Elsbeth Schuetz, celebrity manicurist and nail artist for Nailtini, can transform a plain set of fingertips into a work of art, in fact, one of her designs was inspired by a Matisse painting. Other creations mimic a sheet of newsprint or even spell a phrase, like “I’m single.” Schuetz also does more traditional manicures and has worked with dozens of celebrities. Most recently, she painted the nails for this season’s cast of Dancing With The Stars.
LN: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING AS A NAIL ARTIST?
ES: More than 20 years, believe it or not. I didn’t start out with celebrities. I started out working for different manufacturers, and then I did international education for different companies, basically spreading the gospel of nails all over the world. I went to Russia and Ukraine and Malaysia and Japan when nobody did nails yet.
LN: WHICH CELEBRITIES HAVE YOU WORKED ON?
ES: Demi Moore, Rene Russo, Pamela Anderson, Kirsten Dunst, Helen Hunt, Britney Spears.
LN: WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING WITH CELEBRITIES?
ES: To me they’re regular people. The difference is, there’s a huge confidentiality issue; you cannot just go out and repeat what they did or said. It’s also not as glamorous as people think. A lot of the time I’m sitting on the floor, squeezed between makeup artists and stylists, doing the feet. Or we work in small trailers, and there’s always time pressure.
LN: WHAT POLISH COLORS ARE MOST POPULAR NOW?
ES: The leading shades are very natural and a lot of dark, dark colors. People used to want acrylic nails and long nails. Now, 90 percent of the time I do natural nails, and they’re short. The button look, these short little red nails, are perfectly acceptable now.
LN: WHAT SHADE WORKS BEST FOR MOST SKIN TONES?
ES: For a long time it was the French manicure, but that’s just a little bit passé. It’s now just pale color. I use ‘frappe’ from Nailtini. It’s a soft, pinkish, milky color. I probably use that shade more than anything else in the collection.
LN: IS BLACK POLISH TRENDY RIGHT NOW?
ES: Black was the leading color two years ago. It’s still hot, but the trend color right now is navy. Nailtini has a color called caviar cocktail, and it’s like a black pearl. I went to a party, and there was a lady in her 80s wearing open-toed shoes, and she had that color on her toes!
LN: IS CHIPPED NAIL POLISH EVER OK?
ES: No, it is not ok! To me it’s just like wearing lipstick only on your upper lip or eyeshadow on one eye.
LN: HOW DO YOU KEEP NAIL POLISH FROM CHIPPING?
ES: When most women do a manicure at home, they file, then wash their hands with water and soap. Well, soap has oil in it and nothing is going to stay on. The best way to make the polish adhere is to clean your nail plate with acetone. I usually clean it twice.
LN: WHAT’S A COMMON MISCONCEPTION PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT BEAUTY?
ES: My thing is, if your nails aren’t done, you’re not done. People will be dressed up nice in a black dress, and their lips are done, their hair is done but their nails look horrible. Women should think of their nails more as an accessory.
LN: WHAT’S YOUR BEST BEAUTY ADVICE FOR WOMEN?
ES: Women should really take better care of their hands. Because our hands have fewer oil glands than other parts of our body, it’s very important that we always moisturize. In the summer when you put SPF 17 on your face, do it on your hands, too. Sometimes I tell people, no matter how many facelifts she’s had, you can always tell a woman’s age by her hands. But if you really take care of your hands, nobody will be able to tell.
LN: WHAT DO YOU WEAR ON YOUR NAILS?
ES: I always like a pale color, because when you work, you don’t really see it when it’s messed up. On my toes I always do nail art. Right now, I have my husband’s name on them.