3 Tips for Long Lasting Beautiful Shellac Nails




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The key to a successful manicure is to try to maintain and prolong the duration of the nails. Some techniques are naturally more durable than others, for example, acrylics will last longer than regular nail polish.

You should leave the Shellac for at least 10 to 14 days on your nails, and never go over 21 days. More than three weeks with one set of Shellac on will create a risk of damage and layering of the natural nails, which can happen during the removal process. 

If you are not taking care, your nails would not last even these recommended 10 days, so stick with me while I reveal a few tips on how you can prolong the duration of the Shellac on your nails.

How to Properly Apply Shellac?

The number one tip for successful long-lasting nails is the application. If the manicure is properly applied, following all the rules of layering – starting with a base coat, followed by Shellac, and ending with a top coat, the nails would last up to two weeks.

Step 1 – Prep the Nails

Preparation is the golden rule if you want your nails to last long. There are not enough words I can use to stress the importance of preparation. First, you need to clean the nails to prepare them for the next step.

To clean the nails, use alcohol or acetone nail polish remover on a cotton pad. Make sure not to put too much product on the cotton pad, because if you do so, you are risking dehydrating your nails and cuticles. 

After you finish the cleaning, it is important to cut the nails to the desired length and to shape them immediately into the shape you would like to achieve. Although Shellac is half gel, it cannot be used to change the shape or length of the nails. 

When it comes to this, the Shellac is more like regular nail polish – it will create a barrier and protect your natural nails, but that is where its job ends. That’s why this is the perfect time to decide on the look you would like to achieve because later on, you will not be able to change it.

During the prep phase, you should also push the cuticles away from the nails, thus creating a larger surface for the Shellac. One tip here – if you are doing the Shellac at home by yourself, just push the cuticles, never cut them.

The reason for this is that professionals at nail salons are trained for this kind of stuff. If you cut the cuticles by yourself, you are very likely going to over-cut them or cut them too deep and hurt yourself.

If you over-cut the cuticles, you are also more prone to skin layering – when the skin is too damaged it starts to rip off in layers. In most cases, this is not painful, but it will ruin the manicure and you will be tempted to further rip off the skin and destroy the healthy balance of your nails.

Step 2 – Base Coat Is a Must

After the nails are prepared properly, it is time for you to apply a base coat. You are familiar with the procedure already I guess, but there is a catch – not every base coat can be good for Shellac.

Because Shellac is such a marvelous and unique product, it also has unique products that were developed only to be complementary to the Shellac. By this, I mean that you also have a specific base coat that is made only for the Shellac. 

Using a CND base coat for Shellac will provide proper bonding between the Shellac and the natural nails. The base coat is there to act as a glue that will connect the nails and the polish.

CND Shellac Gel Nail Polish Base Coat, First Step Adhesive Layer for Longwear NailPaints with No Nail Damage, 0.42 fl oz

If you are out of CND base coat and you opt for using your regular base coat, beware that it might not work as the original product is supposed to. This is because regular base coats are made for regular polymer nail polishes that are formulated in a different way than the Shellac.

Shellac’s formula is unique and comprises both nail polish and gel, thus the regular base coat might not bond it properly to the natural nails, and the nails may not last as long as you would expect them to.

Step 3 – Gradually Build Layers

The issue with all nail polishes and the Shellac is that when you are using a light shade, you need to apply more polish to achieve a color that is dense enough. In order to do this, many women make mistakes and apply a layer of polish that is too thick.

The key is to gradually build layers, meaning that the Shellac should be applied in thin layers, and you should be 100% sure each layer is completely dry before you add another one on top.

The main difference between the Shellac and the regular nail polish is that the Shellac requires a UV or LED lamp to harden on the nails, while the regular polish is air-dried. This is because the Shellac is half gel, and all gel-based products need to be cured under a lamp.

But there is another catch here – you should be using only CND-made UV or LED lamps if you want the Shellac to cure properly on the nails. As already said, Shellac’s formula is unique, so standardized products that are being used for manicures may not work well with it.

Between each layer of Shellac, you should leave the nails under the UV or LED lamp for at least 2 minutes. This time is usually enough for the Shellac to cure on the nails. If you are feeling the Shellac has not hardened after 2 minutes, leave it under the lamp for an extra one, before continuing with the process.

If the layers are very thick, they will not cure properly under a lamp or you will risk over-curing them. Either way, it is bad for the manicure, so make sure you are following the time when you are doing the nails.

Also, before you apply the second layer of Shellac, make sure that the first one is completely dried. This is because if you apply Shellac on top of a wet layer, they will not bond properly or they will not bond at all.

The correct way is to go slowly, bit by bit, applying a thin layer of color, curing it under a lamp for at least 2 minutes, and then proceeding with another thin layer until you are happy with the color.

The optimum number of layers, in this case, is two, but if you are still not happy with the color, feel free to paint an additional one. Just make sure not to go over three layers of Shellac, because this is not recommended.

If you put too much color, the manicure would look very thick and messy on the nails, and that is the look you are trying to avoid when doing Shellac. 

Step 4 – Finish With a Top Coat

Just as a base coat is important, a top coat is very important as well. This is because the top coat is formulated in a way that it will react with the Shellac and bond with it, leaving the manicure shiny for days. 

There are two main roles of a top coat – to protect the colors from scratch and everyday wear out and to provide the shine for the duration of the manicure. The top coat will lock everything in place and make sure the nails are looking fresh for up to two weeks. 

