To Shellac or Not to Shellac, That is the Question

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By Jenny Tiegs

No longer is a nice shade of pink or red acceptable for a manicure these days. Especially when it may chip off the next day while you do the dishes or buckle your strappy sandals. The newest craze is shellac. Nail shellac is taking salons by storm over the past year or so. This innovative type of manicure is the answer to any woman’s needs. The beautiful polish stays on for more than two weeks, resists chips and wear and the shine can be restored with a quick swipe of rubbing alcohol. If you haven’t had it done, it’s time to get to your favorite nail tech and ask for shellac. 


The process is a bit long, so do not assume you’ll be in and out in less than an hour or for the same price, but it is worth it.  You can chose from a number of colors, but be sure it is one that you can tolerate for longer than 2 weeks because this stuff is very similar to car paint in terms of wear. First your nails are prepped with the trimming of cuticles, filing and buffing. Then a layer of gel is applied the bare nail. Then your tech will place your hands under a special UV lamp to “seal” the nail. Then the shellac goes on, is cured with the UV light and repeated a few times.  Finish with a topcoat, more UV light and a shining with rubbing alcohol and you’re done. You can even dig through your purse to find your keys because these nails are dry, solid and look dang good. 

When you’re either tired of your color or the grow-out is driving you nuts (because that’s usually what happens first.  You will not go in because it’s worn or chipped unless you are doing some kind of road construction, and even then, maybe not.), your nail tech will ask you to soak your nails in acetone polish remover and then remove the shellac a wooden stick or other tool. Rarely is a file needed, but it depends on the method your tech is comfortable with.  At this point, the next question you need to ask yourself is: do you shellac again or not? 

Either way, your nails are not damaged in the process of shellac and you can go back to regular old-school polish or shellac it up again!  Have fun and use your nails as a fun accessory! 



On a personal note, I loved the shellac, but found myself wanting to change the color a week later, and I could have totally done that if I didn’t have to schedule a babysitter to do so. I couldn’t get my hands on some good acetone, so I had to go in and have the shellac taken off by a nail technician. She asked me about 5 times if I wanted the shellac again, and each time I declined, and each time she was disappointed and confused. I could see her thinking, “Why is this girl crazy? Why doesn’t she want shellac again?!” I love nail color and wanted to change up my color more often and the grow out drove me nuts after a week and a half.   can see how shellac is perfect for a busy woman who wants a nail color that will withstand typing for hours a day and all the other everyday things that are hard on regular polish. I also recommend this to women who have the dirty habit of picking off their polish (I fit in this category) because there is no picking off this polish!

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