What is Shellac Nails? Guide to Durable, shellac Manicure

by grace ashi
shellac nail polish

What is Shellac Nails? Are they safe?

What is Shellac Nails? Shellac Manicure is a hybrid nail treatment that merges the durability of gel with the simplicity of regular nail polish. Known for its resilient glossy finish and vast palette of colors, a Shellac manicure can keep your nails looking impeccable for weeks. As we delve deeper, we’ll explore how Shellac stands out against other manicures, its application process, and tips to maintain its signature luster.

Key Takeaways

  • Shellac manicure is a hybrid of gel and regular polish, offering long-lasting, glossy nails that are easy to apply and remove with minimal damage to nails.
  • Compared to gel manicures, Shellac nails are more accessible to apply, provide a high-gloss finish that lasts up to 14 days, and come in a wide range of colors without adding extra nail stiffness.
  • Taking care of Shellac nails includes sun protection during UV curing, proper nail maintenance, and regular application of top coat to extend manicure life.

What is Shellac Manicure?

Bottles of various shellac nail polish colors

Shellac nails solve our nail worries. They are often called the love child of gel nails and regular polish. It’s the perfect blend of resilience and elegance, offering a finish that’s not only shiny but also impressively long-lasting! Cured under UV light, Shellac nail polish adheres to your nails like a dream, creating a protective layer that’s hard to scratch and keeps your gel nails glossy for longer. You can enjoy a stunning and durable shellac manicure with gel nail polish and semi-permanent polish.

The Origin of Shellac

What’s the origin of this revolutionary manicure? Shellac Nails were born out of a desire to revolutionize the nail industry. Created by CND Co-founder Jan Arnold, Shellac was envisioned as a nail polish offering a long-lasting, chip-free look. Launched in May 2010, Shellac quickly took the beauty industry by storm, offering an alternative to traditional nail polish that promised durability and a high-gloss finish. This marked the rise of Shellac Nails’s last name, effectively resolving the longstanding debate between Shellac Nails and gel nails.

Composition of Shellac Polish

You may now question what sets Shellac nails apart. It’s all in the composition. Shellac polish is made of an acrylic base that undergoes a chemical reaction when cured with a UV lamp, creating a gel-polish hybrid. This unique composition sets Shellac apart from traditional nail polishes, making it half regular nail polish and half gel. The result? A thinner, colored finish that’s easy to apply and remove while offering the durability of gel polishes.

Comparing Shellac Nails and Gel Manicures

Now that we understand Shellac Nails vs Gel Manicure. Both Shellac and gel manicures are loved for their longevity and durability. However, a few key differences set them apart, especially regarding their application process, longevity, and removal techniques.

Application Process

When it comes to application, Shellac nails take the cake. Its thinner consistency makes Shellac much more accessible to apply than gel polish. You can achieve a salon-like finish at home without professional equipment or skills. Plus, with the same tools you’d use for a regular manicure, Shellac nails can be achieved with minimal fuss. However, don’t let its simplicity deceive you. The curing process under a UV or LED lamp gives Shellac nails super strength and resilience.

Longevity and Durability

How do Shellac and gel manicures stack up in terms of lifespan and durability? It’s pretty neck and neck. Shellac Nails and gel polish manicures can last 10 to 14 days. But gel manicures might hold up for up to 3 weeks. However, be aware that several factors can influence their longevity, such as the weather, how often your hands get wet, and how you remove the manicure. Although gel nails may last slightly longer, the debate of shellac nails vs gel nails often comes down to personal preference. , Shellac nails provide comparable longevity without the gel nail’s extra thickness and stiffness.

Removal Techniques

What about the removal process? This is where Shellac truly shines. Unlike gel polish, which often requires filing and soaking in acetone, Shellac nails can be easily removed with less damage to your nails. Using the correct techniques and materials, you can safely remove shellac nails at home. A little acetone, some cotton balls, and a dash of patience are all you need to return your nails to their natural state.

Benefits of Choosing Shellac Manicures

Given all its distinctive attributes, here are some reasons why you should choose Shellac manicures:

  • Impressive durability
  • High-gloss finish
  • Healthier nails
  • Wide range of colors

Shellac gel nails, a popular choice in shellac nail manicures, often involve nail polish.

Healthier Nails

Generally, shellac nails tend to be exceptionally gentle on your nails. Unlike other nail treatments that can strip your nails of natural oils, Shellac is a protective shield, locking in moisture and preventing dehydration. This means you can wave goodbye to brittle, dry nails. Plus, Shellac manicures are designed to be thin, which allows your nails to breathe and grow stronger over time.

