Shellac manicures are done using special Creative Nail Design (CND) polishes that are “cured” using UV lightboxes. Once cured, they dry immediately (as in, you can walk out of the salon right away without having to sit in front of those little fans for 20 minutes) and last for 2 weeks or more.
Perfect for the time-strapped mom who is hard on her hands but still wants a little glam.
There are other types of manicures out there that are similar (e.g. OPI Axxium), but I’m referring to this as a Shellac manicure because that is the specific type I got.
Here are some pictures of Shellac manicures I had done earlier this year (my apologies for the crappy cell phone pics, but I wanted to give you something as it’s not easy to find swatches of nail colors for darker skintones online):
Red Baroness would be a classic Desi wedding color. This one didn’t wear as long because the application had been messy.
You can’t see it in the first picture, but there were already small gaps at the base of the nails even on Day 1.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the “after” of the pink manicure.
Look Ma! No Damage!
Back in my single days, I got acrylics, gels, silk wraps, and other artificial nails occasionally when I wanted long-lasting nails or just a little glam. But when I took them off (because I never wanted to spend the time or money maintaining them), my naturally strong and healthy nails were completely wrecked. It would take a full three months to grow back my nails, and until then, I had to deal with nails that bent and peeled at the slightest pressure.
Shellac nails gave me the same thing with little or no damage.
Here are my nails after I removed the Shellac polish:
All in all, I loved the Shellac manicures but would reserve them for special occasions or for when I need some pampering.
The manicures lasted through lots of dish washing, hand washing, baby bathing, diaper-changing, typing, cooking, and general non-manicure-friendly behavior. The pink manicure lasted longer because it had been applied more carefully. I’d say, properly applied, this manicure looked good for a week and a half.
Here’s the biggie: removal is a pain. I had to soak my nails in acetone for 15 minutes until the polish broke up, then wipe them off with a cotton ball. The process was stinky and made my fingers prune-y. And I could never quite get every bit of polish off.
Plus there have been some health concerns regarding UV light exposure during the curing process–those UV lights are like are like mini tanning beds for your hands.
Finally, the color selection can be limited. When I got these manicures, color selection was very limited CND Shellac had only about 12 colors, and OPI Axxium had around the same, if I recall correctly. Now it looks like there are more brands on the market, and OPI and CND have introduced additional colors, which I hope means a broader color selection.
Have you gotten this kind of a manicure? Did you like it? What are your favorite kid-proof primping tricks?
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