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On a path to find out your favorite type of manicure, I am pretty sure you have encountered the Shellac. Called the God between the types of manicure, it has easily earned its status due to the ease of appliance and removal, as well as wonderful out-of-the-world color palette.
There is no technique that can guarantee forever lasting manicure but if keeping your natural nails strong and healthy is your primary goal and concern, the question of how frequently should you get the Shellac naturally arises.
The Shellac is formulated to last for at least 10 to 14 days on average. The duration may be prolonged or shortened depending on the quality of the application, as well as on your natural nail’s overall condition. The Shellac can be applied continuously, without the need of taking a break in between the two applications.
If you haven’t had any contact with Shellac before reading this, you may notice that the expected duration is shorter than the average duration of other techniques like gel or acrylics. There are a few very important differences between Shellac and other products, which will be explained further in this article.
Is the Shellac the Same as a Gel?
There can be confusion between the Shellac, regular nail polish, and gel because of the specific structure of this product. The Shellac was created by a company called CND (Creative Nail Design) and represents something new and rather very unique on the market.
The Shellac is the first product on the market created as a combination of regular nail polish and gel, taking only the best from both worlds. Scientifically speaking, the Shellac is a mixture made from semi-permanent nail polish. On the other side, gel nail polish uses semi-permanent gel to color the nails.
This new product utilizes only the best from both sides. On the one side, it offers a perfectly shiny and glossy look, just like any regular nail polish does. On the other side, it provides strength and reinforcement your natural nails need, just like the gel.
Here is more information on how to prepare your nails for gel polish.
The biggest difference between the Shellac and the gel is the duration of application. The Shellac has a significantly shorter life span when compared to the gel. It can last only 10 to 14 days on average, compared to 6 to 8 weeks of how long the gel manicure can last. This aligns with the structure of the product – the Shellac is more like regular nail polish than it is like a gel.
Of course, take into consideration that these times can be different for different women. Some women have strong and healthy natural nails and their manicure tends to last longer regardless of the technique used. On the other hand, if you have weak nails or you do many day-to-day activities where your nails are put under stress, the manicure won’t survive the average predicted time.
Another difference between these two products is that with gel you can change the length of your nails and make them longer than your natural ones. The Shellac cannot endure such a venture, and if you were keen to try it, your nails would break off very easily.
Because it is more like nail polish than like gel, the Shellac can be used as a top coat on your gel nails. Although it is an urban legend that the Shellac in combination with gel or acrylics will enhance the manicure performance in time, this is not true.
The gel or acrylic base is already bonded with the natural nail and thus created the strong base the nails need. Adding another strengthening layer in form of the Shellac on top of that base will have no effect on the overall endurance of the manicure. You should choose to put the Shellac on top of gel or acrylics only if you are really in love with the color or product itself.
Does the Shellac Ruin Your Natural Nails?
Even the most simple nail polish can be very damaging to your natural nails if the expiry date has passed. It can color your nails in a way the color stays embedded in your natural nail even after you remove the nail polish. This, as well as many other types of nail damage, can only be solved with nail regrowth.
Gel or acrylics are very invasive techniques used on the nails and thus can be very damaging. This is why it’s recommended to take breaks from these types of manicures if the nails are in a bad condition and allow the nails to breathe and heal naturally at their own pace.
I know you might have worries about the Shellac having the same effect, but this product is way less invasive than the aforementioned two. It is well known for its not damaging properties and it can be used continuously.
Most of the damage on the natural nails actually occurs during the process of manicure removal. For example, if you are about to remove the acrylics, but you haven’t soaked your nails in the acetone for long enough, your natural nails might break while trying to remove the acrylics.
To avoid this, it is recommended to keep the hands in the acetone for as long as the acrylics need to start dissolving. But, even this acetone bath can be very damaging to the nails and the surrounding skin. This is because acetone is dehydrating the skin and the nails and thus it creates a problem with the cuticles.
The Shellac has a specific structure that prevents this kind of damage. Because it is a gel, it needs to be cured under a UV lamp. During this process, tiny microscopic tunnels are being created. These tunnels will serve their purpose once you try to remove the Shellac – the acetone will easier get to every corner of the nail polish, thus removing it very quickly and with ease.
Of course, there is always some risk and that is also the case with Shellac as well. If the process of applying or removing is not done properly, a layer of your natural nail may come off together with the Shellac. Make sure you are doing everything by the book to avoid this kind of damage to your nails.
Please bear in mind that studies have shown that in a long term the Shellac is a better option for the nails than gel or acrylics. It’s proven that due to the specific formula the Shellac is less damaging to your natural nails – it’s made to protect them and enhance their natural properties.
On the other side, the biggest con here is the time – every two weeks you’d have to go and get a manicure appointment (compared to 4-8 weeks for gel or acrylics). In the end, it’s really up to your personal choice – you have to choose between long-lasting effect gel and acrylics can provide or healthier type of manicure the Shellac can give.
- What Are Shellac Nails: Pros, Cons, and Shellac vs. Gel Manicures
- Gel vs Shellac – What’s the difference?
- Shellac Ruined Your Nails? Here’s 5 Ways To Fix Them
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