Deborah Lippmann Is In the Hot Seat


Deborah Lippmann

Deborah Lippmann, founder and creative director of her eponymous luxury beauty line, known for her gorgeous, trendsetting and artful nail polishes, found herself in the Beauty News NYC Hot Seat this month (August 2013). With nail art popularity at an all-time high in the past two years or so, we decided to probe Lippmann’s beautiful mind!

We found out her thoughts on the future of nail art; what color she says we’ll be seeing more of this fall and why; her favorite shape; her piece-of-cake tip for extending the life of a mani or a pedi; her upcoming launches; and her nail care “no no.”

Read on!

BN: What is your favorite polish collection or color you’ve created and why?
DL: That’s a tough one! They’re like my children because I create them all – I can’t choose a favorite. I would say that my favorite shade is usually the one that I’m wearing at the moment, because it expresses how I’m feeling at the time.

BN: Nail art and the textured trend has been huge for over a year now. Are you over it? On to the next thing? Or do you think it has legs –or, well, feet!– into the next two seasons?
DL: I think nail art is still big, and it’s such a fun way to express yourself. We haven’t seen the end of it. I also think that we’re going to continue to see texture in different ways. In general, things are becoming more acceptable when it comes to nails. We are becoming more adventurous with our nails, and realize that it’s about having fun and not taking it so seriously. I think that it’s an ever-evolving industry, and we’ll continue to see texture in new, bolder ways.


Texture has become an easy way to achieve nail art at home. When using something like my Punk Rock Collection or Staccato Collection (pictured above), you can achieve a textured look with a simple brush stroke. Unless the look is three-dimensional or extremely intricate, texture is something everyone can do whether it’s by using a textured nail polish or adding a matte top coat like my Flat Top Matte-Maker Top Coat (pictured below) to any lacquer.

Flat Top

BN: What is your prediction for the next big nail trend?
DL: Texture is number one, whether it’s a chunky holographic glitter, a matte finish or layering. I really like a matte finish, and think that it is going to be a huge trend for fall and winter. It’s a really simple alternative to a shiny nail, and an easy way to make polish look and feel different and edgy. It can also be very chic depending on the color.

I created matte nail looks for several shows during Fall/Winter 2013 Fashion Week. Badgley Mischka, Richard Chai and Honor debuted my new Silk Collection that is launching in November. We also debuted two shades from my new Punk Rock Collection at Lela Rose and Zero+Maria Cornejo. For both Cynthia Rowley and Narciso Rodriguez, we layered my Flat Top Matte-Maker Top Coat over existing shades to create a matte finish.

In terms of color, I think that we’re really going to start seeing green in the fall, and a lot of deep navy. Navy is beautiful — it’s so different from a black. It has a beautiful richness, whereas black has more of an edge.

BN: Can you share ONE universal tip for nail color? This allows our readers to pretend that you are their manicurist even if only in the space of this question!
DL: During application, the tendency is to try to make it look like the shade in the bottle on the first coat, but you want to apply two thin coats and build the color. If you use too much lacquer, the polish will peel and chip. If you apply very thin coats, letting the polish dry in between each layer so that the solvents evaporate, it will wear better and last longer. I would recommend waiting at least a minute or two between each coat. If applied properly, you’ll get the appropriate shade on the second coat. Also during application, including top and base coats, be sure to cap the tip of the nail to seal the color – it will make a huge difference in the wear. You can also extend the life of your mani/pedi by adding a very thin layer of top coat every third day.

Smooth Op

BN: What’s one beauty product you CANNOT live without?
DL: My Smooth Operator 4-Way Nail Buffer is something that everyone should not only own, but that everyone should have with them at all times. I always have one with me. If you have a rough edge or a nail is uneven, the whole nail is going to break off if you don’t have something to take care of it. It’s also a two-minute manicure when you need it. Just use each of the four sides, and buff nails to a high-shine. You’ll always look groomed as long as you have this with you.

I also can’t live without my Hot Head hair extensions.

BN: Biggest mistake women make when it comes to nail care or design?
DL: I’m a big believer that cutting the cuticle is not the way to go. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and your cuticles are the end of the skin – they are meant to be there to act as barrier for bacteria. Never cut all the way around the cuticle because this will cause the skin to become ragged and tear, opening the body to bacteria.

BN: Any suggestions regarding filing or suggestions for nail shapes to prevent breaking?
DL: Always look to select a shape for yourself. The shape of the nail can help to elongate ones hands and improve the overall hand appearance. Never ‘saw’ back and forth on the tip of the nail. Remember to look at the hands from every angle. File from each outside edge toward the center of the nail. Right now, I am enjoying a slightly longer, almond-shaped nail. It’s very slenderizing, quite sexy and still very strong. Stay away from a super square-shaped nail; it’s not the most flattering shape and makes fingers look shorter.


BN: Feel free to use this space to promote your upcoming launches.
DL: We just launched my new Punk Rock Collection, which has a gritty texture with a matte finish. It gives the nails a modern, edgy look, and comes in three different shades: I Wanna Be Sedated, an iconoclast yellow that I used for the Fall Lela Rose show.


There’s also Pretty Vacant, a ghost grey that I used for the Fall Zero+Maria Cornejo show.


And I Fought The Law, a navy spark with a subtle shimmer.

For fall, I’m doing a collection called Jewel Heist with gold, emerald and sapphire shades. It’s all about layering, with a range of finishes including shimmer, crème and a new mega holographic glitter.

Deborah Lippmann polishes and tools are available here and at Nordstrom locations.

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