Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Shellac Nails: Do you love them?

Photo Credit via

I have to admit that I like to keep my nails looking nice. Unfortunately, regular nail polish just doesn't last on my nails for more than a day or two without chipping. It seems like no matter what brand I use, it's the same thing. 

On the other hand, I absolutely HATE the routine of having to go to a nail salon every 2-3 weeks to get my nails done. For years, this was part of my regular routine but I really disliked having to devote that time (usually on a weekend) for my nails. It's kind of like how I hate being over scheduled on a vacation---I want to have the flexibility to do what I want when I want to do it. So, I stopped getting my nails done for a couple of years. Then shellac came into my life...

Photo Credit via
Shellac is a gel product that is cured with a light BUT it applies like nail polish. It's been in the salons for several years but I think it's only been in the last year or so (I may be wrong) that people have been able to purchase the products and the lights to do their nails themselves. When I first got interested in shellac, I purchased polish from CND (I have most of the colors in the two pictures that are part of this post). Now I've been noticing other brands, including a shellac put out by OPI, which I've seen at Sephora (here). There's also another version of the OPI shellac that is available to professionals but you can get it on Amazon (which is where I get my CND shellac).

Applying shellac is quite a bit more complicated than just polishing your nails but if you're careful and make the initial investment in equipment (between $120 and $150, depending on what you get), you can do it. Here's my set up:

I purchase the light, the base and top coats, as well as the color off of Amazon.

The basic jist of shellac is that it lasts up to 2 weeks (so it's not for someone who wants to change their polish often). Mine mostly lasts for the two weeks, but I do get bored before then and usually end up taking it off after a week or so. For me, the colors are easier to do than the neutrals because I can actually see where the color is going (hello needing reading glasses!) but with the neutral or clear colors, it's harder for me to see. The bad thing about shellac is that if you get any on your cuticles, the polish is likely to lift. 

For this session, I use one coat of base coat, 2 coats of the color "Negligee" and then one coat of top coat. Each are applied in thin coats and "cured" under the light for 2 minutes.

Here are my nails after the base coat:

Once you do all the coats of polish, you wipe each nail with a cotton pad soaked in alcohol. That removes the sticky film that is left after the last coat.

Negligee is a transparent pink that provides a pretty, natural, polished look. It's great for work and is one I wear a lot. My shellac application is not perfect but it works for me.

Have you tried shellac (either in a salon or DIY)? What do you think?