Another remark here – just like with the base coat, the top coat must be the one made specifically for the Shellac. If you are using a regular top coat, it may not provide the protection the CND top coat is guaranteed to.

CND Vinylux Longwear Top Coat, 0.5 fl oz, Nail Polish for Brilliant Shine

The top coat should always be painted over the tip of the nails. This will prevent early breakage and chipping of the Shellac. Of course, the top coat must be cured under a lamp, just like the rest of the layers. 

How to Prolong the Shellac Duration?

Now that you have done your manicure, the logical question that arises is – is there anything I can do to prolong the Shellac duration? The Shellac is designed to last for around 10 to 14 days, depending on your habits and how much you take care of the nails.

If your concern is to prolong the Shellac duration, there are few pieces of advice you could follow to try to get the maximum you can from the Shellac. This product is easily applied and it looks good on the nails, but the biggest drawback is that it lasts significantly less when compared to gel or acrylics. 

CND Solar Oil Does Miracles

There is one thing women tend to forget about the manicure – no matter how perfect the technique or how good the nail technician is, there is nothing that can be done to prolong the duration of the manicure if your nails are in a very bad condition.

Sometimes women do the manicure only to hide the condition of their nails and don’t do anything to improve and cure the damage the nails have suffered. If the nails are weak and prone to layering, adding any type of nail polish will just hide the issue on the surface, but in fact, it would be making the problem bigger. 

This is why you should take special care of your nails before, during, and after a manicure appointment. If you don’t feed your skin and nails, they cannot grow to be healthy and they will not be able to endure harsh treatments like the nail polish is.

I have already mentioned that with Shellac you can find a wide range of products that are developed and tightly connected. One of those products is CND Solar Oil made as a perfect combination of natural oils and vitamin E, which are known to be very beneficial to our skin and nails.

Our skin naturally produces oils, and during the manicure treatment, we are doing everything we can to remove those oils from our nails, to make a perfect surface for the base coat to stick to. Because of this, you should be working on replacing the lost oils in the process.

CND SolarOil Nail & Cuticle Care, 2.3 fl oz, for Dry, Damaged Cuticles, Infused with Jojoba Oil & Vitamin E for Healthier, Stronger Nails

CND Solar Oil is supposed to be used at least twice a day if you want to achieve maximum effect. It will provide your skin, cuticles, and nails all the nutrients they need, and it will act as a line of defense from the chipping and layering of your nails.

With every use, the oils are penetrating deeper into the nails and skin, thus feeding them and working on the prevention of damage. Besides protecting the nails, it will also keep the Shellac tough and flexible at the same time.

This is important because the Shellac has to be hard to endure everyday activities and minor damages. On the other hand, it has to be flexible enough to bend with the natural nails, so it can properly protect the nails. 

Stop Peeling off Your Nails

I understand that everyday stress has made some of us have a bad habit of peeling off our nail polish from the nails during the removal phase. This is what is making our nails weak and more likely not to endure a new manicure for a long time.

This is because the nail polish is connected to our nails via a base coat, which is there to make a bond between these two surfaces. Because the base coat acts like glue, every time you peel off the nail polish, alongside it you are removing a strong surface layer of your natural nails.

Bit by bit, and you will remove the natural protective layer of the nails and expose them to damage. Applying a new manicure over nails that are damaged this way will only deepen the issue because the nail polish is a chemical after all.

The new set of Shellac is more likely to layer and chip off the nails very soon after application, and when the nails are chipping off, they are also taking another layer of natural nails with it, thus creating even more and more damage.

To prolong the Shellac duration, you should try to solve this bad habit, and stop peeling off the nails. If your nails are already very damaged from peeling, before you apply Shellac, give your nails some time to naturally heal. 

This means that you should let your nails grow naturally for some time, without any coats of any kind of polish on top. This is the only way to ensure your nails are healthy again and that they can endure Shellac. 

Healthy nails will more likely be able to hold the Shellac on for more than 14 days if you are taking proper care throughout the whole time.

Wear Gloves

The Shellac is half nail polish, meaning that it will act as a regular nail polish as well, and we all know how regular nail polish is prone to damage when we are completing even simple everyday tasks, like washing dishes, loading, and unloading the washing machine, etc.

Simple advice of wearing gloves could take you a long way if you only remember to put them on every time you are dealing with something that could potentially ruin your manicure. 

Water is a big enemy of nail polish, so every time you are washing something, make sure your nails are protected with gloves, so you can prevent the water from breaking through the Shellac to the natural nails, which can cause the Shellac to lift from the nails and completely fall off.

Gloves are also a powerful tool if you are dealing with abrasive substances, which are a big enemy of the Shellac. Abrasive substances can easily damage the surface of the nail polish and remove its shine.

Is It Bad to Leave Shellac on Too Long?

Leaving any gel-based product for too long on the nails can be very bad, and this is because, after 3 weeks, the Shellac tends to harden even more. This is happening because the Shellac is cured via UV wavelengths, so due to the exposure to the Sun, after two weeks, the nails are starting to over-cure naturally.

If the Shellac is on the nails for more than three weeks, it will harden to a point where it will not be easy to remove it, which will make the removal process a hustle, and you are more likely to fall into a trap to peel them off and thus damage the natural nails.

There is a simple piece of advice to prevent this from happening – just adhere to the recommended wear time, which is 10 to 14 days, and never go over 21 days with the Shellac, if you want to keep your natural nails nice and healthy.


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