The salon: Varnish in Los Angeles

The owner: Sisters Kim McIntyre and Jennifer Doonan

What it is: An alternative to the traditional French Manicure, the Gold Digger puts precious metal at clients’ fingertips - literally. Using champagne, gold-infused products, and 24k gold leaf, techs at Varnish give clients golden fingers. A coating of gel protects the 24k gold-tipped French manicure and keeps it kicking for up to three weeks.


  • Remove polish and shape the nails
  • Pop the cork on a bottle of champagne and pour some into a beautiful glass bowl beads in the bowl add a pleasing sensation for the client and add to the presentation of the service. Allow hands to soak in the champagne for a few minutes.
  • Perform the basic manicures steps. Clean the nail plate, remove excess cuticle, push back the eponychium.
  • Exfoliate the hands with sugar scrub and apply cuticle oil.
  • Perform the natural nail and apply a base coat.
  • Apply gold leafing just to the tips of each nail.
  • If desired, polish the nail plate.
  • Apply a thin coat of gel to the entire nail, capping the free edge Cure and remove the tacky layer.
  • Apply cuticle oil.

Alternative Names: The Gold Finger, Precious Metal Manicure, First Class French

Products: Varnish uses a mix of:

  • Proprietary products (Varnish cuticle oil, base coat and polish)
  • Champagne
  • Lemonade Sugar Scrub from get Fresh
  • Imported gold-infused cream from Pro Skin
  • IBD gel

Each product beyond lifting into the luxurious theme, serves as purpose in the manicure. The champagne is “high in alpha hydroxy acids.” says McIntyre, and the gold-infused creamy texture is great for the massage portion of the manicure.


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