Deborah Lippmann Sultry Songbird of Nail Lacquer

Deborah Lippmann is one of the most sought after manicurists in the world.

She has worked with every major fashion publication from Vogue to W and InStyle plus top fashion houses around the world such as Valentino, Rodarte and Donna Karan. She has a portfolio of celebrity clients that would blow your mind including Lady Gaga, Reese Withersoon, Martha Stewart, Mary J. Blige, Sarah Jessica Parker and Cher, to name just a few.

Working as a celebrity manicurist, among her famous clients was Mariah Carey. “For the 1998 Academy awards Deborah mixed a special nail color to compliment her dress. They called the color “Satin Doll” for its shimmering beige shade. It was at that moment that The Deborah Lippmann Collection was born.”

The Deborah Lippman Collection now contains over 45 shades of long wearing nail lacquer along with specialty treatments for nails, hands and feet.

I sat down with this sultry songbird and nail aficionado at Neiman Marcus to chat about nail trends, celebrities and pet peeves.

Q: What is the hottest nail trend for the holiday season?

DL: We will be seeing alot of jewel tones and glitter. I went over the top with my glitters in red, gold and a graphite that I am kind of obsessed with. They all have large chunks of glitter as opposed to the current collection where there are tiny chunks or combinations of small, medium, and large.

Q: Hottest nail trend for holiday season?

DL: Layering is a HUGE trend. I have always done layering on shoots and really that is one of the things that got me into making color. I would go to a Fashion shoot and the stylist would ask for a certain color. Once I was on a shoot for Allure with the legendary Polly Mellen and she said out of the blue “We need a yellow, do you have one?” What manicurist has yellow in their kit? But I actually did and I had like 6 different versions but she said “Oh deary it’s just not the right shade of yellow!” So I had to layer to get the right shade. Layering allows you to create your own color and be creative.

Q: What is the best length and shape for the average woman’s nails?

DL: The length of the tip of your nail should never be longer than base of your nail. In terms of shape I think the slightly more ’50s Mad Men nail- almond shape is very chic and sophisticated. It’s a more European shape. Many women are told that a square nail is stronger. This simply isn’t true. As long as you leave at least 1/4 of an inch of free nail before you start to file on the free edge then you can make any shape you want and it will still be as strong as a square nail.

Q: For DIY lacquer lovers who can’t get to a salon every week what is your advice?

DL: Three things. First, hydration is key its THE most important thing. Hand Cream, hand cream, hand cream! Second, always keep the edge filed. Every 3-4 days run a file across the tip to keep them smooth. Third, push your cuticles back once a week.

Q: Best tip for ladies when heading to the salon?

DL: Bring your polish and products with you. Lets say your manicurist is doing someones nails and they accidentally cut their cuticle, its bleeding a bit, which happens. They take the appropriate steps to clean it up and it looks fine but then they move to the next step-polish. They take their brush to paint the nail and the brush touches the open wound. They put the brush back in bottle. You are the next customer and you pick that same color then they touch you with that brush.

Q: Celebrity Shades. You have collaborated with everyone form Sarah Jessica Parker to Lady Gaga. How do these collaborations happen?

DL: It really is an organic process, each of them has happened differently. Sarah Jessica Parker was my first. She has been a huge supporter of the brand from the beginning. After she had her first child we were on a Garnier shoot where she mentioned to me she wished I had a sheer pink that was half the pink of “Prelude to a Kiss” with half the coverage. She had a really clear vision of what she saw. I thought, “that’s a great idea”. I would head to the lab, mix some samples, sent them to her then go back to the lab make a few tweaks until we had it perfect. We truely made the color together!

(above: “Sarah Smile” from Deborah Lippmann Collection created with Sarah Jessica Parker)

I was doing Cher’s nails for her farewell tour and she had been layering 4 colors to achieve a look she had in her mind. We were waiting forever between coats. So I said, “maybe we should put all of this concept into one bottle”! That’s how “Believe” was born. The color is silver and gold. Its fantastic on stage, goes with everything she wears. It’s super shiny-small mica and pearl of shimmer. When she has days off its not too garish in the daylight. It fits stage and real life.

