching were obviously able to use their success to lure students to their school. This was also the same for product companies that used Champion nail artists for marketing and promoting their acrylic line. Now as nail competitions have evolved and nail artist are investing even more money and time to compete in hopes of winning a title that can secure them good employment with a school or product company, I consider it of great importance to see that there is a protective and governing body that will uphold the highest standard of integrity in Nail competitions globally.

It is for this reason I have formed the INJA (International Judges Association) My goal is to create a standardize system for nail competitions. I have made it my responsibility to choose a panel of honorable and experienced judges that will act as the voice of authority for Nail competitions to be recognized and utilized to benefit all Nail competitors. It is my goal to bring international competitions together by providing a system and guild line to follow with judges who are qualified. This association will be established and represented by the most qualified nail professionals around the world. It is the responsibility of these members to protect the integrity of every competition associated with INJA and to see that every competitor is judged fairly and on merit of the competitors work.


INJA will also focus on educating and qualifying new and experienced judges. Our goal in having qualified people become judges is through their education. For this reason we require one of the following:


  • Professionals with a minimum of 6 completed courses of certified education.

  • Professionals that have accomplished and been certified in a minimum of 3 nail courses of any type or workshops a year for a minimum of 4 years.

  • This does not include basic courses, but extra classes taken after working as a professional.

  • International master champions that have won globally recognized competitions.

  • Educators with 4 years experience teaching as a globally recognized educator.


Every person who qualifies must attend a judge standards, etiquette and ethics course which is followed by a written exam and mock judging test.

There must be a combined score of 90% to earn a INJA judges certificate.

I am confident this standard for high score results in only the most qualified of judges to represent this association. Soon competitors should be able to recognize which competitions to invest their time and money into and which to avoid by identifying the INJA symbol on competitions around the world.



Lysa Comfort.

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