Does Shellac ruin your nails?

The short answer is no.  But that may not be your experience – find out why…

CND TM Shellac TM is a brand and all too often, people trustingly walk into a salon, ask for “Shellac nails” but actually get a totally different brand.  Next time you do, take note of the brand that is written on the bottle.

A few years ago when Apple launched their iPod, people were walking around referring to their mp3 players as iPods even if they weren’t made by Apple.  Similarly, people refer to ‘Shellac’ as a category of nail service, not a brand.  Unfortunately many salons propegate this by advertising their service as ‘Shellac Manicure’ when in fact they are using totally different brands.

What is Shellac?

Shellac is a ‘hybrid’ system which means that it is not the same as gel nails e.g. OPI Gelcolor.  It applis similar to nail polish but wears like a gel.  This means 14+ days of chip free wear (depending on how you care for your nails and hands), quick and easy removal (since it isn’t a gel) and no damage.

How do I know if I have real Shellac on?

The best way is to pay attention to what is written on the bottle that your nail technician is using.  The caveat here is that even a bottle has ‘CND Shellac’ written on it, it could be a fake.

The main tell tale sign is the removal process.

Shellac removes by wrapping individual nails in acetone/specially formulated remover and leaving for 10 minutes.  After that the wraps are removed and the colour flakes off with minimal pressure from the tool used to scrape it off.

If you are asked to soak your fingers, or the removal takes more than 10 – 15 minutes, you can be pretty certain that it is not genuine Shellac.

Afterwards you should see no nail damage, unless of course your nails were damaged before application.  You could see white patches or slight discolouration, but this is simply your nails being dehydrated from the removal process.  This is fixed easily by applying some Solar Oil to the nails – even better if you do this while the Shellac is on.

I have real Shellac – how to avoid nail damage?

Having genuine Shellac products on your nails does not of course guarantee zero nail damage – what you do with it and how you care for your nails makes a big difference.

The most common reason for damage is people peeling the product off the nails once they start to chip…please resist!  Shellac is designed last so it adheres to the nail well.  By peeling it, you are taking a layer of your nail with it and therefore making your nails a lot weaker.

Also, Shellac is a great choice for durable nails.  If you have unhealthy nails or already damaged nails, Shellac could make them worse.

Click here to download a detailed aftercare sheet.


6 thoughts on “Does Shellac ruin your nails?

    • Sumantha_M says:

      I’m glad you found it useful! Good question – if an electric buffer needs to be used then it isn’t authentic Shellac – it simply isn’t needed. When used correctly electric buffers don’t damage your nails but unfortunately many salons use it to speed things up in order to be able to squeeze in more clients – needed especially if they are using cheaper alternatives.

      • Mrs.S LDN says:

        I’d say squeezing in is definitely on there mind. My place is always jammers!! Going to give my nails a break for a while anyway! Reverting back to usual polish is so sad though, regardless of what I do I always get chips ☹️ thanks for your help xx

      • Sumantha_M says:

        That is a shame…there are lots of things you can do to avoid chipping – even with polish. I recently tried the Rimmel Gel nail polish and it was brilliant – Shellac-style finish and it didn’t budge even through housework and washing up with no gloves…

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