There are big names in the clean nail lacquer business, and then there is Deborah Lippmann, the namesake brand of a singer-turned-celebrity manicurist, Deborah Lippmann.
Lippmann entered the nail scene in 1999 when she started the brand along with her brother and husband, and ever since, she has been a steady presence at New York Fashion Week. Models and designers love her — she works closely with the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Lady Gaga, Narciso Rodriguez, Marchesa, Versace and more – and her award-winning polishes and treatment are a regular feature in top magazines and fashion shows.
“I’m in the healthy nail world,” says Lippmann. “I develop polish that is formulated to be free of toxic chemicals. With Gel Lab Pro Color I removed the top 10 questionable ingredients from my nail polish and I added 10 good for your nail additives. I want to give women the healthiest and highest performing nail polish there is. Infusing nail polish with treatment ingredients is something I’ve been doing for 20 + years initially with biotin, green tea, aucoumea. So my polish is not just a polish, it’s a treatment nail polish. My polish is used in many salons, but I created this line especially for the consumer, to take it home and be able to do her own nails.”
Fun fact: Because she was an aspiring singer before becoming a manicurist, all of her polishes are named after songs.
And because we are heading into the middle of summer, and the idea of pairing our breezy dresses with a fun, matching fiery red manicures is upon us, we thought we would catch up with the celebrity manicurist and get her tips for nailing the best manicure and color, any season.
“It’s about having a vacation when you can’t. When I feel like going on vacation, sometimes I paint my toes and get in the tub and visualize I’m in the ocean when I’m not,” she says. “I’ve been wearing ‘Written In The Sand’ on my hands and ‘In The Sun’ on my toes.”
On Maintaining Good Nail Health at Home
It is important to get a manicure or give yourself a manicure once a week. That would include filing, buffing, applying a cuticle remover and pushing back the cuticles, and using cuticle oil every day. If you think about it, you would never wash your face, walk out of the bathroom and get on with your life without putting on moisturizer on. For some reason, we do not connect that to our hands, which we use all the time. If you have dry cuticles, moisturizing is key inside and out.
Nailing a Good Nail Shape
What I like best is an almond-shaped nail — I think it is very European and chic. But I kind of feel like square might be making a comeback. The best way to find what the best shape is for you … is after you have done a proper cuticle pushing, you mirror the shape of the tip of your nails to the shape of your cuticles.
Why Cuticle Care is the Holy Grail of Good Nail Care
It is similar to exfoliating. You have to get the dead cuticle off the nail plate. The cuticle is meant to be there — it is a barrier to keep bacteria, infections and free radicals from coming inside your body. So ideally you want to push that cuticle back towards the knuckle and not cut it. But if you must, if there are hangnails, then you have to use the cuticle nipper correctly. When using a cuticle nipper, take the tip of the nipper, and close it on the piece of skin you want to take off but don’t pull the nipper away. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see. There should be no pulling while the nipper is closed. To take care of your nails and cuticles, wear gloves while doing the dishes and keep them hydrated.
Nailing a Good Nail Shade
It is subjective, but here is what I really believe: If you put on a color and the color of your cuticles looks ashy or red, then that is really not the best color for you. If you are a red lipstick girl, I recommend taking your shade with you when you are shopping for polish and put a swatch on your hand and have the salespeople help you find something that is similar. If you love it on your lips, you will likely love it on your nails.
To Make Sure You Get Good Service if You Go to the Salon
If I am popping in a salon I have not been before, I always ask to use the restroom to check out the cleanliness of the salon. That will tell you whether you want to stay there or not. Look inside the manicurist’s little basket. Do the files look like they have white all over them and have been used before? Using a file more than once is not really the worse thing that can happen. But I think the best thing you can do is take your own manicure set with you — your own nippers, your own pusher, your cuticle remover, your cuticle oil, and your base coat, top coat and color. I know that sounds like a lot, but if it has not been with you, you do not know where it is been.
Why Packaging Matters:
My polishes have a very square bottom, so it is nearly impossible to tip over. At the very bottom of my bottle, there is something that seems decorative, but it is an indentation, and as you are doing your nails you can actually hold the bottle in between the fingers with that indentation. You thought it was just pretty!
I [also] spent a lot of the time making sure that the cap was easy to hold and could turn in your hand. I have a custom brush that I call my goop-proof system, my GPS. The brush has 360 bristles. The brush itself is not too long or short, but it is very dense with bristles that have a curve on the end so that when you place it on the nail and you put pressure on it, the brush fans out and mimics the shape of your cuticle. In theory, I want you to do three strokes on the nail. One on the center, one down each side and then cap the tip of the nail.
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