Facebook is wonderful for keeping in touch with friends, but for me it was also a way to find a new manicure. I noticed an ad for my local Nail Technician Chris Mastin advertising her new service called Shellac. The ad claimed Shellac for nails maintains the health of the natural nail. I clicked on the link and got set up with her for a manicure and have been hooked ever since. Here’s my personal CND Shellac review.
How Does It Compare to Other Manicures?
Other manicures would last maybe three days at most for me until at least one, but usually more like half, of my nails had chipped or worn unevenly. The shine faded quickly as well and this was using some highly respected products used often in professional settings. I had tried extra top coats, different base coats, different brands of polish, all to no long-term success. Promises of two weeks with no chipping got my attention and I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a shot. For me, the main differences between a traditional manicure and Shellac manicures is the time (Shellac takes about 15-30 minutes longer), the cost (Shellac is $15-$30 more than a traditional manicure) and the wear (Shellac takes the cake and wears beautifully for weeks at a time).
What is the Shellac process like?
First, you start with a traditional manicure in that the nails are shaped (typically with a crystal nail file, not an emery board) and trimmed if necessary and the cuticles are gently removed from the top surface of the nail bed with CND cuticle products and gentle hand work by your technician.
Lint is a natural enemy to Shellac, so when I am getting my manicures, Chris and I are acting as the Lint Police. If it lands on the nail you can work very carefully to remove the lint, but it can be tough to do so without sacrificing the Shellac fingernail polish already on the nail. The best way to avoid this is to use items that are lint-free, which is up to your technician. Also, as silly as it sounds, don’t wear a nice sweater or pea coat to your manicure. The only time I had issues with lint was when I had on my new cashmere sweater I found on Black Friday.
Once your basic manicure steps are done, you move into the Shellac fun. First, on goes a base coat specific to Shellac. That base coat is then “cured” by putting your hand in a UV lamp (again, something made by CND, not just a standard 36 watt bulb in a lamp) for just 10 seconds each. After the base coat is done, your technician makes sure the colors of Shellac you have chosen are shaken well (some even use paint bottle shakers from a hobby store to do this quickly and efficiently) and starts applying them. If you are layering different shades of Shellac by CND to create personalized shades then the color application can vary a little bit, though typically you start with the denser or opaque shade first as a base with the lighter shade applied on top to personalize your look. When each layer of color is done, you cure each hand under the UV lamp again for two minutes each. As with traditional nail polishes, you can go anywhere from one to three, or even four, layers of color to get good coverage and fun color play: Each layer of color is cured separately though.
Once your color work is done it is time for a top coat, which is also cured, this time for two minutes per hand. Once your top coat is cured, you can touch your nails and not sacrifice any of the color or brilliance of your manicure. The first time I had Shellac applied, Chris had to force me to touch my nails. I was so conditioned to think they would be wet and not ready for normal wear and tear. Chris had me massage in the Solar Oil by CND on one hand, to prove that my new Shellacing was ready to move with me into my daily life. I was so jazzed the first time I left Chris’ chair because I could drive, use my keys to open my front door, and even fish my sunglasses out of my purse without having to worry about my nails!
How Long CAN you Wear Shellac?
After two to two-and-a-half weeks, the Shellac has run its course. At this point, you can start to see some minor chipping at corners of the nails, or possibly even some lifting. The moral of the story is to have it removed by your nail technician, because removing it at home can cause some minor wear to the nail. CND created Shellac to be removed by a technician and if it isn’t done this way you are falling into an area where you are sacrificing some of the safety of the product.
As a mom and wife my life is busy. I’m not ashamed to admit sometimes I don’t get to visit Chris every two to three weeks. It has stretched out as far as almost four weeks at a time once and the only thing I saw was greater wear of the product on my dominant hand. Also, I have noticed with Shellac that my nails grow longer and healthier than before, almost like the Shellac acts as a shield against some of the day to day wear I would normally to do my nails. When I first met Chris, she told me that her clients’ main complaint about Shellac was that their nails were getting too long. I laughed at her, sure this wouldn’t be the case for me because I can never grow long strong nails, but of course she was right.
Is it Worth It?
For me, this question was easy because without Shellac I would spend over an hour every three or four days to maintain my nails properly. If I didn’t spend this time my nails looked more shabby than chic, or I just had raggedy nails instead. With this product, a professional manicure lasts at least twice as long as it used to (more like five times longer for me!) and costs less than twice as much.
The other thing to consider is the time investment. Chris and I have become great buddies over the last couple months. She plays with colors with me and is always cracking me up. I feel like I’m having a girlfriend experience, not just a salon service. So, for me the time investment is not a cost, but a benefit.
Find Shellac Near You
The best way to find a technician near you who can set you up with a good Shellacing is to visit CND’s website and click on the link to find Shellac near you. It is not a manicure you can do at home unless you are trained and have all the correct tools. Once you find a few technicians in your area, call around and ask them about what type of Shellac service they provide. When you first visit, do not be ashamed to look at the products and make sure they are actual Shellac by CND. There are a lot of other companies making competitive products that are not going to give you same results as Shellac.