(above: “Believe” from Deborah Lippmann Collection created with Cher)

Q: Your polishes all have unique memorable names (all are song titles), everyone remembers the name of their fav Deborah Lippmann polish. How did you come up with the concept?

DL: I decided early on that I didn’t want to say “This is Red” because I look at a shoe and to me its cherry red but to you it may be a Hollywood red. Music is close to my heart. I wanted to go with song titles. It was about emotional branding. I thought if you knew the song then the name would take you somewhere else and if you didn’t know the song it was cute and fun and would resonate on a different level.

Q: Biggest nail pet peeve?

DL: French manicures on the toes- with a stark white tip. Think of French women- they are understated. Our country, that I love, has taken the French manicure to a level that is just NOT a French manicure. It is not a 4″ nail with 3″ of it being white! A French manicure should be understated! Also toe nails that hang over the edge of your toe. Toe nails should NOT hang over the edge of your toe.

Watch Deborah’s how to video for the perfect manicure! You can grab your perfect Deborah Lippman nail lacquer at Neiman Marcus or

Deborah Lippman wants your nails to look like a Celebrity!

1 Lucky winner will receive a bottle of “Believe” the color created with Cher and a pack of “The Stripper to Go” nail lacquer remover for go-go girls.

To Enter:

First, if you haven’t already subscribe to this blog (you can subscribe VIA EMAIL at the top right of sidebar)

Then Leave a comment on this post between July 31 and August 6 answering this question: “If you were to create a color with Deborah Lippmann what would it be?”

Good Luck and Thanks for Reading!

Last weeks lucky winner is: Melissa! Congrats!


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  1. First! …that never gets old! ;P
    I’d create a shade of green in recognition of my Irish heritage. We’d call it “Glas Uaine”.

  2. My biggest pet peeve is when a color is too sheer and you can see the nail under the color. I’d ask her to make a completely opaque pink that would leave a solid pigment in only two coats. Cute! xoxo

  3. In my opinion, no one does glitter better than Deborah Lippmann. As Lippmann is musically inspired, I think she should make a Katy Perry polish called “E.T.” (I know OPI already did a collection but I was a little disappointed in it and would be interested to see Lippmann’s take on turning Perry’s style of pop into a polish). I’d love to see large silver hexagonal glitter floating in a black jelly base, alongside small pieces of metallic sky blue round and square glitter, with silver and blue micro-glitter scattered throughout. Making the glitter really dense would create a night sky effect, as the silver and blue would really pop against the black jelly.

  4. I would work with Deborah to create 2 color set – a shade of orange called “Aladdin” and a dark blue called “Sane” to look just like the lightning bolt on David Bowie’s head!

  5. I would love a Honeysuckle color (it’s the pantone of the year, of course we need a nail color to reflect it perfectly) Opaque. Perfect for summer pedicures. I’d call it “The Sweetest Thing” because I love U2. 🙂

  6. Since I’ve been playing poker I’ve dreamed of having my own line of nail polishes to wear at the World Series of Poker. The first thing people see when you play is your nails so I love wearing bold colors to distract the boys. My dream color would be a silver base with an aqua greenish tint and all over shimmer and call it “Card Shark”. Another one I would love is a deep red/black color with a golden dust of shimmer and call it “Short Stack Ninja”. Not only would the colors be beautiful under the harsh lights on the tables, it would also give you the extra bit of empowerment knowing the secret name of the polish. Great post Christie!!

  7. I’d create a navy (but more royal and not so dark as some navy colors get) glitter… but a glitter that was super packed. It’d probably be jelly based. Can you tell I’ve put some thought into this before? Haha! It’s a dream job to create polish colors!

    P.S. I’ve tried subscribing to the blog, but have never received an email. (???)

  8. If I were to create a color it would be pink with accents of cream and glitter. I would call it “Pink Ladies” of course after the movie Grease! Because the Pink Ladies pledge to act cool and to be cool!! Lol!

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