Deborah Lippmann

Celebrity Nail Artist
The world knows Deborah Lippmann through her eponymous range of cosmetic products founded in 1999. This luxury brand is a fascinating new experience to its users, with polishes for every mood, inspired by the titles of popular songs. Partnering with celebrity clients, the brand now offers customized polish shades like Sarah Smile for Sarah Jessica Parker, Bad Romance for Lady Gaga and Walk Away Renée for Renée Zellweger. She has a way of infusing her aura and charm, power and passion into her nail designs that have adorned the nails of the biggest giants in today's showbiz industry, Scarlett Johansson, Demi Moore, Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cher, Mariah Carey, Lena Dunham and Kim Kardashian being a few of them! What makes her really amazing is throughout all these years of explorations, trials, success and reaching the top she has kept her passion for music alive. Having started doing nails in the first place to nurture the musician in her, she is an amazing jazz singer even today. You just can't miss her live act!  

The brand Deborah Lippmann

When I was getting ready to launch my brand, figuring out how to name the shades, I considered the products that I personally buy. For me, as a consumer, I’m extremely visual but I also found that the name of a shade could make or break whether I bought a product or not. If the name didn’t match my perception of the shade, I would get confused and not buy it. I felt strongly that the names should evoke a feeling rather than a specific shade because we all see colors differently. I decided to name my polishes after song titles – it was a way to merge my love for singing into my business and it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made! A lot of people don’t realize the musical connection, but whether you know the song or not, the names are just fun! Inspiration comes but it is always changing – it goes along with the trends, what I see around me, music that I am listening to, the people I am with. No matter what the inspiration, it is always very personal, that is always the most important thing for me.  

Beautiful Music or Musical Beauty?

I had a great career doing nails and singing at Arizona. I actually got to work with Sondheim; I had a great life there. I auditioned for Les Mis in New York and I was not smart enough or savvy enough to get the job, but the experience made me make a life choice. I talked to the casting director, and he said, “You need to make a choice now: Do you want to make a great career in Arizona, which there’s nothing wrong with, or do you want to try for something more?” That’s something I ask myself all the time. Do I want to be happy where I am? I’m always looking for something more. I still love to sing. So how do I fit in time for singing? I just do. I want more. There’s time to sleep when you’re dead. I think we all find time for the things we really, really love. And I’m really lucky that I love both of the things I do for a career. I don’t do as much singing as I do nails, but I’ve done more this year than I’ve done in a long time. The bigger my brand is, at this point in time, the more singing I’m actually able to do. It helps me be inspired and motivated and be happy. Keepin’ it happenin’!! Starting one’s own business is harder than I ever imagined. But it is also the most incredible journey I’ve taken. I’ve had to learn things that I never thought was possible and have grown in ways I’ve never imagined. Every day is a challenge, and every day is different. There have been so many triumphs and moments that have taken my breath away since starting my own business. When I look back on to the past 16 years, I am so amazed and humbled to have my husband and brother working alongside me all the while. We are still friends and love each other, which is very special.  


When I was working at Frederic Fekkai, Martha Stewart sat in my chair and had a manicure with me. She told me that I was extremely talented and I was flabbergasted – it was a big deal to me that she was even in my salon chair! She has been a supporter of the brand since the very start encouraging me to start my own line. Cher was one of the first major celebrities that I worked with. She was a huge inspiration to me and even helped me pick out my bottle! Later, we collaborated on a colour together called Believe, a sizzling shimmering gold beige.  

Fair Vanity

Being well-groomed is important to everyone’s inner and outer wellbeing. But an obsession with perfection in beauty can be unhealthy, so it’s all about everything in moderation. Beauty is important, but it’s not the most important thing in life.  

I support Breast Cancer awareness.

SHAPE OF MY HEART – A shade close to my heart, I created it with the Shape magazine to help fight breast cancer. It leaves nails with a healthy dose of color. Part of proceeds benefits the Hoag Memorial Hospital in Newport Beach, CA.  

Voice of the soul…

Get out and experience the world and all the amazing things life has to offer!   Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside of us. But when the lights go off, the world is asleep, there are only a few who stay awake and dream vivid, as they truly believe they are the stars awaiting their chance to shine. Awaiting their chance to make life unimaginably fun and exciting, and at the same time change the world completely with their powerful vision. Not everyone can be a legend. But she is. A warm heart, amicable and an achiever. She is not only an inspiration but someone to die for.  

A tryst with Destiny!

I have always loved everything about nails, but I actually started out my working career as a jazz singer. I moved to New York to pursue singing (which I still do today), but quickly realized I needed to do something in the interim to pay the bills, so I pursued my second love of the beauty industry and went to cosmetology school. While there, I decided to specialize in nails, which allowed me to sit during the day and stand at night in heels, singing! During my first job at Frédéric Fekkai at Bergdorf Goodman, I noticed a hole in the marketplace. As a luxury shopper, you couldn’t find everything you wanted for nail care from one brand. Chanel, Dior, YSL had nail shades, but not everything to address your nail needs – from a base coat and top coat, to cuticle oil and color. It simply didn’t exist in the luxury sector. The affluent women who were coming into the salon understood their hair and skin needs and wants, but when it came to their hands, they didn’t know about nail care. There was a need and hunger for education. People have so many questions about their nails and it was exciting for me to educate women. I then started working with celebrities on photo shoots, and one thing led to another and before I knew it my brand was born.  

Feeling connected…

My family is so supportive! It’s a family business after all, with my brother Mark and my husband, Jude. I make it a priority to spend quality time with them when I’m home. It’s important to set boundaries about when we need to stop talking about business. It’s off limits at night, in the early morning and at times on the weekends. We used to bore our friends by senselessly talking business at social dinners, but now no more! We try not to sweat the small stuff (easier said than done)!  

Pie in the sky

I think of nail colour as a perfect finish to your look and I like to change mine often, as do many of my customers. My dream would be to create a polish that practically applies by itself, dries within a minute, stays on as long as you want it to without putting your hands in a light box of any kind and doesn’t require nail scraping of any kind to remove it. A girl has to have a bigger than life goal, right? I look forward to always being on the cusp of modern technology – to making polishes easier, better and lasting longer, really pushing the boundaries of the nail industry. I am excited about creating the things I haven’t even yet imagined becoming possible. I look at how much technology has changed in the last 15 years – it’s so much better – and look forward to continuing those improvements over the next 15.

Nail art by Deborah Lippmann