Wide Range of Colors

Woman's hands with beautifully painted shellac nails

Also, Shellac Nails provides an abundance of natural and vibrant shades of color choices. With over 160 shades available, you’re spoiled for choice. Whether you’re into classic reds, cool blues, or vibrant neons, there’s a Shellac shade for every mood and occasion.

Glossy Finish

Close-up of glossy shellac manicured nails

Last but not least, who can resist the glossy finish of a Shellac manicure? Shellac manicures are renowned for their high shine, which doesn’t fade over time. Whether two days or two weeks into your manicure, you can count on Shellac to keep your nails as glossy as ever.

Potential Drawbacks and Precautions

Like everything beneficial, Shellac manicure has its precautions to consider. While shellac nails are usually safe and user-friendly, there are a few potential drawbacks, including UV exposure and possible nail damage.

UV Exposure

We should discuss UV exposure. The curing process of Shellac manicures involves exposure to UV light, which can be a health concern. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can cause premature skin aging and age spots and even increase the risk of skin cancer. But don’t panic just yet. There are ways to mitigate this risk. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen or wearing UV-protective fingerless gloves can help protect your skin during curing.

Nail Damage

Potential nail damage is another precaution to consider. Improper removal of Shellac polish can lead to nail damage. However, with the proper removal techniques, this risk can be minimized. Remember:

  • Never forcefully scrape or pull off the polish.
  • Be patient.
  • Use acetone-soaked cotton balls.
  • Gently lift the polish with a cuticle stick.

Cost and Availability of Shellac Manicures

Let’s go into the details of cost and availability. Shellac manicures typically cost between $24-$45. But prices can vary depending on the salon and location. While high-end salons might charge more, you can find more affordable options at local nail salons. So, whether you’re on a budget or ready to splurge, there’s a Shellac manicure for everyone!

Tips for Extending the Life of Your Shellac Manicure

Do you wish to maximize your Shellac manicure? Here are some suggestions to prolong its lifespan:

  • Practice proper nail care
  • Use protection strategies, such as wearing gloves when doing household chores.
  • Apply a top coat regularly to maintain the shine and durability of the manicure.

These tips will help you keep your Shellac manicure looking fresh and glossy for longer.

Proper Nail Care

Woman applying cuticle oil to maintain shellac manicure

Proper nail care is essential for maintaining a healthy manicure. This includes keeping your nails and cuticles moisturized, avoiding peeling or picking at your polish, and giving your nails a break from Shellac every eight weeks. Regular use of nourishing cuticle oils can also go a long way in maintaining the health and strength of your natural nails.

Protection Strategies

Hands wearing protective gloves while doing household chores

Shielding your Shellac nails from damage holds equal importance. This could mean wearing gloves when performing labor-intensive activities or using harsh chemicals. It also means being mindful of your daily habits. Avoid using your nails as tools to open or pick at things, as this can lead to chipping or peeling your polish.

Regular Top Coat Application

Lastly, make sure to apply a clear top coat polish weekly. This can help prevent chips and cracks, extending the life of your Shellac manicure. Remember that regular maintenance and care are the secret to a durable manicure.


In a nutshell, Shellac manicures offer a unique blend of durability, shine, and ease of application. They present a revolution in the nail industry, providing a more resilient and easy-to-maintain alternative to traditional and gel polishes. However, like any beauty treatment, they come with their precautions. So, whether you’re a manicure maven or a nail novice, the key is to be informed and mindful in your nail care journey. After all, every hand tells a story, and with Shellac, you can make sure it’s glossy!

FAQ Shellac Nails

What is the difference between gel nails and shellac nails?

The main difference between gel nails and shellac is that Shellac is a specific brand of gel nail polish by CND, while gel nails can be applied in different ways, such as by hand or under a UV lamp with acrylic powder.

Is shellac good for your nails?

Shellac manicures can cause nail brittleness, peeling, and cracking, so they’re not necessarily good for your nails. Be cautious when using it.

How long does a shellac manicure last?

Shellac nails manicure typically lasts about two weeks if applied correctly. It’s recommended to get them removed after 14 days as your natural nail starts to grow out.

What’s the cost of a Shellac manicure?

A Shellac manicure usually costs between $24 and $45, but it can vary based on the salon and where you are.

How does Shellac manicure contribute to healthier nails?

Shellac acts as a protective shield for your nails, locking in moisture and preventing dehydration. This helps to maintain healthier nails.

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