Recently, I walked past a nail salon looking at my raggedy nails, and I wondered if they could cut my cuticles. I do have a cuticle cutter at home, but they usually end up looking even more raggedy that before. So I thought, I'll have my cuticles "professionally" cut and then go home and give myself a manicure. Simple right?
Photo credit here - Found via Google Images
Somehow I ended up getting talked into getting a Shellac manicure.. I wanted to share my thoughts and experience with you, because I haven't seen many people talk about this type of treatment.
What is Shellac?
Shellac is a UV set gel nail polish by CND that is marketed as being able to provide you 14-day wear, a mirror (shiny) finish with zero dry time and and no damage to your natural nail.
Anyone who paints their nails have at least once suffered the inevitable smudging or nicking before your polish is dry, or that big noticable chip the day after painting your nails, and for many (like myself) this is what discourages one from going through the trouble of painting your nails in the first place.
However, Shellac is suppose to diminish all of that.
Shellac polishes come in 30 colours, but keep in mind that your salon may only carry a few colours instead of the whole range. With that being said, Shellac is a treatment that can only be done at salons and not at home yourself.
My experience at the salon I went to is that it was a basic manicure (cutting/filing down nails, cutting and conditioning my cuticles) and instead of regular polish they used Shellac. Between coats, they have you place your hand under a UV light (similar to what they do when you get acrylic nails) for a few seconds to "cure" each layer of the polish.
I had decided to go for it and get a French manicure. Here is a photo after I had gotten home. Don't mind my short nails, this manicure wasn't planned and like I mentioned they had cut/filed my nails down during the manicure.
I decided to opt for a French manicure because it's simple, classy, always in fashion, and goes with everything. I was also surprised by how shiny my nails were.I was curious to see how long this manicure would last on my nails, especially since I am so hard on my hands.
A week after my nails were still intact with no chipping whatsoever, they were also still shiny! The only problem I had was that as my nails were growing, the edges of the polish were starting to lift and peel. It wasn't a huge deal - especially since I had opted for no colour on my nail, but I'm not sure how this would have looked if I had gotten a bright or dark colour. I also noticed that on my tips, the polish was starting to "crack." It wasn't chipping, and it wasn't noticable unless you really looked up close at my nails.
I tried my best to capture the peeling of the edges and the cracking, but it was difficult. If you enlarge the photo and zoom in you might be better able to see what I'm talking about. (On my middle finger you can see a bit of the cracking).
As far as the claim of causing no damage to your natural nail - I haven't noticed any difference in my nails. I do have brittle, thin, peeling nails, but I did notice that while I had Shellac on I didn't experience any peeling of my nails - which usually occurs when I have polish on. So that was definitely a plus for me.
All in all, the manicure ended up lasting approximently 3 weeks before I started picking at it, which I was really surprised with. If you're someone who like me, loves the look of polish but hates the up keep with it, try Shellac out. One downside however is if you are someone who likes to switch up your nail polish often, you'll probably get bored of the colour you've chosen after the first week.
Another downside is you have to go into a salon to have Shellac removed, which will end up being an added expense (you'll have to pay for it). If you decided to go into a salon and have another manicure done with Shellac, I'm pretty sure they would remove the existing Shellac polish you have and then continue with the manicure - so, I'm not sure if they would include the price of removal in the manicure or what.
However, according to the CND website, Shellac is removed with acetone. If you aren't already aware, acetone nail polish remover has been taken off consumer shelves because it was discovered to be a carcinogen (linked to causing cancer). You can buy acetone nail polish remover at Sally Beauty Supply, but you probably won't be able to find it at regular stores like Shoppers Drug Mart, Zellers or Wal-Mart. You also won't be able to remove this with regular nail polish (I've tried!)
EDITED (October 30th) - 100% pure acetone is available at Wal-Mart (the brand that they sell is called Onyx), however, I cannot find it at Zellers or Shoppers Drug Mart. So apparently it is still available to consumers.
However, I've tried acetone to remove the remainder of my Shellac manicure and it didn't work very well. I didn't try the foil method because its just a little bit on my nails and I felt that the acetone would be more damaging.
Would I get a Shellac manicure done again? Probably. I love how long it lasted, I was constantly checking my nails for any chips and was surprised that it lasted so long.