I've been using this system for a few months now, and I'm very happy. Purchased a kit off ebay with a UV lamp, top and base coats, and 1 color for about $70 (it's been a while, so I don't remember)
For prep, I put on cuticle erasing gel (Sally Hansen), then rubbing alcohol on the nail plates. I bought lint free wipes because when fuzzies get stuck in the gel, it creates a gross little bump.
Application is pretty tricky, and it takes time to get used to. YES it's just applying layers of polish, but you have to make the layers thin and keep it away from cuticles. I use a little orange stick dipped in rubbing alcohol to erase mistakes before I cure. My curing times are 2 minutes (120 seconds) on all layers.. plus an additional few seconds after top coat. This is because I do a crappy job and usually apply the layers too thick. Taking off a star because it is so dang hard to apply properly.
The gel lasts 7 days on my pointer fingers and thumbs.. I use them too much to pry off packaging and etc. Lasts 14 days or longer on the other fingers. Overall much better than regular polish. The top coat does scuff after 4 days, if you swipe rubbing alcohol across them they fade a bit. Sometimes I will change the gel every week because it got too scuffed.
Polishes last a while. I've been using the system for roughly 4 months, every other week. The gel color (I use Fedora) has just started showing signs of running out. Top coat and base coat are still fine. Best part about this system is the polishes don't dry out and get thick after a few months. Just keep them AWAY FROM THE UV LAMP. Especially if you keep your polishes uncapped during application.
Lamp has held up ok, none of the bulbs have died.
Overall good value, the startup was expensive and replacing polishes are expensive. But shopping off Ebay from a good seller will cut costs. Much cheaper than going to get it done by a professional (who sometimes don't even do a good job). It's ridiculous that CND will (officially) only sell this to licensed salons. It is more expensive than regular nail polish, but it's worth it for the quality.
The important thing to remember about Shellac is that its wearability is very dependent on the skill of the nail tech applying it (if you have it professionally done). I got a Shellac French mani (the colours were creme puff and a very sheer pink I can't remember the name of...it has a slight blue shimmer) recently and my tech appeared jittery and/or unskilled because my cuticles were constantly flooded. Once cured, this created an unsightly ridge just before my cuticle, which can lift - and is tempting to pick at!
If applied correctly - slowly, very slowly, avoiding all skin contact because you can't clean up with acetone like you would with normal NP - it's shiny, beautiful, protecting of the natural nail and lasts for ages. I would recommend buying your own kit (pricey, but cheaper than going to a salon in the long run) and practicing to get the application right.
Many, many moons ago, I used to get acrylic nails because nearly every girl in my high school got them. I was fantatical about it and went almost every two weeks. That adds up plus acrylics ruin your real nails. After a few years of that nonsense, I just went natural and did my own nails. I would change polish almost every night and became quite adept at applying polish. Then I went off the rails and stopped altogether (I did keep up my pedicures because I'm not an animal!). Like any junkie, I had to return to something and discovered that my local salon offered Gelish. I tried it and instantly fell love. Beautiful, glossy nails with near zero drying time that lasts nearly two weeks? What's not to love? What I didn't love is that Gelish is pretty hard to remove. The technican had me soak my nails in pure acetone with dries out your nails, cuticles and finger tips like no one's business and has a very strong aroma. Then she would scrap off the gel and reapply. I also didn't really care for the fact that my salon offered a very limited amount of colors. There's only so many times you can get soft pink without being bored. Aside from the colors, I knew it was taking a toll on my real nails and it had become a vicious cycle much like acrylics so I knew I had to stop. Once again I went back to the natural look but of course, I got restless. Regular polish just didn't cut it for me anymore
Around the time I decided to be low maintence with my nails, the gel nail craze really started taking off. I decide to delve in again but decided to try another line to see if I could find something less damaging. I read that CND's Shellac is pretty good and was easy to remove so I bought the UV base and top coats, three colors (Negligee, Fedora and Romantique) from eBay, a huge bottle of acetone from Sally's and got a UV light from Amazon. All my supplies sat in my room for weeks before I decided to give it a go. Having watched the nail technician apply Gelish, I had a fairly good idea of what to do. Even if you have no idea, directions are on the box and if you can paint your nails and count, you can do any line of gel nails.
