I love nail polish. Lovelovelove it. But my manicures tend to last about 18 hours tops. What can I say? Furiously polishing and re-polishing is my cross to bear.
For whatever reason, I can barely make it a single day before the polish that I applied so carefully, so lovingly, so painstakingly, begins to chip and peel away. Salon manicures usually make it a bit longer, but they invariably meet the same sad, flaky fate.
That’s why I was intrigued by Creative Nail Design’s new Shellac manicure. Perfect, glossy, chip-free nails for two weeks? Yeah, right. I was half-hopeful and half-skeptical as I sat down to get my Shellac manicure, all the while thinking, I’m going to have these babies peeling off in no time. In a way, I’m sort of proud of my disastrous digits.
Anyway, the Shellac process is pretty much like any other manicure: a base coat, two or three coats of polish, a top coat, and some time under UV lights. It didn’t take much longer than a regular file-and-polish job, and the end result is a bit thicker than regular polish, although not as thick as acrylic or gel nails. After ten minutes under the lights, nails are completely dry and ready to go; no last-minute gashes in the lacquer. Dry, shiny, shellacked.
And they stay that way. For a long time. No chipping, no wearing away, no dulling, no kidding. Believe it, people. My original idea for this column was to take a picture of my nails every day to show how the manicure degraded, but I scrapped it when I realized that day to day, there was no difference. Polish me convinced.
I lasted ten days with my Shellac manicure, and not because it chipped away. I had it taken off because I was bored. I can’t remember the last time my nails were the same color for ten whole days. I’m used to changing polish every two days or so, and I was getting antsy.
So the good news is that it really, truly, totally works exactly like CND says it does. The bad news is that the Shellac manicure costs more money than a regular manicure. I paid $25 for mine, plus another $5 to have it taken off. (Note: Don’t try removing it at home; regular polish remover won’t cut it.) So ten days for thirty bucks, plus tip.
Was it worth it? Meh. I can’t see myself getting Shellacked regularly, because a) it’s expensive, b) I like changing polish more often than every two weeks, and c) I like fun polish, and right now Shellac only comes in basic shades (or maybe that’s all my salon carried). Even if it’s not an everyday option for me, I would definitely invest in a Shellac manicure before a vacation or a big event where I didn’t want to have to fuss with my nails. For someone with an established manicure routine who wants minimal fuss (and who can afford it), this is a serious game-changer.