There are big names in the clean nail lacquer business, and then there is Deborah Lippmann, the namesake brand of 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. “We want to look for formulas that are free of toxic chemicals. Now we have removed about 10 ingredients, and we’ve infused beauty treatment ingredients from beginning – biotin and green tea, aucoumea, etc. So my polish is not just a polish, it’s a treatment. This product is used in many salons, but I created 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 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’s 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 don’t 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’s very European and chic. But I kinda feel like square might be making a comeback. The best way to find what the best shape is for you … is after you’ve 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’s similar to exfoliating. You have to get the dead cuticle off the nail plate and you want push that cuticle back towards the knuckle. The cuticle is meant to be there — it’s a barrier to keep bacteria and infections and free radicals from coming inside your body, but we tend to not wear gloves, do the dishes, and do so many things with our hands that dry them out and then we don’t rehydrate. One of the longest parts of a manicure should be the cuticle pushing. When using a cuticle nipper, take the tip of the nipper, and close it on the piece of skin and don’t pull the nipper away. This is one of the largest mistakes we make when we’re doing our own nails or having them done: pulling while the nipper is closed.
Nailing a Good Nail Shade:
It is subjective, but here’s what I really believe: If you put on a color and the color of your cuticles looks ashy or red, then that’s really not the best color for you. If you’re a red lipstick girl, I recommend taking your shade with you when you’re shopping for polish and put a swatch on your hand and have the sales people help you find something that’s similar. If you love it on your lips, you’ll likely love it on your nails.
To Make Sure You Get Good Service if You Go to the Salon:
I always want to look around a salon if I’m popping in somewhere I haven’t been before. I always ask to use the restroom after I walk in and 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 isn’t 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 hasn’t been with you, you don’t know where it’s been.
Why the Packaging Matters:
My polishes have a very square bottom, so it’s nearly impossible to tip over. At the very bottom of my bottle there is something that seems decorative, but it’s an indentation, and as you’re 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 turn in your hand. I have a custom brush that I call my goop-proof system, my GPS. The brush has 350 bristles. The brush itself isn’t too long or short, but it’s 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. 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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