Shellac nails have become a popular choice for people who want a long-lasting manicure. Shellac is a type of gel polish that combines some features of traditional nail polish with those of UV gel cures. In this article, we will explore what shellac nails are, how they are applied, and the benefits and drawbacks to consider.

Understanding Shellac Nails

Shellac is a brand name for a specific type of gel polish developed by Creative Nail Design (CND). However, the term “shellac nails” is often used generically to refer to any similar type of hybrid polish.

Here’s a breakdown of how shellac nails differ from traditional polishes and UV gels:

Traditional Nail Polish:

Easy to apply and remove at home, but chips and fades quickly.

Shellac Nails:

More durable than traditional polish, lasting for weeks with proper care. Requires removal by a professional or with acetone.

UV Gel Nails:

Very durable and chip-resistant, but require curing under a UV lamp and removal by a professional.

Elevate Your Mani Game: Long-Lasting Shellac Nail Polish.

The Shellac Nail Application Process

Shellac nails are applied in a salon setting by a licensed professional. Here’s a general overview of the steps involved:

  • Nail prep: Your nails will be trimmed, shaped, and buffed to remove shine and create a smooth surface.

  • Base coat application: A thin layer of base coat is applied to protect the natural nails.

  • Shellac color coats: Two or three thin coats of colored shellac polish are applied, followed by curing under a UV lamp after each coat.

  • Top coat application: A final layer of top coat is applied to seal the polish and add shine.

What is Shellac Nail Polish: Shine, Durability, and Safety插图1

Benefits of Shellac Nails

There are several reasons why shellac nails are a popular choice:

  • Durability: Shellac nails can last for weeks without chipping or fading, unlike traditional polish.

  • Shine: Shellac nails have a high-gloss finish that looks polished and professional.

  • Faster drying time: Unlike traditional polish, shellac dries almost instantly under a UV lamp.

  • Scratch-resistant: Shellac is more resistant to scratches and nicks than traditional polish.

Drawbacks to Consider

While shellac nails offer some advantages, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Cost: Shellac manicures are typically more expensive than traditional polish changes.

  • Removal process: Removing shellac nails requires soaking in acetone, which can be drying to the nails and surrounding skin.

  • Potential for nail damage: Repeated application and removal of shellac nails can weaken the natural nails.

  • UV lamp exposure: The UV lamp used to cure shellac polish emits low levels of UV radiation. However, some people may be concerned about repeated exposure.

What is Shellac Nail Polish: Shine, Durability, and Safety插图2

Making an Informed Decision

Shellac nails can be a great option for those who want a long-lasting, chip-resistant manicure. However, it’s important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Discuss your concerns with a nail technician. They can answer your questions and help you decide if shellac nails are right for you.

  • Take breaks between shellac manicures. This allows your nails to recover from the removal process.

  • Moisturize your nails and cuticles regularly. This helps to keep them healthy and strong.

By following these tips, you can enjoy beautiful shellac nails while keeping your natural nails healthy.

Alternatives to Shellac Nails

Shellac nails offer a balance between durability and ease of application compared to traditional polishes and UV gels. However, there are other options to consider:

Gel Manicures:

Similar to shellac nails but require a thicker layer of polish and longer curing times under a UV lamp.

Dip Powder Nails:

A powder coating applied to the nails for a long-lasting manicure. Does not require UV light curing.

What is Shellac Nail Polish: Shine, Durability, and Safety插图3

Regular Nail Polish:

Easier on the wallet and allows for more frequent color changes. However, chips and fades more easily.

At-Home Gel Polish Kits:

Options are available for at-home application of gel polish. Be sure to follow instructions carefully and use a reputable brand.

Ultimately, the best choice for you depends on your desired manicure length, budget, and nail care preferences. Each option has its own pros and cons to weigh.

Caring for Natural Nails After Shellac Nails

Shellac nails offer long-lasting color and shine, but it’s important to care for your natural nails after removal. Here are some tips:

  • Moisturize nails and cuticles regularly. Apply lotion or cuticle oil throughout the day to keep nails hydrated and prevent dryness.

  • Give your nails a break. Avoid applying shellac or other artificial nails back-to-back. Allow your natural nails some time to breathe between applications.

  • Use a nail strengthener. Consider using a nail strengthener to help protect and fortify your nails.

  • Be gentle with your nails. Avoid using your nails as tools or picking at them. This can damage your nails and make them more prone to breakage.

By following these tips, you can help keep your natural nails healthy and strong, even after enjoying shellac nails.

What is Shellac Nail Polish: Shine, Durability, and Safety插图4

The Science Behind Shellac Nails

Shellac nails combine aspects of traditional nail polish and UV gel polish to create a long-lasting manicure. Here’s a closer look at the science:

  • Chemical Makeup: Shellac polish contains a blend of monomers (like acrylic acid) and oligomers (chain-like molecules). Traditional polish uses solvents that evaporate for drying, while shellac relies on a curing process.

  • UV Curing: When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light from a lamp, the monomers and oligomers in shellac form long, strong chains (polymers). This creates a hard, durable layer on the nails.

  • Softer Than Gel: Compared to UV gel polish, shellac forms a slightly softer polymer network. This makes shellac easier to remove with acetone, but also slightly less chip-resistant.


Shellac nails are a popular choice for those who want a long-lasting manicure. It gained popularity in the early 2010s, offering a new option between traditional polish and UV gels. It requires specific UV lamps and proper technique.They offer a balance between durability and ease of application compared to traditional polishes and UV gels. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons and consider your own preferences and nail health. There are also alternative options available, so you can find the best fit for you.