Shellac, the Power Polish from CND, has taken salons by storm! Clients are now turning their backs on the traditional wet nail polishes and instead opting for a professionally applied UV polish.
This article will refer to CND Shellac in the most part, as that is the product I use professionally myself and am most familiar with. The principles discussed here though will apply to most gel polish ranges such as Gelish, Geleration, OPI Gel Color, Gelux etc.
Shellac is a great product that lasts well without chipping or peeling with normal wear and tear. While some describe it as armour for your nails it is important to remember that it is not indestructible! In order for the polish to last the designed two weeks, or longer, you need to look after your nails.
But it is not just about looking after your nails, the process starts much earlier than that – you need to make sure that you are getting both the product and service you are paying for. With the success of the two leading brands – Shellac and Gelish, there are now fake and copycat products on the market. These are far inferior to the originals and may pose a risk to your nails and even health.
When you arrive for your manicure look at the products being used, are they original CND / Nail Harmony products? Many salons now promote offering Shellac nails, but they are not using CND Shellac – they could be using Bluesky, CCO, CNF or another brand Shellac all together. While these share the name and even the colours they are not CND Shellac and nor will they work as such. I am aware of technicians working to remove 'Shellac' polish from clients for over an hour because it was not the original product used.
Each nail system is designed as that – a system of products to be used together for best results. CND Shellac is such a product, and for a full service they must be using the following products:
- CND ScrubFresh
- CND Shellac Base Coat
- CND Shellac Top Coat
- CND Shellac Colour Coat
- CND UV Lamp
ScrubFresh is a blue solution that is used on a cotton pad to cleanse and prepare the nail surface befor the Base Coat to be applied. After cuticle work has been done this is the only prep product that should be used – a technician properly educated in the Shellac system should never file the nail plate. They will file the free edge to shape the nail, but not over the actual nail plate itself.
Each stage of the process (base, colour or top coat) are all cured with your hand inside a UV lamp. There are only two lamps certified to work with Shellac – the official CND Lamp or the old style CND Brisa lamp. If they are using an LED based lamp, one that does not cure all five fingers, or most importantly does not say CND on it then the product may not be cured properly leading to future problems. CND are very specific about the lamp usage, and a lot of insurance companies require technicians to use the prescribed system which will include the lamp.
After the appointment now that you have super shiny nails, you need to take some care of them.
Shellac as a product does not damage or dehydrate your nails, but it is recommended that you use a nail and cuticle oil daily to help nourish and protect your natural nails. Shellac is designed for use with CND SolarOil, a very light synergistic blend of oils that absorb easily into the skin. The oil also penetrates through the Shellac to help keep the nail plate nourished. I would recommend at least twice daily, more if you have dry or brittle nails.
We recommend wearing gloves when doing dishes, household cleaning, gardening and other work that is hard on the hands or nails. Doing these kind of things without protection could damage the finish or result.
If something you do does cause the Shellac to chip or lift please do not pick or pull the area as this will cause damage to worsen and could also damage the natural nail. The best thing to do is take a photo and send it to your Salon for advice.
You also need to be aware of how chemicals can affect your Shellac polish. Some clients when they go on holiday will complain that the polish has 'melted' on their nails. This is usually due to the sunscreen they are using. A lot of sun creams, lotions and sprays can contain acetone – the product that is used to remove Shellac. The chemicals in some insect repellent sprays can also have a similar effect. After applying such products be sure to immediately wash and dry your hands.
Chlorinated water can have a slight bleaching effect on some colours, so again after swimming wash and thoroughly dry your hands to avoid this.
With a little bit of care and attention you will most likely find that Shellac can last longer than the advertised two weeks, with many clients having it reapplied not because it is chipped but because it has started to grow out.