Monday, January 23, 2012

Shellac Manicure Review

Shellac manicures are the hot new thing in professional nail care, at least as far as I know. I went for my first recently and decided to document it. 

Shellac is a hybrid of the gel manicure and promises weeks of chip-free wear. The application process is more or less the same as a regular manicure, except that the bottles of Shellac polish are opaque and each layer of polish on your nails needs to be cured under a UV lamp.

The pros of a Shellac manicure are:
  • long wear, obviously. You can expect two-four weeks of chip-free manicure and will likely only need to remove it because of nail growth.
  • Shellac manicures are instantly dry after UV curing, so there's no smudging your nails reaching for your wallet to pay.
  • a Shellac manicure allow your nails to grow long with minimal chipping. You may never have seen your nails so long and hard.
The cons of a Shellac manicure are:
  • if your nails grow quickly, you may see regrowth at the base of your nails much more quickly than usual. 
  • your nails need to be strong and healthy before you get a Shellac manicure.
  • you need to see a professional to get a Shellac manicure; there's no do-it-yourself at-home Shellac manicure kit.
  • you also need to see a professional to get it removed, although if you do a Google search you can find how others have removed it themselves.
  • you have to want to have the same manicure for weeks. So there's no changing up your polish week to week.
  • you can file your nails but you can't cut them if you want to keep them looking nice.

I went to Tips Nail Bar, a salon I'd heard a lot about and chose a half-moon manicure, similar to what I did on my own nails here. Tips is a great spot, I highly recommend it if you're in Toronto. 

I chose a deep burgundy red, as I often do, with a bare half-moon at the bottom of my nails. I like the retro style of this and also, I knew the regrowth of my nails wouldn't show as much with this style.

The deep burgundy colour was a little sheer so my nail technician used a taupe colour underneath to give it opacity. The whole manicure took about 40 minutes and my nails were super-shiny when it was finished. They almost look wet and actually, they still did weeks later.

Here's what my nails looked like on Day One.

Day One

Day One

Day One
There was no chipping or scratches or wear after a week, which is as long as a regular manicure might last on me if I'm lucky. I got over my wariness about using my nails pretty quickly once the regular bumps and bangs didn't affect my manicure at all. I was amazed that my nails weren't splitting or peeling at all. I began using my nails more aggressively too.

After about two weeks I noticed that the back of my right thumbnail was snagging on fabrics and although there were no cracks on the surface or at the tip, at the back, it seemed that the nail was splitting. I used a nail file to file down as smoothly as I could.

Here are my nails on Day Ten. I was impressed that I could see how quickly my nails were growing. I was very glad for the half-moon manicure. 

Day Ten

Day Ten

Day Ten

Day Twenty-Three

I booked my appointment to have the Shellac manicure removed a month later. I know now that I'm not a big fan of my nails too long. I'm much more a short and vampy nail length gal. Also, I'm a bit bored by the look after a month. After about three weeks, I began to see some wear at the tips and overall, my nails were feeling a bit scruffy. I'm glad I tried the Shellac manicure and will get it again if I want my nails to look great for a long period of time, like vacation or for Christmas. 

Day 23

My first chip - Day 23

Chips - Day 23

Day 23

Any Shellac purists out there? Can you live without it?

Oh and if you're curious, my first manicure after the Shellac was this one - short and inky blue metallic:

1 comment:

  1. I like getting the clear shellac.
    After about 20 days it starts to yellow from outside UV light, so I use a light emery board to take it down a layer, then a buff board to buff it to a shine.

    I basically grow the entire length of it out - my nails end up so long :D

    LOVE the idea of the half-moon. I may try it next time with a colour...