(For a short video review, scroll down to the bottom of the post)
So a few weeks ago I got my very first Shellac manicure. It was actually my first manicure ever which is surprising to a lot of people since I am such a nail polish fanatic. But overall, I have mixed feelings about this manicure. So I decided to write about my experience. If you aren’t aware of what a Shellac manicure is, it’s basically a special type of polish that you can only get a salon that is chip resistent for up to 2 weeks. Since it is just a polish, it will not damage your nails like gel or acrylic nails will. Also, since it is such a strong polish to not chip for so long it also helps prevent your nails from breaking.
I resisted for a long time because they didn’t have a wide range of colors when it first came out. But this type of manicure really starting gaining popularity about a year ago so they have come out with crazy colors and you can experiment with layer colors to have an even wider variety of choices. I got my manicure for a few reasons. 1. My best friend works in a salon near my house and she nagged me for about 6 months to get one, Katie is Shellac’s biggest cheerleader. 2. They have colors that are more “my style” (grey, bright blue, greens, etc) rather than just pinks and nudes. 3. I was going on vacation for 10 days and didn’t want to take nail polish with me.
So I broke down and got one and, like I stated earlier, I have mixed feelings about this. First off, I hated the application the girl gave me. If you can’t tell from the picture, the color is very uneven (notice the ring finger color compared to the pinky finger color, how much darker the ring finger is, and the lovely dark line across my middle finger) and she took the whole “manicure gap” a little too far on my index finger. I was very unhappy with how uneven everything was. Also, the color swatched is a lot darker than how the color looks on the nails. Swatched, the grey looked like a dark gunmetal grey and then there was a fine particle holographic silver glitter that I opted to put over it. In direct sunlight, the glitter is breathtaking, but other than direct light it looked very ordinary. But because I opted to put the glitter on, I couldn’t get 2 coats of the grey to get an even coverage. The color and the application really bugged me because I expected so much more.
So I was unhappy with the color and with the application, but I don’t want this to be all about bashing the application because the actual product was amazing. Aside from the actual manicure, the Shellac did what it promised to do. It lasted! And there is no dry time with a Shellac manicure. You get the polish applied then you stick your hands under a UV light for 2 minutes and your nails are completely 100% dry. You could go rock climbing after getting one of these and it will not smudge. I packed several suitcases about 10 minutes after my manicure and there wasn’t a single smudge or chip.
It lasted 7 days before I got the first chip, notice the tip of the index finger. It was so small and not noticeable to anyone (except for me). I was actually very happy that it lasted for 7 days because I was extremely skeptical. I assumed that it would chip within the first few days but instead it lasted a week! On your nails, it just feels like a really thick polish, it doesn’t feel like you have something glued to your hands, and it doesn’t hurt if you break a nail. I broke one corner of a nail, the corner of the middle finger in the picture.
On day 11, I was starting to get sick of the manicure but decided to leave it on for as long as I didn’t get any major chips or breaks. And go figure, the day I decide I’m going to keep the manicure, I got major major chipping. I went to work and during a normal volume work day (I’m a bartender at a sports bar), I had 2 nails majorly peel off.
My right thumb and ring fingers were half stripped of the polish and I knew I had to take the polish off. Also, this picture shows the growth of my nails pretty well. With having a single manicure on for so long, you can see a noticable growth of my nails which after a while was also starting to annoy me. But the entire time the polish was on, it never ever faded! It was still super shimmery and had tremendious shine until the removal.
Along with getting one of these manicures, salons offer free removal but also tell you how you can remove the polish yourself at home. Like an idiot, I opted to just try to remove the polish myself. Biggest mistake ever!! Not only did it take me an hour and a half of soaking my hands in pure acetone, but it dried my hands out ridiculously and I couldn’t even remove all of the base coat. If you read this and take only one thing from this whole article, never try to remove one of these manicures yourself, just go to the salon.
My overall opinion, after a really long article, I liked the product. The polish itself does what it promises and the color selection is really good. I didn’t like my particular manicure and the removal was a colossal pain. The price tag is also a little steep, $42without tax and tip, and takes longer to apply than a regular manicure or an acrylic manicure.
Overall rating: B-
Has anyone else gotten a Shellac manicure? What did you think of it? What colors would you suggest if I ever got one again?