Yes, you read that right. Shellac manicures last two whole weeks, and I should know. I tried the Shellac manicure at the end of April and documented the entire process so I could report back. As someone who does her own nails or gets a manicure about once a week, I was prepared to be a tough critic, but I was won over by Shellac pretty quickly. It does cost more than a regular manicure (typically around $40 to $45), but the results are well worth it. While nail innovations like the heat-activated Minx foils and pricey gel formulas like Calgel have become trendy, no other system has given me great results with a guarantee.
The Shellac manicure is completely unique and revolutionary. Have you ever gotten a manicure and then reached for your keys and ruined it? Have you ever gotten your nails done for an event the next day, and had your manicure chip before the festivities begin? Have you ever painted your nails before bed and woken up with sheet marks in them? Have you ever gotten busted at work for trying to redo your nails? Personally, I can say "yes" to all of these things, which is why I'm completely smitten with Shellac, the manicure that requires no drying time and lasts two weeks with no issues whatsoever.
"Our chemists invented a modern solution to the normal polish inconveniences that frustrate women," says CND co-founder and style director Jan Arnold. "Shellac is fret-free and convenient. Women can finally get their time back." How does Shellac get around the dry time? CND has created a special UV lamp that accommodates both hands and feet and cures the polish as you go. (The machines can easily be completely washed and sterilized between customers.) Shellac paints on just like a regular polish using specially formulated base coat, two layers of color, and top coat. After each coat of polish is applied, you put your hand under the timed lamp while the other hand is being painted. As soon as the manicurist is done with your nails, you can dig into your purse for your keys without any concern of smudging or chipping. They are 100 percent dry in the same time it takes for a normal manicure. I tried scratching at my nails, and even rubbing them along a brick wall--the polish stays put with a gorgeous, shiny finish. Expect your nails to look exactly like this for two weeks. Mine endured sinks full of dishes, harsh cleaning chemicals, and many hours of typing for 16 whole days.
Removing the polish is equally innovative. Try as you might, normal nail polish remover will not do the trick. This stuff is strong. You must return to the salon, and after 10 minutes under CND's remover wraps your lacquer will literally glide off. These fun little stickers keep acetone concentrated over the nail, so chemicals won't bother your skin. There is no rubbing and no sticky polish with cotton sticking to it, plus your hands are free to read a magazine while you wait. Your manicure will come off immediately after 10 minutes. Ten minutes for a perfect two-week manicure? No sweat. Now you can get a Shellac manicure at your leisure days before a wedding or vacation and have it last until well after your return. Pretty impressive stuff, if you ask me.
Shellac nail color is hypoallergenic and "3-Free," which means no formaldehyde, toluene or DBP. Twelve of CND's most popular shades are available in Shellac, with another 12 launching by year's end, and more to come. Check out my slideshow to see how Shellac is applied and removed, and how well it wears. For more information, head over to CND.com, and click here to find a participating salon near you.