My Monday Manicure – Adventures in Shellac Nail Polish

How many no-chip nail polishes and manicures are currently on the market? Now there are MANY. It can be hard to even figure out which one to get, each nail salon seems to offer something different. I’d been on the no-chip nail polish fence for a while, but I got lucky for the first time at America’s Beauty Show here in Chicago. The good people of CND World were in town to promote and share the new developments in Shellac nail polish. Shellac is probably the best known, most widely praised version of the no-chip manicure. I’d already heard amazing things. And lucky me, I was allowed to go upstairs to the secret room where some of CND’s best manicurists in the country were doing Shellac manicures for select members of the press. SCORE!

My manicurist was Lauri Allore from Lansing, Michigan. In her city she’s known as THE go-to manicurist and her services are consistently booked solid. I could definitely see why. Lauri did more than just paint my nails. This was a MANICURE. Don’t be fooled, bellas – sometimes you need a MANICURE and you wind up settling for just getting your nails painted.

Lauri paid close and crucial attention to my cuticles for this manicure, using CND’s Solar Oil and Cuticle Eraser. She gently removed my cuticles and got each finger as clean and neat as could be. Then she massaged my hands with nourishing lotion.

And then the Shellac process began.

Shellac nail polish currently comes in quite a few shades – this month they unveiled 12 new shades, so now Shellac comes in 24 shades including purple! As I learned at America’s Beauty Show, Shellac doesn’t stop at just the color you see on the bottle. Layering makes ALL the difference.

My Shellac began with Black Pool. We toyed with a few ideas before deciding to layer lighter colors for a different effect. It turns out that layering Cream Puff or Negligee (two of the palest colors) over Black Pool creates a pretty, deep navy or shimmering charcoal. Both colors are quite similar, and it makes for a subtle transformation that’s still distinctive and cool.

Lauri named it French Midnight.

Basically it’s done like this — the manicurist paints your nails, then you stick your hand in a light box for…I think it was 30 seconds at a time? It didn’t take long, either way. With each layer of shellac nail polish, you stick your hand in the light box to set the Shellac. And when your nails are completely done, they use alcohol to polish the nails to a mirror shine. IMMEDIATELY after, your nails are completely DRY. As in, you can take money out of your wallet, button your coat, put your shoes on, WHATEVER. No chips, no dings, nada. I’m the kind of person who instantly chips her mani, so I LOVED the experience.

I did manage to chip my Shellac a week later, ironically while demonstrating to a friend that my nail polish was indestructible. Note to aspiring Shellac-ers – don’t be hitting your nails with coins, or opening hard-to-open pulltab cans with your nails just because you think it’s a no-chip. You can still manage to chip your situation and you’ll only have yourself to blame, and won’t you feel silly then? Yes. You will. Speaking from experience.

Other than the 2 teeny chips, my nails are going STRONG and it’s been 2 weeks. Of course my nails have grown quite a bit and now my Shellac shows how much growth there’s been…so I’ll be using the Shellac nail polish remover wraps this week. Everyone I’ve spoken with swears that Shellac is amongst the easiest no-chip manicures to remove yourself with their special nail wraps and 99% acetone – but Shellac SHOULD be removed by a nail professional in a salon for the best results.

For a Shellac experience of your own, click here to find a salon.

Have you tried Shellac nail polish? Or gotten your no-chip on another way? Share your experience with me!

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Comments

  1. I experienced my first shellac last week, and while I chipped 10 days later, I normally get about 2 hours out of a manicure…

  2. Sold! *Looking for a place to get “shellacked”! : )

    Bella, question, do they do this with pedi’s also?

  3. Please let us know or email me directly the effect on your nails when you take it off. Is it like gel or silk or acrylic where your natural nail is a little thinner? Is your natural nail still strong?

    • I’d like to know this too, as well as the cost. If I could get a manicure to last longer than 2 hours, I’d do it a lot more often.

  4. I was just inquiring about this so this review has come right on time. My next manicure, I’ll try it out for sure.

  5. Hey bella! I forgot to tell you when I saw you last week but I just tried Shellac as well. It’s only been 4 days but so far, so good. My nails grow pretty fast so I don’t expect to keep it on as long as 2 weeks. But the fact that it dries so fast and maintains its shine is already enough to justify the price!

    I’ve tried the OPI version before and it was a nightmare to remove. I’m hoping the removal of Shellac is just as easy as I keep hearing it is.

    Time will certainly tell. :)

  6. My local nail shop here in Richmond turned me on to Shellac about a month ago. I’ve been shallac-ing ever since! I LOVE it. I usually get between 2-3 weeks out of one mani! I cannot believe this stuffs lasts so long. I’m totally sold on it and it’s all I’ll be getting from now on.

    • Janelle, I am moving to Richmond in 6 weeks and am wondering where you get your shellac nails done. Thank you!!

  7. Ok so Mamabella, Auntiesbella, Sis-in-lawbella & Sisbella have all done Shellac! Fangtastic! especially for myself with the constant dish washing by hand :(

    Going strong like duracell.

  8. I have only tried OPI Axxium,which I loved until I tried to remove myself and ended up taking off the top layer of my nail. I just had them redone this weekend and the next time I will let my manicurist remove it. The color is fabulous and the lasting power is awesome. Next time I may try Shellac. Bella, I hope you try OPI and let us know which one you prefer.

