Friday, February 17, 2012

To Shellac or Not to Shellac

Shellac manicures are all the rage right now, at least here on the East Coast. And why not? The benefits promised by indulging in a shellac manicure are alluring: a beautiful manicure that lasts for up to three weeks, no-chip color, and extra savings for you in the long run.

Deciding to see what all the hype was about, I went to get a shellac manicure with a friend about a month ago. The manicure started off as one would expect – soaking, trimming, filing, cuticle-grooming, etc. However when it came time to apply the color, the nail technician slathered my hands in SPF 60 baby sunblock and inserted them into small boxes with the creepy purple glow of UV light. Apparently this is the only way that the shellac nail polish sets properly. It kind of creeped me out, but I decided that for the low, low cost of $28, surely this manicure and its promise to last 2+ weeks was worth it.

As we left the nail salon with our pretty manicures, the nail technician reminded us to make an appointment to have our polish removed properly - that is, by her at the salon again. We promised to obey and left.

Fast forward two weeks – my manicure was still intact, but hanging on for dear life. Admittedly, I am hard on my hands – I type on a keyboard all day, I do a lot of cooking, and I wash a lot of dishes; not only that, but the time during which I had my manicure was also when my husband and I were busy doing a lot of prep around the apartment for our baby boy (due this summer). Also, my nails currently grow super-fast due to the prenatal vitamins, so it was painfully noticeable that my manicure was growing out at the base of my nails. I noticed that the polish was starting to peel off, and having heard that this was a major no-no, I tried to apply some top coat to keep it on for another few days until I could visit a salon. No dice – the very next day, while running my hands through my hair, the polish peeled right off of my finger. Two more followed. I rushed to CVS to purchase some acetone, which I had read was the only way to remove the polish. That didn’t work. I soaked. I scrubbed with cotton balls. I soaked again. No dice. I ended up peeling off the rest of the polish from my other seven fingers. My nails, usually healthy and pink and white and hard (people often ask if I have a French manicure when I’m not wearing any polish at all) were soft, transclucent, and bearing the scars of the shellac peeling off the top surface layer of my fingernail. I was horrified – and very sad.

Bottom line regarding shellac manicures: they do serve their purpose. I could see going out of the country for a business trip and getting one of these manicures so that I don’t have to worry about a chipping manicure while traveling. However, I’m not sure that I would get another shellac manicure just for the day-to-day. Below are my “Lessons Learned”: 
  • Go to a salon and have the manicure removed properly by a nail technician
  • Don’t get a shellac manicure just for the day-to-day – signing up for the same color for 2+ weeks is quite a commitment
  • If you are someone who is particularly hard on your nails, aim to keep your shellac manicure for at least 10 days, but at the first signs of distress, go to the salon and have it removed (otherwise you’ll end up peeling it off like I did)
We would love to hear what you think about shellac manicures - have you had one? How did it work out for you? Did you like it, or hate it? Let us know in the comments section.

1 comment:

  1. So I love them around the holidays as it lasts so long but I'm with you I'd rather just go "naturel"