Get a Buff Manicure: A step-by-step guide by celebrity nail expert Deborah Lippman

A step-by-step guide by celebrity nail expert Deborah Lippmann

Often, the look that is the most chic is the most simple. And that's especially true of nails. If you think you need polish to make your nails look great, think again. Well-groomed nails with just a touch of buffing are every bit as elegant as Chanel red. Ask nail expert Deborah Lippmann, who gave Renée Zellweger this buffed manicure for the Oscars.


Step 1: Start with a four-sided buffer

Begin your manicure with a four-sided buffer to ensure a smooth and high-shine finish. Lippmann's buffer of choice is the Smooth Operator from her line, the Lippmann Collection. Start with the side labeled #1 to shape the tip of your nail. Then, with sides #2 and #3, gently dust the top of your nail. This will smooth your nails. Finish by dusting with side #4 for a high gloss.


Step 2: Take control of your cuticles

Use a liquid cuticle remover and liberally apply it anywhere the nail touches the skin. Proceed by pushing down cuticles with an orange stick or cuticle pusher. (Deborah likes the cuticle pusher from Mehaz.) To push the cuticle back and remove the dead skin, push the tool across the nail two or three times, then wipe the nail with a ball of cotton.

After you give the cuticle a thorough pushing, there might be some little pieces of cuticle still sticking up, commonly referred to as hangnails. These little pieces are okay to cut with a cuticle nipper. A great choice is the #777 quarter-inch-jaw Cuticle Nipper from Mehaz. This product works best because it has a tiny jaw and will only grab the small piece of cuticle you want to remove without grabbing excess skin anywhere else around the nail. Simply cutting the cuticle all the way around is not healthy for your nails.


Step 3: Hydrate and moisturize

Once nails are filed, buffed, cleaned and trimmed, use cuticle oil to massage the cuticle, followed by hand and cuticle cream to massage the hand and the rest of the nail area. Lippmann recommends the Cuticle Oil and the Rich Girl with SPF 25 cream, both by Lippmann Collection. Continue with side #4 of the Smooth Operator and go over the surface of all 10 nails to bring them to a natural shine. The light dusting of the nails with side #4 and the massaging of the nails with both the oil and the hand and cuticle cream helps bring blood to the nail bed and causes the nail to change color, resulting in a healthy and glossy finish.

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