Beauty Expert Q & A: Green Celebrity Manicurist Jenna Hipp

jenna_hippAs beauty addicts, we often want to know how to duplicate a celebrity’s hair style (Jennifer Aniston anyone?) or rush out to buy the lipstick Scarlett Johansson wore on the red carpet. But what about their nails? Surely there’s got to be a well skilled manicurist behind the scenes making sure those hands and nails look as well groomed as the rest of their appearance! Naturally there is, and I was able to track down very busy celebrity manicurist, Jenna Hipp, who has not only worked with some of the best in the business, she is also passionate about using nail lacquers and treatments that are green.

Shannon: Everyone who focuses on a particular niche in beauty seems to have had that one moment in their lives that evoked that passion. Can you recall the moment you knew you wanted to be a manicurist and more specifically one that focused on green nail lacquers and treatments?

Jenna Hipp: Five years ago, I personally experienced formaldehyde poisoning (while on a job!) from breathing in and overexposure to nail polish. As soon as I got home, I began researching alternative, high-quality polish options that would still meet the expectations of my clientele. This is how I discovered SpaRitual and ORLY, both free of harmful chemicals, while also being mindful of the environment, thus beginning my passion for spreading the word.

Shannon: What is the one mistake you find women make when it comes to their nails?

Jenna Hipp: French Pedicures! (I know so many women are gasping for air right now!) But seriously, do you really want to pay good money to give the illusion of grown out toenails? Just say no! Also, not using a base coat is a big mistake a lot of women make. Base coats not only give the polish a tough foundation for staying power, but they also protect nails from being stained by the lacquer and create a guide for the nail polish so it can glide on and grip to the nail much easier. Be sure to use nourishing base coats free of DBP and other harsh chemicals as it absorbs into your body.

Shannon: You recently said that applying a lacquer that complements your skin tone is just as important as matching the right foundation. Are there colors in general that don’t look good on any skin tone; and which colors are universally appealing on every skin tone?

Jenna Hipp: Just like eye shadow or lipstick, you should choose the right nail polish to complement your skin’s natural undertones. The right lacquer color can elongate the fingers and beautifully enhance the entire appearance of your hands and feet. But be careful! Accidently painting the wrong color could cause an effect that’s, um, not so flattering.

If you have fair skin like Winona Ryder or Kirsten Dunst, try neutrals with pink or blue undertones, tawny and beige’s with a white base, and coraly reds if you like an extra pop.

Medium skin like Jessica Alba and Vanessa Hudgens should wear toffee beiges with warm undertones, plums, berries, and coppery cinnamon with gold undertones.

A dark skin tone such as Halle Berry, Rhianna and Beyonce can get away with more color options than the rest of us. Consider coffees, and shimmerless bronze as a neutral. Plum and mauve will always be a safe bet, but choose a cherry red sometime, just for fun.

jenna_hipp_hayden_panettiereBecause there are so many colors out there, choosing a color for your skin tone can be a little intimidating. I suggest bringing in your favorite lipstick, eye shadow, and/or blush and choose a nail lacquer that blends in with the same family of colors as your makeup.

ORLY’s Enchanted Forest is my absolute favorite color right now. I’ve used it on all skin tones and have yet to be disappointed. Black, of course, looks great on everyone and is still the only color you can get away with wearing a little bit chipped.

To add depth to any color, just use black as the first coat of a lacquer layer. For example, I layered one coat of black and topped it with “Enchanted Forest” on a shoot with Anna Paquin from “True Blood.” The final color was much deeper and darker than the original and can be described as “black with a hint of green.” Not only did she love the final color, it set the perfect tone for her outfit and accessories.

Ultimately, the rule to remember when it comes to color – you don’t have to follow any rules! The most important thing is to get out there and paint with a color outside your norm. You’ll never know unless you try!

Shannon: You have worked with a lot of celebrities, is there any one in particular that stands out that you have enjoyed working with? Can you tell us a little bit about your experience working with her (or him)?

Jenna Hipp: I actually get most star-struck by photographers and hair and makeup artists sometimes because I admire their talent so much! To answer your question though, Jessica Alba and Fergie are so awesome. They were some of my very first celebrity clients and they’ve been hiring me ever since. I owe them a lot because by requesting me on jobs, they opened up a lot of doors for me in the industry.

Shannon: Do you have any collaborations or projects you are currently working on (or coming up)?

Jenna Hipp: I have a little something in my back pocket right now, but that’s top secret and will have to be continued! You didn’t ask me this but, I would love to work with Dolly Parton. Actually, I would probably faint. She’s my all time favorite and how she can play guitar with those nails, I’ll never know! Unless, of course, I meet her someday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

You can check out Jenna’s portfolio online at

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Posted on by Shannon Smyth in beauty, beauty interview, Nail Polish 4 Comments

About the author

Shannon Smyth

Shannon began A Girl's Gotta Spa! beauty blog in 2005 to morph her love of beauty and in educating women on what truly works and what does not. She has been featured in Glamour, VOGUE Australia, Woman's World, Nail Pro, SHAPE and on WBRE's PA Live. She is a go-to source for social media consulting when it comes to beauty brands.

4 Responses to Beauty Expert Q & A: Green Celebrity Manicurist Jenna Hipp

  1. Holistically Haute

    Love Orly nail polish…didn’t know that it contains less harmful chemicals than other brands…good to know!

  2. anonymous

    Don’t you have to have a license to practice though? Because Jenna Hipp does not.

  3. Shannon Nelson

    I’m sure you need a cosmetology license or what not, but I’ve never actually asked any industry experts what they hold a license in.

  4. anonymous

    Yeah, she doesn’t have any license to practice… Shady

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