Once You Go Shellac, You’ll Never Go Back (Even If You Try…)

After hearing people rave for years about the Shellac manicure, I finally got one to see what all the fuss was about. My nails are naturally brittle and short, and without major daily pampering will quickly morph into an unsightly mess. Fully aware of this predicament, I make a point to manicure my nails every few days, so I wasn’t expecting too much scolding when I arrived at the salon. HA! The most refreshing part about conversing with a person who doesn’t speak your language is that all subtleties are quickly lost in translation.

“Your nails are bad shape and too short. Not good for Shellac, but I’ll do.” Hmm. Having already made the trip to the salon, I thought “What the hell!” and committed to the two-week procedure. As a serious colour chameleon, selecting a colour that wouldn’t bore me to tears for two weeks was a big decision, but happily I settled on “Rock Royalty”, a purplish-black shade that is reminiscent of my favourite shade ever made, OPI’s Siberian Nights.

The application process is pretty straightforward. Unlike gel nails, where the nail bed is roughed up for preparation of the polish, a Shellac CND manicure only requires a Shellac Basecoat, which is smoothed on in two quick coats. After the base coat comes the Shellac CND polish. Why I am annoyingly repeating the whole name of the Shellac CND polish over and over? Apparently some salons offer “Shellac” manicures which aren’t certified, guising with just gel polish (it must be the Shellac brand) so ensure to eye the bottle before starting the procedure.

After baking my nails twice under the UV light, I was good to go. The shine! The gleam! My nails had never looked so good, and you can’t beat the drying time (0 minutes!). After thanking the Technician and promising to come back in two to three weeks for the removal process (HA!), I left the salon no longer a Shellac virgin.

The durability of Shellac nails is really impressive- almost unbelievable. Cooking, cleaning, typing, commuting, store renovations, NOTHING can chip this Teflon-tough manicure. In fact, the polish was so smooth, shiny and perfect, that after 17 days, I started to resent the cocky motherfucker. Won’t chip, eh? So tough, huh? What will it TAKE?! I’d heard that only 100% Acetone nail polish remover will remove the Shellac manicure (surely those who go back to the salon for removal are suckers?!) and decided that Non-Acetone Polish Remover will work just fine, thankyouverymuch. Right then. Not a smudge, not a trace, not single smear to be had on the cotton ball after a minute of hard pressing. Ok, so maybe I didn’t have Acetone, but I did have me a mighty fine knife in this here drawer! NOTE TO SELF: The red flashing light of “you’re going too far” should have went off at this point, but when presented with a challenge, Miss FFF always takes it ON! And on it went. The scraping. The picking. The peeling. The utter horror of realizing halfway through this nail mutilation that this was a horrible mistake, and there’s no turning back now! After a good 30 minutes of scraping, I had successfully managed to remove every trace of Shellac from my nails- or what was left of them. Tattered shreds, scraped and bruised, that no amount of fiber-filler or base coat could conceal for weeks.  The removal process is no joke, and unfortunately I learned the hard way that it’s apparently not called Shellac for nothing!

The Shellac verdict? Go pro or go prepare to go mental, but definitely go for a long-lasting manicure that can withstand literally anything you throw at it.









  1. OMG your story is hilarious! I honestly never get the shellac manicure unless I’m going on a job interview or if there’s a really important event or something. It’s just too much commitment to have to go and get it removed as far as I’m concerned. It’s hard to avoid though because you’re right, it’s sooo shiny!!!
    And I loved how you got angry with it because it doesn’t chip! I totally understand, it’s like I’m having a breakdown, yet my nail polish can handle anything??!! Bah!

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