My first application was bad because my nail painting skills have gotten rusty. I had to work some kinks out and learn how to be extra careful because Shellac doesn't behave exactly like regular nail polish. You have to ensure that you don't overlap the sides of your nails as it won't cure to the nail properly and the polish will peel off. I solved this by doing only one hand very slowly and wiping as I went along. Since there's no real dry time, this doesn't add much more time to the process. It's still rather difficult for me to do dark colors so I'm sticking to light colors for now. I took my Shellac system to the salon I reguarly frequent to get pedicures and brow waxes (and where I used to get Gelish) recently as I wanted my nails black but just couldn't get the color on right. They applied it but still charged me $30! If you want to use this system and are a terrible painter like myself, I highly suggest practicing with regular polishes. It's worth the effort and will save you money in the end. Also, I've found that Shellac doesn't always last for two full weeks. If you work with your hands, it wears down quicker but I've never had any chipping or a broken nail like I would if I got a regular maincure. You nails will also grow which results in a gap between the new growth and the gel. Depending how quickly your nails grow, the color you choose (light colors obvious hide the new growth better) and how fastidious you are, you may need to remove the polish faster. The good news is that Shellac does comes off quickly and does mininal damage.
I've found Shellac does last as long as Gelish but again, your application needs to be as close to flawless as possible. You do have to readjust your habits because water is the enemy of gel polishes. I'm diligent about wearing gloves when I do dishes and housework because nothing ruins your manicure faster. Even though I love Shellac, I stopped using it for over a year and recently decided to start up again. I still have the same polish and base/top coats that I bought nearly two years ago and they still work beautifully. I attribute this to the polishes being in solid colored bottles where no light can break it down.
The downside to Shellac is that their products are not sold in stores - not even beauty supply stores because they're meant to be purchased by salons and nail techs. To my knowledge, you can only get the works online which can be a bit of a pain. Since getting back into the Shellac habit, I discovered that other brands of gel polish work just as well with the Shellac base and top coat so you can always pick up a new color from Sally's, Wal-Mart or Target. There is also talk that you can use regular nail polish with this system (thought some people vehemently deny this and say it will not work). According to the online videos, you have to tweak the application process or the regular polish will never dry. I tried once with regular polish but didn't follow the instructions properly. I plan to try again and follow directions. The other downside is the price. The UV lights (when purchased seperately) can be costly as are the polishes. Even the ones in stores run about $9 which is expensive considering the amount you get. In reality, the price of all the equipment is a drop in the bucket compared to what you would pay if you went to a salon. In the end, it really is more economical to do it yourself.
I would recommend this system to anyone who likes to do their own nails and wants something that will last longer like acrylics but without the damage. I've gotten endless compliments while using this system and have even had people ask me who does my nails. It's a must if you enjoy that glossy look but want your real nails to shine
Wow what can I say I am obsessed with this product I love doing my nails and shellac . Lasts so long has a gorgeous range if colours and is lovely to apply !!! Buy it all the time have about 25 of them !!
I am a polish fanatic. I maintain a huuuuuggeee Chanel collection - I have some from the 80s still and they are still great. So, what am I saying here? CND Shellac is the saving grace of my manicures. I am a trained esthetician and used to own my own salon, and I have always had long wonderful nails, which I kept up by applying top coat every day and filling in chips. Then, as I got older, my nails became more brittle and developed ridges. Then I move to a super dry climate, and my nails literally started to split and look just plain awful and my manicures, which I still do myself, would only last for 3 or 4 days, which made me crazy.
On a cruise in early 2013, I needed a mani/pedi. My father had just passed, and I wanted someone to do my nails and hair for me. The nail tech suggested CND Shellac, and although she had zero decent colors, I said ok, time to try. I hated the color, but loved the way my nails looked, and they lasted until I took it off, 3 weeks later.
OK, so I looked into buying the whole shebang. I picked up the CND UV lamp off of Craigslist along with two large bottles of the base and top coat, as well as a whole assortment of colors.
