I did a little post-birthday beauty indulging yesterday at the new Nordstrom store (only three months old) in Oahu’s massive Ala Moana shopping center. Visitors to Oahu often miss or skip Ala Moana, but it’s really quite impressive as malls go.
Beyond the beautiful layout, with open-air sections, koi ponds and indoor palm grottos, Ala Moana is a retail paradise. It houses more than 260 stores and restaurants (making it one of the largest malls in America) and includes a great mix of ultra-high end, Rodeo Drive-esque stores like Chanel, Prada and Tiffany; consumer-friendly shops like Old Navy, Gap, Sephora (aka, home away from home); and larger department stores like Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom.
Before coming out to Hawaii, I was told by a friend that the new Oahu Nordstrom store was the only one in the United States with a Lippmann Collection Nail Studio. Uh … when I heard that, I booked a manicure and pedicure with a quickness only known to animals in heat and hopelessly addicted beauty junkies.
Lippmann polishes, designed by celebrity nail manicurist Deborah Lippmann, are recognized for their durability and color. With Nordstrom’s help, Lippmann created the Lippmann Collection Nail Studio (referred to as The Lippmann Nail Bar by the Nordie’s staff). She got her start after makeup guru Bobbi Brown discovered her polishes, which are known as much for their fun names (Lippmann is also an accomplished jazz singer and names her polish colors after song titles like Tiny Dancer) as they are for their strength and quality.
Since Lippmann began in the business by catering to on-the-go starlets, several of her nail treatment products can be used quickly and without water. The studio is also known for its waterless manicure.
While I had “some work done” at the nail bar, Aimee (pronounced eye-me), the store’s Lippmann counter manager and manicurist, filled me in on the philosophy behind the Lippmann services.
A Lippmann manicure is less painful than a typical mani/pedi treatment. Cuticles aren’t cut, hands and toes are soaked in large bowls of warm water rather than spa tubs with jets, and the nails are only filed in one direction to prevent breakage. It’s more of a holistic approach to nail care. A Lippmann manicure focuses on improving the health of your nails over time. During a mani/pedi, the nail technician asks you about your personal nail care habits and will also recommend treatments and techniques that you can apply at home.
Six Degrees of Mariah Carey
The singer is currently on Oahu to shoot a new video. The first thing Aimee said when I sat down for my manicure was that she was currently on-call to do Mariah’s nails and might have to leave at any second. Consequently, all I could think of during my manicure was, “I’m with Mariah Carey’s manicurist, holy frickin’ crap!”
The Lippmann Nail Bar offers several different nail treatments. I really wanted to indulge myself, so I went for the Star Treatment Manicure and Pedicure, which includes an exfoliating scrub, as well as a hand-and-foot massage.
Partial menu of services…
Star Treatment Manicure ($40)
Nail and cuticle care, scrub with heated mitts, hand massage, polish (55 minutes)
Star Treatment Pedicure ($60)
Nail and cuticle care, foot soak, exfoliation of callused skin, exfoliating scrub to knee (oy! I’m so glad I shaved my legs), foot massage, polish (60 minutes)
Studio Manicure ($30)
Nail and cuticle care, hand massage, polish (50 minutes)
Studio Pedicure ($50)
Nail and cuticle care, exoliation of calloused skin, foot massage, polish (50 minutes)
Aimee helped me pick out shades for my hands (Tiny Dancer, a pale pink) and my toes (It’s Delovely, a bright coral) and described several of Lippmann’s famous nail treatments.
I really enjoyed both the manicure and the pedicure, but the pedicure took the cake. You’re treated like queen for a day, reclining in a comfortable, squishy chair while your toes get pampered and painted.
A few of the Lippmann Collection products used during the manicure and pedicure…
Cuticle Treatment ($18) – A natural jojoba and vitamin E cuticle oil used to soften cuticles, and, Aimee says, it also works to soften and moisturize dry heels.
Cuticle Remover ($17) – One of the on-the-go Lippmann Collection products designed to be used without water to remove debris around the cuticle area.
Ridge Filler ($16) – A clear base coat used to provide nails with a smooth base for polish. Aimee swears by this and says it helps to extend the life of your nail polish.
Rich Girl Hand Cream SPF 25 ($24) – A thick hand cream made with shea butter, avocado and jojoba oil. In addition to containing SPF 25, the cream also contains anti-fade botanicals to fight age spots on the hands.
Addicted to Speed Ultra Quick Dry Topcoat ($20) – This clear top coat dries the upper layers of polish in just two minutes. You’ll still have to be careful with your nails for at least an hour after polishing them for the middle and lower layers to dry.
Tiny Dancer Nail Color ($15) – A soft, sheer pink with subtle sparkle that’s great for a fun, yet natural look. Aimee used this on my hands.
It’s Delovely ($15) – A bright pink coral matte (you know how I am about pink) that’s fun for both toes and hands.
After the mani/pedi my nails looked healthier and felt better than they have in ages. The skin on my hands and feet felt softer, and I was relaxed and happy. It was a wonderful experience that I recommend to any woman planning a trip out to Oahu.
The Lippmann Nail Bar is located on the second floor of the Nordstrom Ala Moana store. Call (808) 953-6100 to make an appointment. Walk-ins are also welcome. Surf on over to Nordstrom.com to check out the many colors available.
Today, I’m putting the durability of my new Lippmann manicure to the test! I’m heading back to the North Shore to get in some snorkeling before tackling my next beauty adventure. Shark’s Cove is an amazing protected reef located near the town of Haleiwa. Despite the name, it’s a safe and easy snorkeling spot (it’s also free, unlike the more famous Hanauma Bay) and a favorite among tourists and locals alike. Just 10 feet off shore, in calm, tranquil water, you can swim with huge schools of colorful fish. I wonder what they’ll think of my nails.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,
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