Lovin’ the Shellac

I was pumping away on the elliptical and turned the page of the May, 2011 issue of O Magazine and there was my new favorite thing – Shellac! About two months ago, I dragged my poor hands with their peeling and ugly nails into a local salon to get some professional help in the form of a manicure. The manicurist told me that I might like to try Shellac because it was very hard and allowed the nails to grow. It cost a little more than a typical manicure, but she had it on her nails and so I tried it.

Now, usually when I have a manicure or pedicure done, I bring my own polish. Not because I’m a snob – in fact, I’ll often buy a bottle of new polish I like while I’m there – but because it’s easier to have it when you want to do touch-ups.  I chose a pale pink polish because I wouldn’t have the polish if it chipped after the manicure, but it turns out it wasn’t even a concern.

When the manicurist was finished, my nails were perfectly dry and hard. I mean run your hands-through-your-hair, unzip-and-rezip-your-jeans, and pull-on-your-shoes hard.

Several manicures later, my nails are hard and strong and finally back to a decent length and shape. See the latest color- 8 days after the last manicure – on the O article.

Loving the Shellac

This is my third manicure with Shellac and it really does stay chip-free and beautifully shiny for at least two weeks. In fact, I went two and a half last time. The only problem is that your nails grow out and you have a ridge between the cuticle and the polish. You can just keep waiting until that ridge gets so big you can’t stand it, but the polish remains intact and lovely.

I did manage to ship it once, but that effort involved a hammer and some work I was doing in the yard. I suspect that was a fluke.

When it’s time to take it off, you soak your fingertips in acetone for about 10 minutes and it flakes right off. Your hands will look very dry at this point, but lotion will hydrate things back to normal in no time.

They do put it in a UV light thing to bake the gel, so I put the same sunscreen I use on my face on my hands, but I should be doing that anyway, right?

It’s amazing stuff!

fourteenergirl Written by:

A mother, sister, wife, and daughter who writes, knits, hikes, and practices yoga on the west coast. Loves a zippy chardonnay or a tart margarita!


  1. May 5, 2011

    I really must give this a go – nail polish chips so easily on my nails and it’s rare that I manage to avoid getting some kind of imprint in it before it’s totally set!

  2. May 5, 2011

    You’ll love it … it is more expensive, but it takes no more time than a ‘regular’ manicure as long as the manicurist is experienced. Put sunscreen on your hands though. I know they say it’s safe, but ‘they’ have been saying things were safe for a long time. The polish will be set before you pick up your purse to leave – it’s amazing. Good luck!

  3. […] Then, I turned 40 and it seemed that my nails got more and more brittle – easily chipped and peeled – all those things I didn’t have to worry about before. And nothing worked to make them stronger, so I clipped them short and looked more granola-girl for a few years until I discovered gel polish. […]

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