What Are Shellac Nails?

Shellac Finger Nails

Shellac promises to last up to 4 weeks and should have fewer scratches than normal gel nails. But does the Shellac manicure also keep what the advertising promises?

What you need to know about Shellac

Shellac is a special nail polish variant in gel form. After application, Shellac is hardened with UV light. This creates an extremely stable layer of lacquer on the nail, which protects against scratches and flaking. Once applied, Shellac lasts for several weeks and only then must it be renewed. Shellac is not harmful to the nail, but strong solvents are used for removal. A regeneration break before the next treatment is still not absolutely necessary. Many nail studios now offer Shellac treatments. Depending on where you live, the prices for these treatments range from about 35 USD.

The normal nail polishes from the drugstore have their disadvantages: Firstly, it can take half an eternity until they finally dry – secondly, they often only last a few days before the color layer splinters off the nail. For those who do not feel like repainting regularly, Shellac nail polish is a good alternative! But how does it all work anyway? What are the advantages and disadvantages of Shellac nail polish?

How does the Shellac manicure work?

A Shellac manicure consists of three layers: The basecoat, the color layer and the sealing topcoat are applied one after the other. All layers must then be cured under a special UV lamp. However, the drying time is only a few seconds – after that Shellac is already scratch and impact resistant. There are nail studios that have specialized only in Shellac, but most nail studios now offer manicure with the gel varnish in addition to the normal treatment spectrum. Meanwhile there are the UV lamps in addition, for at home. Who would like, can apply Shellac thus even. But before you buy the equipment for your private Shellac studio, you should definitely do a few treatments in the nail salon – so that you learn how it works. Above all, you should also deal with the topic of removing Shellac before you set up the nail studio at home.

What are the advantages of Shellac?

Unlike classic nail modeling in the studio, there is no need to roughen the nails for a Shellac manicure. This is very gentle on your nails. In addition, the nail polish lasts at least 14 days, in most cases even three to four weeks. Only after that you have to re-varnish (have it re-varnished). Major stress tests such as opening beverage cans or doing the daily dishes are no problem for Shellac – because in contrast to classic nail polish, it splinters off much less often.

Are there also any Shellac disadvantages?

Yes, because removing Shellac can be quite time-consuming. This requires aggressive nail polish remover with acetone, which must be left to work for a long time. This can make the nail brittle and even make it susceptible to nail and fungal infections. Therefore it is especially important to give special care to the nails after a Shellac manicure. Nail professionals recommend regenerating care with biotin – the active ingredient strengthens the nails and accelerates growth. The fairy tale that the nail has to breathe for a few days after a Shellac treatment is not true, however: although the nails suffer as a result of removal with aggressive nail polish remover and are thinner and slightly more brittle than usual afterwards, if you immediately apply a new layer of Shellac again, you will give the nail a stabilizing layer. A break in application is therefore not necessary after every Shellac treatment. Depending on the structure of your nails, it can still be useful. The professionals in the nail studio can best tell you whether you should take a Shellac break or apply the next layer immediately.

More seriously, you must take the warning from some dermatologists: UV light used in the drying of Shellac can cause skin cancer. Although the duration of irradiation is very short and it is therefore not very likely that cancer develops, scientists nevertheless advise to protect the skin with UV blockers beforehand to keep the risk during manicure to a minimum.

How much does a Shellac treatment cost?

Shellac is surprisingly inexpensive for its long shelf life: most nail studios charge about 30 euros for a treatment of the fingernails. Depending on the city and location of the nail studio, the price can of course be a little higher. You can also do the Shellac manicure at home, the tools for it are available in stores from about 50 Euro. However, caution is advised here: The drying lamps work with UV light: that can damage the skin massively. Who is not experienced in handling these devices, drives with the treatment in the Beauty salon more surely. Also the result of the professional is usually qualitatively superior to the results of the DIY sets.

Shellac FAQ

    Shellac is available in almost any color.
    Shellac lasts at least two weeks for good quality nails, or significantly longer depending on the stress on the nails
    Shellac is one of the most stable methods of wearing colored nails and also withstands mechanical stress well.
    Shellac is removed with strong nail polish remover. Filing as with gel nails is not necessary.
    No. Nails usually do not need a break between two treatments. However, you should protect the surrounding skin from UV light and the solvent during removal, as these can damage the skin.
    Most nail studios now offer shellac. There are also do-it-yourself utensils for home use. Homemade Shellac nails are cheaper in the long run, but the results from the beauty salon are usually better.
    From 35 USD upwards.

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