What are Shellac Nails? Everything You Need To Know

Not all manicures are created equal. You have acrylic, gel, dip powder nails, and more recently, shellac nails. Wait… isn’t’ shellac and gel the same thing? Not at all! There are quite a few differences between the two which I’ll go over in this post. 

Ready for a mini shellac nail lesson? Read on!

What is Shellac?

The official name for this manicure is CND Shellac. CND stands for Creative Nail Designs and I’ll admit, this manicure lives up to its name. 

CND combines the top properties of gel and regular nail polish. It’s long-wearing, offers protection, gorgeous color, and shine. There are over 100 shades to choose from, from girly pinks to dark metallics. 

Moreover, it  includes its very own base, color, and topcoat. A special LED light is necessary to cure CND nail polish. Curing is the most important step of this process as it leads to long-lasting results.

Here are the key takeaways to know about shellac manicures: 

  • CND is a combination of gel polish and regular polish
  • These manicures last up to 14 days 
  • An LED drying light is needed to cure   

Shellac VS Gel: How Do They Differ? 

There is a small difference between gel and shellac, but there is a difference. Gel nails use a semi-permanent gel to paint nails. Shellac uses semi-permanent polish. There are plenty of nail colors to choose from regardless of the manicure you go with. 

The biggest difference, however, is the removal process. Shellac is easier to remove than gel since you’re working with regular polish. While it can be removed with an acetone-based removal, it’s highly recommended not to remove it yourself. To prevent damaging your nails visit a nail salon – the removal process will take 5-10 minutes.

Does Shellac Last Longer Than Gel?

Not quite. CND nails are made using regular nail polish, making them more vulnerable to chipping than gel nails. Both gel and shellac, however, will last anywhere between 10-14 days. 

Removing Shellac Nails 

Shellac lost a point for chipping, but they earned extra points for the easy removal process. You can get this nail polish off your nails in 5-10 minutes without any scraping included. There is an acetone-based remover made just for these polishes. As tempting as it may be, never peel off shellac on your own, as you can damage the top layer of your skin. Instead, visit a salon professional, and they’ll have you on your way in as little as 5 minutes. 

Gel, on the other hand, isn’t known for its stress-free removal process. We often peel off the gel manicure, which can cause lasting damage to our nail’s surface. Therefore, it’s common to get gel nails removed at the salon instead of soaking them in acetone like shellac offers. The process of removing gel even at a salon is longer than CND.

How Much Do CND Manicures Cost?

The cost of a CND manicure will vary; however, you can expect to pay anywhere from $40-$60. 

Is Shellac Safe For Your Nails?

Any manicure that requires the use of a UV light will cause some damage to your nails and skin, such as accelerated aging. You can protect your skin by wearing sunscreen. Apply SPF 20 minutes before your appointment. Both gel manicures and shellac ones require a lamp that emits UV light. 

Shellac is not recommended on brittle nails. Applying shellac polish to thin nails can further damage the health of your nail. Therefore, you want to improve your nail health before trying this type of manicure. 

How? Use cuticle oil two times a day and moisturize your hands regularly. This will ensure that your skin and nails are hydrated by the time of your appointment. This is important since your nails and skin will be exposed to some chemicals. And, when it comes to removing CND nails, always go to a professional. 

The Takeaway 

Shellac nails have earned a positive reputation for their long-lasting nail color and breezy removal process. Is it worth the hype, though? I think so, but I’ll let you decide for yourself!

Make sure you’re scheduling an appointment with a nail pro that’s certified by CND. This will ensure they understand the application and removal process, consequently, delivering a flawless wear that lasts for up to 14 days all while preserving your nail health.

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