Are You Wearing Shellac Or Is It Just An Imitation?

I am determined to educate the world about Shellac! I want you to know the truth behind common myths and improper procedures as they constantly detour clients from giving it a try.

Myth #1: All gel polish is Shellac.

TRUTH: Ahhhh! No! Make it stop! If the bottle doesn’t say CND SHELLAC, it is NOT Shellac! If you weren’t aware of this, it’s not your fault. I constantly struggle to make sure my clients are properly informed. There several brands of gel polish out there. These polishes aren’t all bad; they just aren’t Shellac. Let's talk about some of these brands so that you can recognize and understand the differences between them.

  • Gelish/Gelaze – these are gel polishes that can be purchased at retailers such as Sally Beauty Supply. The reason I don’t use these products is mainly due to the fact that they are not professional-grade products. In my experience using Gelish, I have found that it is very thin, which makes it difficult to apply because it runs into the cuticles and sidewalls. It requires several coats to achieve proper coverage and having more than two coats makes it very difficult to remove. Gelaze is really thick and gooey and just does not look good on your nails. Now, I know price doesn’t always reflect quality, (E.L.F. ruined that theory for me!) but I truly feel that these products are lower quality than exclusively professional gel polishes.
  • OPI Gel Color – I love the colors that OPI produces, however, my experience with OPI Gel Color was not favorable. I can’t get the stuff off without excessively buffing the nail! The OPI gel remover helps slightly, but it is still far more work than necessary. The consistency also isn’t that great and it isn’t guaranteed to last as long as Shellac. Aside from these difficulties, it is a decent line as long as it is applied and removed properly, but it is NOT Shellac.
  • CND Shellac – The best invention to grace the nail world! Shellac is a gel and polish hybrid. Its formula allows for a long-lasting manicure and easy removal! Shellac comes with a 5-minute removal topcoat so you’re not sitting with acetone on your nails for 20 minutes and then using the file on your natural nails. CND Shellac comes in a variety of colors ranging from pastel to vibrant and everything in between. You can also layer the colors to come up with an original shade; the possibilities are endless! Last, but certainly not least, you can get 14 DAYS OF WEAR! There’s no more chipping the color off your nails a few days after your manicure. If you want something that is low maintenance, Shellac is where it’s at.

Myth #2: Shellac ruins your nails.

TRUTH: No professional product will just “ruin” your nails. Damage happens when an untrained or careless person applies or removes the product. The number one way nails become damaged is by biting, picking, or peeling product off rather than properly removing it. The correct way to remove Shellac is to gently file or buff the top coat and apply a small piece of acetone soaked cotton. Your nail is then wrapped with foil to soak for 3-5 minutes. After, you can gently push the remaining product off with an orangewood stick. I always remove Shellac for FREE. I would much rather spend 7 minutes of my time removing it correctly than someone picking off the Shellac and damaging their nails in the process.

Myth #3: Shellac can be removed with a nail drill.

TRUTH: Well, I suppose it could be removed with a drill, but does that even sound like a good idea to you?! This could do serious damage! There is no reason to ever use a drill on a natural nail. It can cause “rings of fire,” which appear as red lines on the nail when too many layers have been removed. As you can probably guess by the name, it is extremely painful.

Myth #4: All nail techs are honest

TRUTH: This one gets me fuming! Unfortunately, there are nail techs out there that are willing to give the rest of us a bad reputation just to make a quick buck. I know for a fact that many manicurists call all gel polish “Shellac.” I figure there are two scenarios as to why this happens.

  1. They know that what they use is not Shellac, but they say it is anyway because that is what the customer wants.
  2. They don’t know the difference between what they are using and Shellac.

Either way, they probably shouldn’t be doing nails. I understand that Shellac is the most well-known brand name, however, I believe the actual product is used less than most gel polish brands simply because people are uninformed.

As a nail technician, I think Shellac is the best thing that could ever happen to your nails! It lasts far longer than normal nail polish and doesn’t chip nearly as often. I guarantee that if you try Shellac once, you’ll never go back to your plain, old, boring manicure.

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