Tell me Why?
Your nail salon offers hundreds of colour options for those of us who like a regular manicure, so why should you spend more money on a gel or shellac manicure?
What is Gel or Shellac Polish?
Gel polish uses a different formula than a regular polish. To get really science-y, a combination of acrylic monomers and oligomers that harden under UV light.
Shellac polish is a patented form of polish manufactured by Creative Nail Design (CND), the formula uses a combination of gel polish and traditional nail polish. Unfortunately for CND, the name has become diluted as many salons use the name “shellac” and “gel polish” interchangeably. This is often done to avoid confusion with artificial nails which also use the term gel nails (notably liquid gel nails). To avoid confusion, I’ll stick with the term shellac manicure going forward.
Forget the Science, What are the Benefits of Shellac Polish?
I would always recommend a client opt for the shellac polish if they are undecided and budget is not the primary concern.
- For one, the curing process ensures a much more consistent finish. Shellac manicures cure quickly under a UV light, as opposed to regular nail polish which must air dry. This quick drying greatly reduces the opportunities for the polish to run or smudge creating a much more predictable and consistent finish.
- Second, because the polish cures under UV light, as opposed to air drying, the curing process is much faster. That means you can hit the road sooner instead of spending time with your fingers or toes under a fan at the salon.
- Last, but certainly not least, shellac polish last longer. Shellac polish is much more resistant to chipping and fading than regular polish. My clients typically return within two to three weeks, not because of damage to their polish, but because their nails have grown out.
What About Shellac Removal, How Does that Work?
Unlike regular polish, nail polish removal solution will not remove shellac polish. I’ve seen plenty of YouTube videos that offer DIY solutions for shellac removal, but I would absolutely recommend against trying to remove shellac polish on your own. It is far too easy to damage your nails and cause yourself pain through improper technique.
All of our technicians are trained in how to properly remove your shellac nails. The removal process involves a combination of filing, soaking, and scraping. The process is affordable and can usually be completed within fifteen minutes
Are there Risks Associated with Shellac Manicures?
Your fingernails are made of keratin, the visible outer layer is dead cells. Contrary to misinformation, your nails do not need to breath, so there is no risk associated with having them covered with polish (whether shellac or regular).
The two notable risks associated with shellac manicures can be greatly reduced by visiting a high-quality salon for your services. Those risks are:
- Mechanical risk: Basically, if shellac nails are improperly applied or removed, damage can take place to your nail plate or to your cuticles. A big no-no is picking your polish. If you notice that the polish is starting to chip, peel, or crack, come to the salon to have the polish removed or fixed.
- UV light: The use of UV light at nail salons is kept to a minimum. High-quality salons use commercial grade lights with timers to ensure you are only exposed to the required amount of UVA rays needed to cure the polish. We all know that we should minimize UVA exposure; that being said, researchers from the Medical College of Georgia hypothesized that, even with repeat shellac manicures, the risk for skin cancer caused by UV lamps remain relatively small. Of course, you can always take additional precautions by using sunscreen on your hands, or by wearing gloves!
When is the Right Time to get a Shellac Manicure?
Many of my clients get shellac manicures as their go-to service. I believe it is especially important when you really want that manicure to last for more than a few days or want to ensure that the polish cures perfectly. All my brides-to-be will opt for shellac because who wants to have their polish chip on their wedding night! Vacationers also almost always go for the shellac, a week on the beach can be hard on anyone OK!
Ultimately it is more important that shellac manicures should be performed by and removed by trained nail technicians. But if you’re going to the salon already, it is definitely worth considering paying that difference to upgrade to a longer-lasting higher-quality shellac polish.