Shellac is the brand name for a new, patent pending nail product created by Creative Nail Design (CND). It is a hybrid, meaning half nail polish, half gel. The product can be applied similarly to nail polish on your natural nails (no sculpting or filing). It is cured through UV lighting, just like Gels.
5 Things To Know About Shellac Nails
Shellac manicures are more durable than regular manicures, but there are drawbacks. Understand the benefits and risks.
The manicure industry is abuzz about a more durable option: shellac nails. What is shellac? This nail treatment, which is sometimes referred to as a gel manicure, promises to be a long-lasting manicure — it can last up to a full month without chips, breaks or the need for extra coats.
If this sounds like your manicure dream coming true, weigh the pros and cons before heading to the nail salon. And remember to visit a nail salon that practices good hygiene and is properly licensed.
1. Start with healthy nails before adding gel polish
Shellac or gel polish is an excellent choice for durable nails, but you should start with healthy fingernails. If your cuticles and nail bed are peeling, damaged or splitting, you should not apply gel polish to them. These problems will affect the durability of your finished nails, so it is best to fix the problems before having the treatment.
2. Shellac gel finish lasts up to a month
The longevity of gel nail polish treatment is its main benefit. That’s because gel polish is cured with UV or LED light. However, regular exposure to UV light can lead to age spots.
Almost every Shellac or gel polish treatment will last 14 days. Some people find that the nail polish stays in place for a full month, but new nail growth may send them back to the salon for a touch-up.
Be aware that gel polish is porous, and cleaning products, pool chemicals and other chemicals can cause it to peel or chip. Likewise, the UV light used to cure the polish can lead to age spots and the method use to remove the polish can dehydrate your nails and skin around them. If gel nail polish isn’t removed correctly, it can leave cracks, pits or scrapes on the surface of your nail.
Health experts believe an LED light lamp is a safer way to cure gel polish and they recommend applying a sunscreen on your hands prior to the application of the polish or wearing gloves with the fingertips cut out to protect your skin from UV light. Experts also recommend regularly using lotion or moisturizer to help combat dry skin and brittle nails exposed to acetone.
3. Practice nail care at home
While gel nail polish will last longer than traditional nail polish, it does require home care to keep the nail healthy and the polish looking good. You should apply cuticle oil to your nails twice a day. This will penetrate the porous polish and nourish the nail bed, keeping your nails healthy underneath the pretty colors. Wear gloves when using strong chemicals or tanning oils.
4. Remove gel polish carefully
Gel nail polish requires more time to remove than regular polish and a special process to protect nails and cuticles during the process. You may be tempted to peel the nail polish off when it begins to chip or loosen, but you may tear or peel away some of the top layer of your nail. It’s best to return to the salon to have your nails soaked and wrapped in a special acetone to loosen the gel polish.
The wrapping uses your body heat to loosen the polish so it can be removed. The nail technician may have to scrape the surface of your nail to remove the polish, but it’s better than peeling the polish off. Buffing will help smooth your nail surface.
5. Understand the limitations and health risks of shellac
While durable and beautiful, gel polish has some limitations. First, it is not a nail strengthener. Second, it cannot be used to lengthen the nails during the application process, so people who opt for this treatment should have nails at the length they like.
Finally, while you can buy at-home gel polish kits that come with a curing lamp to do your own nails, the kits start at about $50. If you want a professional look and like trying different colors, you’ll get a complete manicure and overall better experience at a nail salon. After all, gel polish requires that the UV or LED lights be used between three separate coats of polish. The nail technician will do a better job preparing your nails and applying the polish. He or she will also will have better UV or LED lamp equipment than is available to consumers in stores.