I read the directions online, watched some youtube tutorials, and the first one I did was Midnight Swim, a dark blue/green. It came out amazing, lasted for a really good two weeks, and I had compliments galore.
It's been over a year, and I am still using it. I have learned a number of things. First of all, it is very easy to do. There is no big secret why you need to go to a salon and pay, you don't even get a great manicure with it because your nails must stay dry. So, don't be scared, invest in the CND lamp, the CND UV base and top coats, and one color, something clear like Negligee or Moonlight and Roses.
Note: The big thing about the CND Shellac colors is that they will change if you paint one color over another. Regular polish does not do this. That is the beauty of the colors in this system - you can create your own unique color and look. Just be sure to cure between each color.
Now, here is what I do: First, I apply an SPF on my hands so it can soak in and protect in the lamp, although there is really no evidence of damage, but SPF on the hands does not hurt. Then I prep by making sure first of all, my nails are dry, haven't been soaking or anything. I put the CND cuticle remover on my cuticles and use an orange stick to make sure there is no cuticle on the nail. Wash my hands with soap and water, then I use vinegar or acetone or alcohol on a lint free pad to dry the nail out. Your cuticles will be very dry, warning you now. Because I have a bunch of colors, they do an amazing job of mixing. I do the base coat, thin and be sure to cap the tip of the nail, UV for 10 seconds, then I put a darker color, Rock Royalty, whatever, UV cure for 2 minutes (thin coat and cap the tip each and every time), I may do a second coat of the same dark color, again cure for 2 minutes, then I may put the lighter color, Moonlight and Roses is my first pick, on top as the second or third coat, and voila, the color changes completely, and I again cure for 2 minutes, then the top coat, it is goopy so what I do is spread it over 3 or 4 nails, then work on it until it covers but it is still a thin coat, then cure for 2 minutes. Remember, you can play with the polish all you want until you cure. Also, if you are going to do nail art, do it before the top coat, curing between colors.
Ok, so now you have a tacky top coat. Take a minimum of 91% alcohol and any cotton pad will do and rub it on, and the shine will come out. You can always do this and it will reshine your nails. But do not soak in it.
Then I put CND Solar oil on the cuticles and nail, and I do this once or twice a day (if I remember). Actually, I also use a very heavy vaseline like cream, I use Theraplex Emollient, all over my hands and put them in gloves for an hour or so as well. Your edges may be rough, expect that, so be diligent about applying cuticle cream every night (Dior Apricot cuticle cream is my fave).
Now, here is the fun part. It is true as one reviewer mentioned you can use your own colors. Her way works, but this is my way - I do everything, base coat, middle coat of Negligee or something light or completely black, then the top coat. I am done, nails look clean and nice. Then, I put whatever polish I want on top. I love to change colors all the time, and you can - just use non-acetone to remove! So, for example, I was at the Chanel counter earlier today to see if they still had Magic, and yes they did, in the meantime, I tried a couple of others I had not yet bought. She was shocked I was putting it on top of my brand new manicure, then I asked her for some non-acetone nail polish remover and took it off and bought my Magic (she had one bottle squirreled away, she didn't even mention it I had to ask...they always hide for themselves of their friends hard to get colors). She was shocked, asked what was on my nails.
See in this way, I can wear Magic one day, then take it off and wear Orange Fizz the next, etc. My nails always look so prepped and healthy, no ridges, strong, uniform, and it takes like a second to put a coat or two of the alternate color and go. This is how I roll for two weeks, till the Shellac really needs to be removed because it begins to lift on me, but I will keep it as long as possible.
To take it off, do NOT peel, as satisfying as that is, because you can peel off tiny layers of the nail which will make them soft and bendy and you don't want to do that. Take acetone and soak a cotton ball, put it on the nail and wrap with foil and wait 15 minutes. Sally beauty has a nice wrap kit but really, I think just the cotton ball and white tape does the trick. Anyway, then use an orange stick to scrape off the polish. That's it! You can immediately manicure again since your nails are not wet.
I had this done in Fedora and another color I don't remember the name. Both times the nail color didn't stay. I don't know if it was the nail tech's application, but it didn't last the whole two weeks like promised before it started chipping terribly.
