Shellac Manicures Subjective Pros and Cons with Realistic Expectations

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Shellac Manicures: Subjective Pros and Cons with Realistic Expectations

by Melissa on November 24, 2010

So I’ve been a fan of shellac manicures for the past 3 months. I have absolutely loved them. They’re pricey, but so worth it in my opinion. The pros far outweigh the cons. However, I think that they are not for everyone and you should consider your lifestyle before spending the time and money on these manicures.


1) They last through everything. You can change dirty diapers, wash dishes, take showers, and nothing will chip them!

2) They dry instantly after they get cured under the UV light so they don’t smudge! In fact, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve touched something before it was fully cured and there wasn’t a smudge to be found! That’s pretty impressive if you ask me!

3) They leave your nails looking amazing for 2 weeks straight (and beyond).

4) It only takes about 15 minutes to get your nails painted! No sitting around waiting for them to dry!

5) They give you an excuse to get a relaxing manicure every few

Oddly enough, with all the hype and popularity surrounding this product, there are not that many resources out there that discuss the pros and cons of using it. I’m going to start off with a few notes on what shellac manicures are and how they work, then move into the pros and cons of using them.

Shellac is a product developed by Creative Nail Design (CND) which is applied by beauty professionals in salons. It’s been on the market for about a year now and has gotten rave reviews from many people. The basic idea behind it is that it’s a gel polish that goes through a curing process with an LED lamp after each coat is applied, resulting in a long-lasting manicure.

The manicure will last for up to two weeks without chipping or cracking. When you’re ready to remove it, you just soak your fingers in acetone for ten minutes to break down the coating and wipe it off with a lint-free pad.

Now, before I get into any details on the pros and cons, let me first say that everybody’s experience is unique so while this may be my experience with shellac manicures, yours may vary completely.

I love the look and feel of a gel manicure, but I hate how they make my nails look thin and weak. I do not like the idea of UV lights, even though I know that they are safe and can be used with caution. I also do not like how they feel on my nails.

So when I heard about Shellac, which is essentially a gel manicure without the UV lights, I was interested in trying it out. Here are a few pros and cons to help you decide if you should use them or not.


-Great lasting power. A good quality shellac mani will last for 2 weeks with no chipping. In my experience, both expensive and cheap shellacs have lasted just as long as each other (although this does depend on how you care for your nails).

-Shiny finish that does not dull over time. Even after 2 weeks, the shine is still there!

-Dries quickly. Most shellacs dry within 5 minutes, although some require longer (up to 15 minutes).


-Shellacs usually cost more than a normal manicure (at least $10 extra). This makes it more expensive over time because you will need

Let’s talk about shellac manicures. I get a lot of questions about them so I figured I would answer most of the common ones in one post.

I want to start off with the pros and cons of getting them, what they are and what they are not, and then go into how to get one that lasts as long as possible.


\u2022 The two biggest pros are that they last longer than regular nail polish and they do not chip at all during that time.


\u2022 There is more prep work involved than with regular polish – which means it takes longer.

\u2022 It is more expensive than a regular manicure – on average \$35 for a shellac manicure vs \$10 for a regular manicure (this can vary depending on where you go).

\u2022 You cannot just go get it removed whenever you want – you have to wait until it starts to grow out or chip (which can take 2+ weeks). And when you go to get it removed, it can take up to 45 minutes if done correctly (which is not always the case).

\u2022 If your nails are very weak/thin, the removal process can be damaging

I have had a few people ask me about shellac manicures. I am by no means an expert, but I have done some research. I hope that you find this helpful when deciding if you want to get a shellac manicure or not.


* Long lasting! They last much longer than regular polish. Mine have lasted 2 weeks without any chips or major wear.

* The color is vibrant and there is a wide variety of colors available.

* Compared to other types of gel nail polish, the removal process is relatively simple and gentle on your nails (you do not need to file off the polish).


* The cost! Shellac manicures can be expensive, especially if you are used to getting your nails done at cheaper salons. Be prepared for sticker shock if you go to a more high end salon for your first appointment. Personally, I pay $30 for a shellac manicure (plus tip) at my local nail salon.

* There are some health concerns regarding the use of UV light and the potential toxicity of some ingredients in the nail polish used for shellac manicures. If you are concerned about these issues, you may want to consider using an alternative gel nail polish that does not require UV light for curing

As a nail polish lover, I have used many different types of manicures from gel to acrylic. I was skeptical about shellac at first, but I have been using it for a couple of years now and really like the results. Before you commit yourself to one product or another, here are some things that you should know.

First, let’s start with a few facts. Shellac is just another type of gel manicure system. When it is applied properly and removed by a professional, there should be no damage done to your nails. Like any other manicure, if the application process is poor or removal is done incorrectly, then your nails may be damaged. This can happen with any brand or type of manicure (shellac, gelish, opi…).

Shellac does not require UV light to cure (harden) in the same way that gelish does. Shellac is cured by LED light or UV light. Since the curing time is much shorter compared to traditional gels (1 minute for LED and 2 minutes for UV), your hands are exposed to less UV radiation during this process. However, if you get manicures on a regular basis (ie: every couple of weeks), then exposure from the lamp can add

Shellac manicures are a long-lasting, high shine manicure option that has become very popular in the last few years. Many salons offer this service as an alternative to natural nail manicures, acrylics and gel nails; however, many salons do not offer the same education on what shellac manicures are or how they differ from other types of manicures. I feel that it’s important for clients to have a realistic idea of what can be achieved with the products and the service before booking an appointment with any salon.

The shiny, strong nails that you see in advertisements for Shellac are achievable; however, it’s important to keep in mind that these “ad nails” were created under optimal conditions by professionals.

The longevity of a Shellac manicure will depend on many things, including genetics, lifestyle choices, body chemistry and personal care habits. The more that you know about how to care for your Shellac manicure at home, the longer your nails will look great.

Shellac is applied like nail polish but cured under a UV lamp instead of air drying. The product is designed to wear like gel nails but be applied like polish; it is a relatively thin product (as compared to gel) which means that it can be painted on

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