The History of Shellac: A blog about the evolution and practices around shellac manicures.
Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes (pictured at left), which are dissolved in ethyl alcohol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish. Liquid shellac has certain properties that make it well-suited to certain finishing applications.
It dries quickly, but not instantly; it can be removed with alcohol; it is easy to apply and re-coat, and it can be buffed to a high gloss.
For many years, shellac was one of the dominant finishes in use for furniture and cabinet work. It was supplanted by nitrocellulose lacquer in the early part of the 20th century. In recent years, shellac has been making a comeback among woodworkers who appreciate its ease of use and excellent brushing properties.
While there are many advantages to using shellac, there are some things you should know before you start using it on your own projects.
Shellac manicures have recently seen a surge in popularity, with many women and some men opting to go the shellac route rather than regular polish. But what is shellac and why does it matter? This blog will explore the history of shellac, as well as its use today.
What is Shellac?
Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes (pictured at right), which are dissolved in alcohol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish.
Shellac functions as a tough natural primer, sanding sealant, tannin-blocker, odour-blocker, stain, and high-gloss varnish. Shellac was once used in electrical applications as it possesses good insulation qualities and it seals out moisture. Phonograph and 78 rpm gramophone records were made of it until they were replaced by vinyl long-playing records from the 1950s onwards. Early 20th century electric motors would often be coated with shellac to insulate them from short circuits caused by stray strands of wire or metal shavings becoming lodged between the windings of their
Shellac is a natural resin secreted by insects of the genus Laccifer, or the Kerria lacca. Shellac is sometimes referred to as “Lac”. The lac insect is native to India and Thailand. Shellac has been used in Europe since at least the 1600s, but did not become common in the United States until the 1850s when it was imported in bulk from India.
Because it’s made from a natural resin, shellac can be applied with a brush and doesn’t need to be wiped off with alcohol or acetone after curing (like gel polish). Shellac manicures last for about two weeks without chipping and can be removed in about 20 minutes.
Shellac Manicure Kit: The following will provide you with all of the tools you need to do your own shellac manicure:
Nail File/Buffer and Nail Clippers
Pure Acetone or Pure Ethyl Acetate
100% Cotton Balls
Clear Base Coat (1/2 fl oz)
Color Coat (15 mL)
Top Coat (1/2 fl oz)
Cuticle Pushers/Orange Sticks
Shellac manicures are the new trend in nails and salons everywhere are offering them. Unlike traditional acrylic nails, shellac is a nail treatment that is applied like polish, but performs like gel. Shellac is cured under a UV lamp, so there is zero dry time. The color stays flawless for at least 2 weeks, and it can be easily removed without damaging the natural nail.
By now you may be wondering how shellac nail treatments came about. Well to answer your question, we must go back to the early 1900s. In the beginning of the 20th century, electrical goods were very popular and in high demand because they made life much easier. One of these electrical goods was the radio which everyone wanted to own but they were all too expensive for most people to buy.
Inventors were challenged to come up with a material that could coat the wires of radios so they would be cheaper and more durable than glass. They needed a material that could conduct electricity and resist high temperatures and harsh chemicals such as alcohol; it also had to have a glossy finish to make it look more appealing to consumers.
Frenchman Henri Breault discovered that when lac (insect resin) was combined with denatured alcohol, it produced a shiny coating that was
Although shellac is a relatively new product to the nail industry, it actually has a very interesting history! Shellac was first used in the early 1900’s as a coating for wood products and electrical wiring. It was also used by the motion picture industry to make movie film. In the 1950’s, shellac was introduced as a nail product. It is believed that the name “shellac” was adopted since it sounds similar to “gel”.
Shellac is a type of gel polish that soaks off the nails similar to regular nail polish. However, unlike regular nail polish, shellac does not need to be dried under an LED light. This results in less damage to the natural nails than gel nails and shorter visit times than traditional manicures.
It has been around for nearly 100 years and many people think that it is just another form of gel.
Although shellac is a relatively new product to the nail industry, it actually has a very interesting history! Shellac was first used in the early 1900’s as a coating for wood products and electrical wiring. It was also used by the motion picture industry to make movie film. In the 1950’s, shellac was introduced as a nail product. It is believed that the name “shellac” was adopted since
In its earliest form, shellac was a natural resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It was processed by crushing the bugs and mixing their bodies with a solvent. The solution was filtered, heated, cooled and then allowed to harden into flakes, which were sold as “shellac” to entrepreneurs around the world. No one knows when or where these entrepreneurs came from, but they saw an opportunity to make money off of nail salons in America.
Today, shellac is generally a blend of synthetic resins that mimic natural shellac. It is dissolved in alcohol to make liquid shellac which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish. It’s also used in hair spray and other cosmetics. Shellac can be found in many products such as deodorant, lipstick and shampoo.
It was first sold as a manicure product in 1878 by Charles Revson’s father-in-law who started Revlon Company. Revson went on to start his own company called Cutex which became very popular in both Canada and the United States due to advertisements that appeared on TV with celebrities such as Doris Day promoting them. Today’s modern cuticle oil has
Shellac, a natural resin and the finish of choice for centuries, has been making a major comeback in recent years. Used as far back as ancient Egypt for its waterproofing properties, shellac is made from the excretion of the female lac bug. The resin is collected, processed and sold in several forms.
For many years shellac was used to seal wood floors, but when it was discovered that shellac had superior sealing properties to wood, this opened up a whole new world of products. Modern technology has allowed us to produce shellac in various shapes and sizes. Shellac is also available in different colors and finishes. This article will explore the history of shellac and how it has evolved over the years.
Shellac was first used by the Egyptians, who were the first known civilization to make use of this natural resin. The Egyptians used shellac to protect their burial sites from moisture and decay due to the climate. Another use for shellac was as an ingredient in cosmetics and hair products such as hairspray, nail polish and lipstick. Shellac was also used in medicine to help treat wounds and diseases such as leprosy.