Shellac is the best nail invention ever!! OMG. I have been getting a shellac manicure/pedicure evry other month for over a year now and it has never failed me! If, like me, normal polish only lasts on you for a couple of days then this is for you. Up to 2 weeks of gorgeous shiny colour without damage to your own nails :-) FAB.
I have tried many shades - Fedora, Hollywood, Wildfire, Strawberry Smoothie, Grapefruit Sparkle, Gotcha, Pink Binkini, Tropix, Cocoa.. and probably some more! They are all lovely and whoever says that the colour choice is rubbish doesn't appreciate this product!!
My Shellac costs £20 for fingers/toes and £40 for both, however i know a lady who will come and do them at home and charges £38 for both including removal.. that is very good.
I have lost count now of how much i have spent on Shellac and so i finally took the plunge yesterday and have ordered the CND UV Lamp, scrubfresh, base coat, top coat, solar oil, my fave 4 colours and some removal wraps. It was a lot to shell out but hopefully it's going to be worth it!!!!!! x
Love. Shellac is an HG for me.
I tend to be hard on my nails and a bit fastidious about chips, so standard manicures aren't a good choice for me.
But shellac is amazing. As others have said, light cured, said to last 2 weeks.
For me, I find application matters. I had shellac done once (at a certified salon) but they didn't follow the recommended timings on the Uv light. That manicure lasted less than a week and caused my nails to peel so badly I couldn't get another's oxide for a full month.
But the other salons I've been to have been great and I get a minimum of 14 says per manicure. At 14 days there's some 'wear' on the tips and growth at the nailbed. But, they still look pretty good. I've even worn polish for 21 days.
I prefer my nails shorter - so I often trim my nails with a nail clipper at about 10-14 days. I don't file the nails, just a quick clip. I don't think you're supposed to do this, but I haven't noticed any problems and if there's any 'wear' on the tips (especially if I'm wearing a darker color) that makes the manicure look fresher.
For me the main problem is cuticles and nail growth. I have bad cuticles and they need maintenance more than every other week. I am vigilant about applying N aha cuticle reducer. Even so, I do go in a carefully push back and even from my cuticles after about 1 week.
Removal takes some getting used to. You can do it home with acetone, orange sticks, aluminum foil, and some patience :).
Solar oil is recommended. I have used solar oil even before getting shellac, but it is an oil and may take some getting used to. Supposedly, it works better than other cuticle products to strengthen the nail. I can't speak to that since I use it anyway.
So, for me an HG. I think application matters, so I tried a bunch of salons til I found one I love.
Downsides. Application takes 1-1.5 hours. Limited color selections. Expensive manicures. Any flaw in application is with you for 2-3 weeks.
This stuff is amazing. I alternate between UV gel nails, Shellac, and doing my nails myself. CND Shellac was the only "gel polish" that actually did what it claimed on my nails. OPI Gel polish peeled off within a week. With CND Shellac my manicure looked absolutely flawless for THREE weeks. No chips, no peelies. Shiney and beautiful. This is amazing for me, since regular polish applied to my natural nails chips off within 1-3 days. Shellac also helped my nails stay strong and hard since the polish lasted so long and worked as a shield, thus letting my nails grow nice and long. I did notice a bit of nail damage, but nothing crazy and nothing a nice manicure couldn't fix. I wish my nail salon offered more CND Shellac colors. OPI Gel and Axxium did not work for me like lovely Shellac.
I will have everyone know that you can totally paint your nails with regular polish... Let them dry completely, then apply base coat (2 min cure) and then top coat (2 min cure) and they last just the same! (Obviously wiping after curing with a lint free pad and alcohol) I'm a licensed cosmetologist so I do my own at home with the lamp (bought on amazon for 30 bucks) and this product is SO expensive in the professional beauty supply store! I'm so excited that I can still use all my regular polishes (which there are a million options out there) and they don't cost 16 dollars a bottle! Ill splurge on the top and base coat for shellac no chip but the color options just aren't enough! HOPEFULLY THIS HELPS PEOPLE SAVE SOME MONEY AND STILL HAVE FABULOUS NAILS..with ANY color/brand they want:)