    • I’ve also tried OPI Axxium, and it ruined my nails. I’m not sure if it was the product itself (which I loved while it was on), or the salon not removing it properly. I’m thankful that my nails grow really quickly, and the damaged part is almost gone.

      Afrobella – please post about your experience (and condition of your nails) when having them removed.

      Thanks!

      –Nicole

      • Axxium is the worst of the soak off gel polishes stay away from them, there are a lot of bad reviews of this product. Shellac really is the best, Gelish would be the next option if Shellac is not there.
        ;)

  9. Thanks for this post. I’m glad you had a good experience. I tried Shellac last year for the first time and it was more like SheWhack. My nails began to crack and peel in a few days. But when I went back to the nail salon, they didn’t seem surprised. I think something went awry during the process (manicurist error-it happens). So I’m looking forward to giving it another try!

  10. Yay for Shellac! I just got it done this past weekend. I’m lovin’ the color but it’s just not in me to keep the same nail polish on for days at a time. It’s Day 4 and I already want to take it off. HA!! But I’m shocked at how shiny it still looks. I’m anti gel/acrylic nails so I’m hoping the removal process isn’t like those. Otherwise, I’ll be 38 hot!

  11. I tried Shellac a couple of months ago and loved it! I love to have nail color on but my mani/polishes never last so I normally don’t wear nail color. The Shellac polish lasted going on 3 weeks before it chipped. The only drawback for me was the removal. I damaged my nail bed…as you would with the removal of acrylic nails. I was not introduced to anything called removal wraps or whatever….perhaps I will try again and have them remove. But honestly, I don’t want to pay for removal then another $38 for a new Shellac mani. $50+ manis are spa prices!

  12. In Charleston, SC where I live they charge $35 for Shellac, if there are any chips within 2 weeks you can go back and get it repaired free of charge. I LOVED it. Well I drove down to Atlanta a few weeks ago and the Shellac there is only $20. Now you know I was HOT!!! I just don’t understand why they charge so differently for the SAME thing and it was the same product Shellac. I could see if it was two different brands Maybe. But its worth the money for special occasions.

  13. Also try Harmony Gelish – it comes in 72 shades of good quality colour – at Body Indulgence, Angelina Street, St. James, Trinidad, West Indies they are using that one and Igot my nails done today. Tell Alyssa that Petal/Patrice referred you. :)

  14. The nail salon I go to uses Harmony. I really like the results. The process reminds me of the old gel days but that could just be me. I love having pretty nails for weeks! The price is right as well. It’s only $18 additional for the Harmony and the manicure is $12, not bad at all!

  15. ooh I wonder if this can be achieved at home. sounds like a nice manicure

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  17. I see alot of people asking about how it leaves your nails after it comes off. I’ve been getting Shellac done since it first came out last summer so I’ve got a lot of experience. I constantly have a manicure now when I never had one before. Unless you try to peel it off, which is a job in itself, proper removal leaves your nails in the same condition they were before, if not stronger. I love love love my Shellac.

  18. Bella,
    I read this post and made an appointment for the Shellac Manicure. I live in the Midwest and the cost was only $30 and well worth it. Rarely do I pay for a manicure because I never seem to get my money’s worth. This process and outcome was a dream, my hands are gorgeous! I plan to go back and have the nail tech remove and repolish in two weeks. I’m sold.

  19. Oh My!!! I am in love with that color! I am definitely hard on my nail polish (I type a lot, play the guitar, and an all around klutz)… I know that Karen’s Body Beautiful here in NYC is a Shellac Salon, so I must head over there.

  20. I tried the CND Shellac in purple and I loved it, def worth the money.

  21. I’ve been using Harmony Gelish and love it. I do my own. My manicures usually last around 3 weeks and you can put regular polish over it & as long as you remove it with non-acetone remover, it won’t bother the Gelish polish.

  22. DIYnails says:

    Bought the light and Shellac base, top and colors and do them myself. I do pedi once a month and mani every two weeks. It’s not as strong as real gel nails, but close enough. I usually do a french manicure on my hands, but they have great colors as well. It’s easy to remove, just use pure acetone from a beauty supply shop, put some on a cotton pad and secure to your finger by wrapping with a square of aluminum foil – takes less than 10 minutes to safely remove gel. No buffing, sanding, ever! Amazon has best prices on products.

  23. Got Shellac for the first time on Friday and LOVE IT!! Got French and it looks amazing. I did managet to chip one nail, while I was cooking I sorta sliced off a little on the tip. Darn it. Other than that I am thrilled!

  24. I get shellaced with a mani for 10 bucks @ a local cosmo school here in Indiana…..plus I have the equipment @ home when I want some opi or cg with a uv topcoat 4 a change…..love it

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] for Minx when she really meant that she wanted a no-chip manicure. At that point I had only tried Shellac — arguably the most well known no-chip manicure on the market. I was happy with my Shellac experience, but if you read the Monday Manicure posts you know – [...]

  2. [...] tried quite a few no-chip manicures ever since my first foray in 2011. I keep coming back to CND’s Shellac. And especially NOW that the color range has expanded and [...]

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