|My shellac manicure, 13 days in. Man, my hands look awful...but my mani is shiny and lovely.|
If you've never had a shellac manicure, here's the deal. The nail person applies a base coat, two coats of color, and a top coat. Normal, right? But between all these steps, you have to stick your hand under a UV light to set everything. The final result is a manicure that is instantly set and dried (you can fumble around your purse to pay without worrying about smudging, which is awesome) and that lasts up to 14 days. 14 days! That's forever in manicure terms.
Now, I am not entirely convinced that in 10 year or so "they" are going to say that UV exposure during the manicure process causes cancer/makes your skin glow/does something horrible to you. For now, there are no warnings about the brief exposure during the mani process, so let's just not think about that for awhile.
The color selections at the salon were impressive. Since it was Christmastime, I opted for a holiday-appropriate red. When I left the salon, my nails looked beautiful: shiny, colorful, and festive. I am happy to report that the manicure really did last. I am tough on my nails, and during the holiday season, I was wrapping and unwrapping gifts, baking, decorating, and really putting the shellac mani through the ringer. I never got one chip and the lovely shine never dulled.
On day 13, I was done with the red. I was tired of the color and was annoyed by issues from inevitable nail grow-out. It's amazing how much your nails grown in 13 days! I had these annoying ridges from the base of my nail to the red. The ridges caught on stuff (when putting things in my pockets, for example) and the looked kinda funny. But still: my manicure lasted two weeks and had no signs of deterioration. I could have left the color on for several more days, had I wanted to.
Now, here's the biggest problem with shellac manis: removing the color. Ugh. What a nightmare. I searched the internet for tips on how to do it at home (I didn't want to pay to have the polish remove and I wasn't ready to shell out $25 for another mani...I'm cheap, what can I say?). So...here's the deal. To remove the shellac color at home, you need 100% acetone polish remover and an orange stick. You basically have to let your shellaced fingers soak for a good while and then use the orange stick to scrape the polish off your fingers. It was messy and took quiet a long time. (I did it while watching Days of Our Lives, so it wasn't totally wasted time!)
Here's my final verdict: shellac manicures are kind of awesome. I wouldn't get it done on a regular basis, but for an occasional indulgence, I say it's great. I could see doing this before vacation, before some major event, etc.
But wait! I just received an at-home gel starter kit that I plan to test out. Imagine being able to do this at home...any time! That would be great. More on that in a later post.