Mila Kunis. Kim Cattrall. Olivia Wilde. Campaigns for Badgley Mischka, BCBG and Rimmel. And these are just a few of the celebrities and brands that celebrity manicurist Michelle Saunders has worked on. Pretty impressive, right? Read on to discover how she got her start, which base coat she loves, and so much more.
How did you first become interested in beauty, and what led you to become a manicurist?
I am originally from San Francisco but moved to Los Angeles in 2008. I went to cosmetology school in the bay area right out of high school, in the early 90s. While I was learning about hair, skin and nails, I naturally gravitated towards manicuring, and ended up graduating with 3 times as many manicures that are required by the state of California.
While still in cosmetology school, I was recruited by Chanel. They had created a promotion to kick off their nail polish line, introducing the nail color Vamp, and needed a manicurist to work in various stores around the bay area like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. Little did I know that was my first introduction to high end nail care and mobile manicuring, which is exactly what I do today.
You have a very impressive celebrity clientele! What do you love about working with them?
Living in Los Angeles its almost impossible not to run into a celebrity -- they need their nails done too! I have been fortunate to meet some amazing and talented actors and artists. My favorite looks vary from trend to trend. Currently, I enjoy creating nail art looks with just nail polish. It is fun to apply different colors and techniques to create a unique look for each client.
What are your favorite nail polishes?
I really love and have many nail polishes! I can polish with any brand but the top 3 that are in my manicure kit are:
I find that these 3 lines have everything I need for a perfect manicure!
What are your top 5 nail-specific product essentials?
1) Essie Cuticle Pen
2) Deborah Lippmann Turn Back Time Base Coat
3) Good old fashioned acetone
4) Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat
5) SpaRitual Ginger hand lotion
What is your top nail tip?
Use hand cream and cuticle oil every day! If you don’t, it’s like shampooing your hair without using conditioner. It would result in dry brittle hair, so do the same for nails by re-moisturizing them after you wash your hands!
Being a manicurist must be fun, but what do you do in your spare time?
My free time is cherished. I can have days off or weeks off. Within that time I find myself cleaning and organizing my kit, spending time with friends and family and enjoying the casual beach life!
Find out more about Michelle Saunders at manikit.com.