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My Five Beauty Obsessions: Deborah Lippmann, non-toxic nail pioneer


While Deborah Lippmann nail polish is now heralded by fashion editors and spotted on runways far and wide thanks to the super-chic, on-trend colors, the celebrity manicurist behind the brand was also a quiet pioneer in making the lacquers you love less toxic.

“About 30 years ago, clients would sit in my chair and request Nailtiques be used as a basecoat since it helped their nails grow strong, but they didn’t realize it was formaldehyde and toluene that were the reasons for this growth,” explains Lippmann, who’s based in New York City and has created Oscar-night nail looks for stars like Reese Witherspoon and Penelope Cruz. “This mindset began to change when Prop 65 passed in 1986 and magazine ads started to disclose the harmful side effects of these ingredients,” she says.

So Lippmann decided to start her own non-toxic brand to offer safer, healthier nail-care products. Today, her 5-free lacquers are sold across the world, and for the past 13 years she’s worked to create a safer industry overall as an Independent Cosmetics Manufacturers and Distributors board member.

These days, she likes what she’s seeing. “My clients are now more educated than ever about what natural beauty means as information is more readily available,” she says. “It’s now commonplace for women to thoroughly research products prior to purchasing.” (By reading Well+Good, right?)

Here’s what the natural beauty legend is currently using on her hands—and elsewhere. —Jamie McKillop

1. C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine and Breath Freshener ($8) I’m loving this lip balm right now. There’s one in my purse, my gym bag, in my suitcase, and on my nightstand at all times. My lips feel instantly hydrated and the cooling peppermint it is infused with is great for long-lasting freshness.

2. Deborah Lippmann Naked Nail Lacquer ($18) One of my top-selling nudes, my sheer naked nail lacquer is classic and timeless. It complements everyone’s skin tone and helps elongate fingers for a really feminine, elegant look. As with all of my products, it’s five-free and infused with biotin and green tea to deliver nail health benefits.

3. Rodin Olio Lusso ($110) The texture and fragrance of Rodin Olio Lusso is heavenly. I usually put it on when I travel because it instantly gives me a luminous and hydrated complexion. Applying this both day and night makes my skin feel like it’s just had a boatload of moisture to drink in.

4. Natura Bisse The Cure Sheer Cream ($180) I love that this cream, which makes my skin look radiant and even-toned. I also love that it has SPF 20 in it—helping me to feel protected throughout the day. I’m a firm believer that SPF should be in everyone’s daytime moisturizer.

5. ESPA Skincare Replenishing Face Treatment Oil ($98) I am a huge supporter of facial oils, especially this one since it is wonderfully luxurious. I prefer to apply it at night so it has time to soak in and rehydrate my skin while I sleep. Plus, it reduces fine lines, which is an added bonus.

For more information, visit

(Photo: Deborah Lippmann)

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