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Shellac: Worth The Hype?

By Madeleine Motion 

I recently experimented with Shellac and was asked by Kelly to give her my opinion – mostly because she knows I’m so rough on my nails, so if it could withstand me, then this stuff could withstand anything. For those of you who haven’t heard about it yet, Shellac by CND is a gel-based nail polish that cures under UV with every layer (basecoat, two colour-coats and a topcoat) which means that by the time you leave the salon your nails are completely dry and smudge free. I abandoned my weekly manicures some time ago as I ended up with chipped nails in less than 24 hours (often not more than an hour after leaving the salon!) and just couldn’t justify the expense, so when I kept hearing about this miracle nail colour solution that lasted more than two weeks I had to give it a try. I tried it twice in a row and had two completely different experiences so I will tell you about both and you can decide for yourselves.

Round one was in a soulful deep fuchsia and was applied during a full manicure onto nails that had been without polish for at least six weeks. I left the salon so excited that my glossy perfect nails were totally dry and didn’t bother worrying about smudges. They lasted perfectly and after two weeks there were no chips, just a small gap at the base of the nail bed where my nails had grown.

The second time around did not go on so smoothly. This was my first experience removing Shellac and, although CND do make little removal swabs, most salons are just using the tried and true acetone on cotton wool in tinfoil wraps and this was the method I got. As anyone who has experienced this can tell you, it is pretty horrific for your skin but lifts the colour pretty well, so that then it can just be gently pushed off. I went for a teal blue this time but unfortunately it seemed that my beginners luck had worn off along with my polish and this time the colour did not dry properly and some of my nails had small air bubbles that remained after the polish had cured. This meant that after only three days the polish began to peel off around the bubbles and within another day it was all either peeling up or chipping off – and revealing the deterioration of my nails underneath.

The bright side to my cautionary tale is that I went back to my nail salon to ask them to remove what remained of my Shellac and they gladly re-did them for me at no cost to great success. I think in the end Shellac is totally worth shelling out for (See what I just did there? People win Pulitzers for less than that) but make sure that whoever is doing it is experienced and takes the time to ensure your nails cure properly between every layer. It may not be the beauty miracle that mani-pedi diehards have been claiming it is but for a few dollars more than regular polish it is certainly worth the effort and outlay.

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One thought on “Shellac: Worth The Hype?

  1. I’ve never tried a salon manicure. Can you believe that? I just don’t think it’s worth it to keep spending money when I chip them so quickly. But this sounds like it could last on my nails…so I may try it.

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