CND Shellac Manicure | Review


I’m always intrigued when I hear about manicures that promise to last a few weeks since I can barely make it through two days without without chipping a nail, or five. I decided to try out the CND Shellac which is supposed to be a healthy alternative to gel manicures. The Shellac promise is, “14-day flawless wear, mirror shine, and easy non-damaging removal.”

I booked an appointment Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spa on the Upper East Side. Pre manicure, Sabina pushed back my cuticles and got to work painting on the base coat. She didn’t do any buffing. I chose Rock Royalty, a purple hue, and I placed my hands in the CND UV lamp for 120 seconds between each layer – base, first, second and top coats.

When I removed my hand from the lamp after final coat, Sabina wiped my nails with alcohol to combat “stickiness.” I was certain that she would mess up the manicure she’d just finished. However, the polish didn’t move a bit. She then gave me a hand massage with lotion and still, the polish stayed in place. I was impressed! I usually spend what seems like forever sitting beneath a dryer, waiting for my polish to harden and then keeping my hands away from everything for fear of smudging. Not this time. The $45 manicure (it is a tad pricey) took about 40 minutes to complete.

I made it through week one with no chips. My nails began to grow out, but the manicure was still intact. On day 10, my boss mentioned that my manicure looked really good. My nails were just as shiny as the first night I got them done. She couldn’t believe it when I told her I’d gotten it done more than a week before. Later that day, I noticed one of the nails had chipped. I don’t know how it happened, I just looked down and saw a bit of white, whereas everything else was purple. There were two other nicks around the edges of the manicure but I didn’t see those until I looked back at the picture I took later.

The rest of the nails held up through day 15, even after I spent an entire afternoon getting in and out of a hot tub. Though Shellac has Remover Wraps as part of its system, Jin Joon removes Shellac by soaking cotton in acetone and wrapping it in foil (costs $7). I went to a neighborhood nail salon instead of trooping back to the UES, and they made me soak my hands in acetone for 20 minutes.* The Shellac cracked off in the bowl. They cleaned off the rest with acetone and a paper towel and did some light buffing.

Even though one of my nails chipped, I would definitely do the Shellac again. The color never lost its luster. I liked that I could look down and see what seemed like a freshly painted manicure on my nails weeks later, and removal was pretty easy.

*The Shellac website does not endorse soaking in acetone as a form of removal and recommends using the Shellac Removal Wraps to prevent from drying out your nails.

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  1. I get my nails shellac all the time. I am loving it. Mine have never chipped though so kinda lucky. I did minx too and I didnt like it it only lasted a week or so.

    • I’m surprised that that’s the only chip I got. I am so hard on my nails. Minx didn’t last very long on my either and I found the removal process to be a pain. I really do like the Shellac though.

  2. Did you use Solar Oil on your nails every night? I did and got no chips at all using Fedora, another dark color. I went to Fashion Week in September and was extremely hard on my hands with luggage and travel and my nails stayed perfect.

  3. i got my nails shellac’d 6 days ago. both thumbs have peeled at the edge. Not a big chip, but it’s going to start snagging on hair and clothes. I filed the edges of the chip down and put a clear coat on it.

    My opinion – not worth the $50 for a shellac manicure. Would have paid $30, tops.

  4. Today is day 9 for my French Shellac and it’s still perfect. I have to admit, I’m always aware of and careful with my hands. I wear rubber gloves to do any sort of messy or wet work. For heavier work, I wear either gardening gloves or even heavy leather. My nails grow pretty fast but since I have a French, the outgrowth isn’t showing yet. My manicurist advises that it should be removed after 14 days regardless of how it’s wearing otherwise, it’s harder to get the Shellac off. She also uses the acetone soaked cotton balls with foil even in her salon vs. the removal kit provided by CND.

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