Shellac nails are a nail lovers dream come true. No longer the days where it only lasts 2 days, and the waiting……. and the waiting…… and more waiting… and the “Sh*t. I touched them.”
Shellac (which is a brand name) is a gel polish which cures in a LED/UV light. They are dry the second they come out of that bad boy and are supposed to last up to 2-4 weeks. But what if they don’t? What happened? Who’s fault is it? Should I get my money back?
Shellac is a brand that is synonymous with the gel polish trend. Most gel and most polish lines have a gel polish that can be touched up with matching regular polish or can be used for a long last set of gel nails. You need a different manicure routine to do a shellac manicure, you need to move anything with oils till after the polish has been cured so there are not lifting spots under.
Some brands can boast up to 4 weeks wear, some say 2 weeks guaranteed. I find personally my gel polish manicures last 3-4 weeks.
Shellac manicure starts peeling within a day or 2:
Your tech may have not dehydrated your nail bed well enough. You don’t always need to rough up the nail but the natural shine should be buffed down first (unless you are using Shellac brand gel polish they require no buffing).
The polish might be older. Some gel polishes have a built in base coat and they can separate if not used frequently or have expired. You can tell by it not sitting uniformly along your cuticle edge. It looks like its pulling away from your finger.
You should either be able to get your money back or get a free manicure at this point.
Gems and jewels are never guaranteed to last more than a few days to a week. They rub and catch and if you are like me, I have the bad habit on playing with them. Or continuously running my finger over them, spreading lifting oils.
If you have very short nails, or bitten and swollen cuticles, the gel polish has a harder time getting capped to the nails, this may mean they only last a few days or maybe a week or 2. Gel polish is a good way to quit nail biting but because you will notice a quick boost in growth they won’t last as long.
After 1 week
If they are peeling at this point you may not be a good candidate for gel manicure. Some nail types are very thin, weak, or oily. Thin and weak nails can’t be buffed well enough to create the little “velcro” action that adheres the polish to the nail. When they are weak they can’t support the polish and the polish can give some support on its own but they still may break under it.
Are they chipping at the edges? Your tech may have not capped the edges properly (dragging the brush with product along the free edge of your nail to get the polish to wrap around a bit).
You should be able to get a free touch up or a free manicure, but because its been over a week and there is no way to super tell what exactly the problem is, you probably can’t get your money back.
Have you been wearing gloves when you clean? Gel polish is porous so any chemicals, especially cleaning ones, can get into the polish and weaken its ties. This can cause peels, lifting and cracking. Think: if it can lift sticky and baked on stuff, it can lift cured gel polish. It can also dull or stain your nails.
After 2 Weeks +
What is your daily routine? Do you handle a lot of paper, type a lot, use your nails to pick or scratch at things? These all weaken the gel polish and can dry out your nails.
Keep a top coat on hand to touch up dull areas once a week to keep them lasting longer.
If its peeling, are you peeling them off? Peeling the polish off can damage your nails, taking a peel of nail plate with it! Peeling nails can also get water and oils under the polish and can cause a fungus. Instead wipe with a alcohol wipe and re-coat with top coat or run in for a a quick touch up (usually costs 5$ or less).
Smoking is another thing that can cause changes in your polishes’ durability. It will 1 discolor the polish and stain your skin. The heat from the cigarette when it gets closer to the filter can weaken and damage the polish. The tar that is what is causing the staining also will produce oils that can seep along the sides of the polish and create lifting. If you do smoke, consider bringing back the long golden era cigarette holders.
At this point you won’t be able to get your money back, but you should still let your tech know they aren’t lasting. Many techs will fix and fill whatever nails have chipped or peeled off for a small nail fix fee.
The last reason why they aren’t lasting the full time, which is highly recommended by CND (the makers of Shellac brand polish) is that your tech HAS to have the right light. This is where I am personally skeptical. Of course sales reps for brands will tell you “you can not stray from the formula, you need all this product and its formulated for our lamp only!” According to CND Shellac brand polishes that are cured in not a CND UV light are not guaranteed at all. But when you look at practical polish.com’s many different breakdowns of comparing LED vs UV bulbs, or 2in1s, wattage, price, features you can see many will work with many different brands. When looking on nail tech message boards, it comes up the same, many say they have a different light because they use many different products and they all work fine. I am the same way, I have a few Shellac brand polishes, I have some gelish and I have some gelaze, all work fine together with my prep work and LCN LED light.
After 2-3 weeks you can always schedule a fill if you want to keep the same colour, or get a polish change. Make sure to not pick off your polish, or file it off it can be helped, let your nail tech do this properly for you. Please also when booking your appointment if you want to change colours to let them know you also need a gel polish removal. This takes about a extra 5-10 minutes and needs to be booked accordingly.