The cons of Shellac nail polish

Written by isobel phillips Google
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The cons of Shellac nail polish
A Shellac manicure may end the problem of chipped and smudged nail polish. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

From its introduction in 2010, Creative Nail Design's Shellac nail polish was always intended to be a service available only from professional nail salons. Its main advantages are that it gives a chip-free, glossy manicure for 14 days or more and it can be painted directly on to natural nails over a base coat. Each layer of base coat, polish and top coat is hardened under ultraviolet light and dries to a glossy finish immediately. However some customers report problems after one or more Shellac manicures.


Shellac must be removed professionally, using CND's special remover wraps to concentrate the acetone only on the nail. Some salons prefer their own system of soaking the nails in acetone, or use excessive scraping or filing to remove the Shellac. As salons charge for removal, customers may try to take the Shellac off themselves, by soaking, scraping or peeling. Acetone dries the nail and scraping and filing remove a layer of the nail, weakening it.

UV exposure

Although CND are adamant that using their low-level UV lamps exposes customers to less ultraviolet light than they would receive by driving a car without wearing gloves, customers may be concerned about the ageing effect of UV exposure. Some suntan creams and lotions contain acetone which will damage the Shellac finish, so cannot be applied to the hands during or after treatment.


CND recommend that you apply their SolarOil product twice a day to the nail bed, to help prevent nails from drying out. Without this treatment, your nails may be temporarily weakened and flake at the tips. The additional cost and inconvenience may mean customers fail to condition the nails regularly or at all.

Cost and time

A Shellac manicure typically costs 50 to 100 per cent more than a standard manicure. In addition if you're not having the Shellac renewed, most salons charge for its removal. It takes approximately one hour for Shellac to be applied and requires a second salon visit 2 weeks later for removal.

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