It's no secret that I always love to have my nails looking impeccable. I adore bright hues in the summer and crave dark shades for winter. And I pretty much feel naked without some type of polish on my nails.
However, keeping my nails polished to perfection requires a fair amount of effort with all the painting, drying, chipping, re-painting, and so on. Well, that is until now.
Source: Meringue Love
What Shellac Promises:A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was going to get a Shellac manicure with a friend. I'm usually not up for salon manicures because of the expense and also because I do a better job at home than pretty much anyone else! Yet my friend raved about the Shellac manicure: it pretty much ensures a chip-free 2-4 week manicure that stays shiny and doesn't damage your nails at all - in fact, it makes your natural nails grow stronger!
I chose a basic nude color with the promise that I could paint over the polish/gel hybrid color at any time and remove it with regular polish remover to still have the shiny nude Shellac underneath. 2-4 weeks is a long time for me to commit to a color! Plus, by painting over the polish/gel, it ensures that the color on top will be much less likely to chip as well!
How Shellac Works:The process of putting the Shellac on is a little more intense than a regular manicure, but much, much less intense than acrylic nails. The nail tech does all the typical manicure stuff (cuticles, buffing, etc) and then paints on the Shellac base, color, and top coat, curing your nails under a UV light in between each coat. They have to be more precise when painting the Shellac on and the UV curing time (about 2 mins for each coat) adds about 10-15 minutes to what a regular manicure would take. However, I love having my nails done, so I actually don't mind at all!
The finished result will be perfectly polished shiny nails that require no drying time. The Shellacs may be a tiny bit thicker than regular nail polish, but nothing overly noticeable like with acrylics. After 2-4 weeks you return to the salon and the color is cured off. Totally painless! Then it will be re-applied fresh, never filled.
Final Results:So how did the Shellac fair for me?
I have been wearing it now for over 3 weeks. My nails have grown out quite a lot (my nails grow fast!) so my natural nail is visible at the base. I had a bit of chipping on the corners of a few of my nails where my actual nail went with it but my nails don't usually do well with a blunt square shape - I was easily able to file these spots into a clean shape. Also, some of my nails are pretty weak near the top because my nails tend to flake. On two of my nails the gel started to raise up a bit and on one it chipped off, leaving a bit of my nail exposed. The most visible thing was the tip wear, but that isn't a big deal.
So that doesn't really sound like a raving review does it? Well, I still think this stuff is amazing. My nails are long and strong and I think next time around will be even better. I've been in and out of the pool a lot this past month, and also I am by no means gentle with my hands or nails. My nails tend to flake at the tips and split on the sides when my nails get too long so this is awesome for preventing both those issues. Also, I painted right over these beauties with a bright red orange (just one coat) and it stayed looking perfect for a full week and came off with not a trace that it was ever there.
Value:I paid about $40 + tip for my Shellac manicure which is more than I would pay for a regular manicure (done about once a week, about $10 at a salon, but mostly I do it at home, which probably costs about $1 and my time), or than I used to pay back in the day when I had acrylics (about $35 for a full set every few months, and then about $15 every 2 weeks for a fill, plus unaccounted for nail pain and suffering), considering I wear the Shellacs for 3 weeks on average.
I believe some salons are less expensive, but I have read that $40-45 is a pretty standard price.
For me personally, I love having my nails done, but hated wasting money on a regular manicure that was poorly painted and only lasted a few days. I think this is an awesome solution and I plan on continuing to have it done.
Source: Meringue Love
- Have your nails done fairly short because you will need to account for several weeks of growth.
- If you nails are like mine, you may want to consider a rounded-square shape instead of square so that the corners don't break (like mine did).
- Go for a lighter color so growth isn't as visible.
- Ask your nail tech if they can try to make the bottom edge as thin as possible so growth won't be visible if you paint over the Shellacs (good for stretching how long you keep them on!).
- Have your toe nails done for the beach or during the winter: no sand chipping your polish right off or wearing flip flops out in the cold to prevent smudging!
- Also, good to know: Shellac colors actually match their regular polish counterparts for easy at home corrections! (Unlike some other similar systems like OPI's Axxium, which my nail tech also said aren't as good as CND's Shellac)
More Info on CND's Shellac Polish:
- Nails Magazine's Shellac Post (with great pictures!!)
- NY Times Article: Yes, This Manicure Is 12 Days Old
- All Lacquered Up's Shellac Review
- Shine: Would you believe a manicure that really lasts 14 days?
If you are in Pittsburgh, I got mine done at Capristo in Shadyside and I would highly recommend them!