I love nail polish, but I hate chipped nails. All year long, my ritual has been to sit down on Sunday nights in front of Desperate Housewives and give myself a manicure. And all year long, by about Wednesday or Thursday, the colour is chipping and I have to remove it.

Doesn’t matter what I try: different brands, base coat, top coat, magic potions. I get four good days, tops. And I can’t stand walking around with chipped nails. (Of course I can’t. You know I’m weird about stuff like that.)

Then, a few months ago, a coworker showed me her incredible looking nails, and bragged that she was on week two of her manicure, with not a single chip! I was intrigued. She told me it was called Shellac, which I had heard of, but never actually seen in person.

Finally, for Mother’s Day, I asked for a gift certificate to go see the same nail technician, and my husband obliged. It took me almost a month to get an appointment, but the results were so worth it.

What happens is this: a special type of polish is used (our technician uses the “Creative” brand; I’ve seen it described as a polish/gel hybrid) and after each coat, you stick your hand into a little UV light box. The light seals the polish, and it is virtually bone-dry after the last blast of light (not requiring evaporation time like regular polishes). Reach right into your pocket for your keys; your colour won’t budge!

You still have your natural nails, but with a gorgeous, shiny polish that will last at least 14 days! (I made my next appointment for three weeks’ time. Once you get new regrowth by your nail beds, it starts to look messy.)

The most stressful part for me was choosing a colour, since three weeks is a big commitment! Although I’m much more of a red girl, I went with a gorgeous pink that I couldn’t resist. I’ve been pulling all the pinks out of my wardrobe for the last few days to go with it.

Here are my hands on Day 10 of the manicure…not a single chip or sign of wear! You can see a bit of regrowth, but that’s it. (There’s a bit of glare at the tips from the light, but in person they still look perfect.)

Some people wonder if the UV lights are dangerous, and while the power is very minimal, there is no real research to answer one way or the other. Wearing sunscreen on your hands couldn’t hurt.

It’s possible to take off the Shellac at home by soaking in acetone, but it’s recommended that you return to the salon. Removal takes about ten minutes and most of the time is free (of course, the technician is hoping that you’re back for another treatment). There is no damage to the nails.

How much would you expect to pay (or be willing to pay) for the Shellac experience? Personally, I find it a bargain at $35. Now, to keep it up permanently would be a bit of a luxury (which at this point I intend to indulge in), but for any occasion that would normally send you scurrying to the salon, this would absolutely be worth it.

To steal from an old (if slightly inappropriate) expression: once you go Shellac, you never go back.

Note: In case this post sounds suspiciously like a paid advertisement, I’d like you to know that I’m not receiving a cent, just sticking with the original theme of my blog: sharing the things This Mom Loves.

1 comment on “I’d Like To Kiss the Inventor of the Shellac Manicure”

  1. Thanks for sharing the part about sunscreen! I had gone for a few shellac manicures without realizing it was UV (duh!) and felt a little worried after….also some further advice – there is nothing like your first shellac manicure 🙂 after a few, you might need to take a break – my nails got pretty thin and papery – also there seems to be debate about whether or not to let technicians use the sanders on your nails either in prep or removal….hard to know what is more damaging – the sanders or the acetone! Still a fun treat once in a while nonetheless 🙂

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