Ask a Stylist: Nails that mean business

Do you talk with your hands a lot and love a fresh manicure before a meeting or presentation? Same here. So what are great styles and polishes that add a sophisticated touch in a professional setting?

We asked Claire Beaudreault. The talented nail artist has worked on nails for runways, editorials, and lookbooks. — And did we mention that she brought her “nail game” to several Gimme Gorgeous events? Yes, we love her! Check out her point of view and tips below.

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Claire’s first tip is a kind warning. She says it’s time to consider retiring the “soft pink with white tips” French Manicure. What has once been considered a clean, professional look has since entered dangerous territory that veers toward the adult entertainer.

So what to put on your nails instead?

She says: “Nudes and neutrals don’t have to be boring. Chanel Frenzy is a gorgeous grey-beige. I love grey as an unexpected neutral. It can flatter all skin tones. Greys from pale to dark look great through the fall, winter, spring.” (P.S. If you want to ease yourself into “greige” territory before springing for a Chanel lacquer, try CDN’s Impossibly Plush.)

“Black has gone from rockers and goths to the fingers of the likes of Lauren Conrad and ladies with Louis Vuitton bags.” For a luxe “almost black” with a hint of metal try Jin Soon’s Nocturnal.

Dark burgundy like Chanel’s Vamp, Essie’s Wicked, O.P.I.’s Lincoln Park After Dark is also an option.”

Her current favorite? “Try blue! Sophisticated dark or royal blue or fresh turquoise and mint.”

For blues, look at Chanel’s Blue Satin or Essie’s After School Boy Blazer, for a classy turquoise, look no further than YSL’s Vert D’Orient.

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Thank you so much, Claire, for sharing your secrets with us.

Follow her on Instagram as @maniclaire.

Ask a stylist: Hair that means business

Have an important meeting coming up and wonder what to do with your hair? We always wonder that exact same thing!

So we asked renowned hair stylist Holli Smith whose styles grace the editorials of fashion magazines and on the runways: How do we get our hair to mean business? Check out her point of view and tips below.

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The great news, according to Holli, is that you don’t need a power bob a la Anna Wintour to succeed in business anymore.

She says: “There’s room to let natural textures and colors shine through. People are trying to find hair styles that are less forced. You don’t want to draw too much attention to your hair and away from your face but you don’t have to always pull your hair back. Nowadays you can wear your hair down without necessarily telegraphing anything sensual about yourself.”

“What I teach (and sometimes preach): Don’t remove your identity too much in your efforts to look a certain, acceptable way. Know the expectations and standards in your industry but embrace your personal style and taste.”

“The one tool that can make a big, quick difference is a curling iron. A 3/4 inch barrel is great for most hair lengths. Pick up just the ends of your hair to smooth them out and seal in any flyaways. It adds a polished touch to most hair styles and textures. — And it’s done in just five minutes.”

If your hair is not behaving, Holli recommends you opt for a chic ponytail. She says: “Remember that the lower you place your ponytail, the more mature and classy it will look. The higher you go, the sweeter it gets. Decide whether you want to keep it more textured or more slick and use a good hairspray to set the look.”

She suggests to always go easy on the product. She warns: “It can quickly wind up looking too overdone and generic — any sense of effortlessness goes out the window. Remember you’re going to a meeting not on a shoot where everything needs to sit just so for the perfect shot. Allow your hair to move naturally.”

There are two hair products she takes to every shoot and that work well in everyday situations:

Carol’s Daughter Healthy Hair Butter. “I use it on virtually every type of hair. Use a very small amount, start in the back and don’t work it into your scalp.”

Oribe Superfine Strong Hairspray. “It gives a strong hold without adding stiffness to the hair and works wonders in humid settings.”

Thank you so much, Holli, for sharing your secrets with us.

Follow her on Instagram as @hollismithhead and we highly recommend a leisurely browse through her portfolio of magazine covers and editorials. We might be feeling some hair envy…