Thursday, 6 January 2011

Shellac Manicure: Final Thoughts

If you follow me on Twitter, you may realise that the Shellac nail polish came off last night. I feel bad that I didn't make it to a weeks wear but it completely lifted on one nail and I couldn't resist taking the rest off. I managed to see reason though and didn't peel the others. I definitely wouldn't recommend peeling them off, no matter how tempting it is, as it looks like it removed a thin layer of nail with it.

I removed them by soaking the nail with remover that contained acetone. It's preferable to use neat acetone but I didn't have any to hand. I soaked a cotton wool pad and wrapped the nail and finger with foil. Not pretty but it works. It did hamper my typing though..

Now they're all off I'll share my bare (and shocking) nails. They were quite dry when I took the polish off but they recovered after massaging with a generous amount of almond oil. I don't think they're in any worse state than they were pre-Shellac. I think they would have benefitted from a regular massage with oil to stop them drying out.

Would I do it again? I'm not sure that I will be rushing to do it again. It lasted 6 days and it chipped after only a couple of days. At £25 it wasn't a huge expense but I think that money would be better spent on an intensive repair type manicure. After less than a week I was in the mood for a change of colour too. I know it is possible to paint over the gel manicures but as it was already quite a thick layer, I didn't dare for fear of it lifting. What I was hoping for was something to stay on my nails for a couple of weeks and give them a rest from the constant cycle of polish and remover. I should have realised that as my nails present an uneven surface, the gel manicure wouldn't last well for the same reason as regular polish. However, I should point out that whilst it didn't last 2 weeks, 6 days is unheard of for me. From my better nails I could see it had the potential to last longer, though it did seem to fade at the tips.

Would I recommend it? If your nails are in good condition and you're not a colour chameleon, I would say go for it. If like me your nails are prone to peeling and are uneven at the tip, I would say that your lasting time will be greatly reduced.

It's back to square one for me. I still want to try and improve the condition of my nails. I think an all over approach is in order. Multi-vitamins, wearing gloves for washing up and NOT using my nails as a multi-funcitonal tool! I think massaging with almond oil is something I can stick to but I'm not sure which nail strengthener to use. I have Mavala Scientifique and OPI Nail Envy but neither seemed to make much difference. It's possible they would work better in conjuction with the other changes. Lets hope something works as I'm sure you're all fed up of hearing about my nails!


  1. Such a shame it didn't work better for you. I strongly suspect mine would be just the same. x

  2. Have you ever tried Flexitol? I find it brilliant when my nails are like yours... it really works wonders and it is not expensive at all.

    Confessions of a Beautyholic

  3. Aw thats a shame.

    I hesitate to suggest this as the thought makes me shudder, but do you think a few weeks of no polish would be a help? I.e no nail varnish remover at all and no nasties. Just whatever products you choose to treat them with.

    I highly recommend Mavala Nailactan. I know you tried the Sceintifique before, but I really rate Nailactan, my nails are the longest and strongest they have ever been. x

  4. Hi Jane

    I'm sorry but grateful.... I am promptly canceling my Shellac appt. now. My Mother has went off the Shellac now and I just mailed her a care parcel of her own Butter London All Hail the Queen (she admired it so much she needed her own). I am afraid with the pool and how polishes want too peel off of me normally it wouldn't be a good fit. Bless your nails! Do you have a line there called Nail Aid? They have some good repair products and they are 3 free. Lots of healthy nail vibes to you and a hug x jeanie

  5. Hey- it's a shame, but once 1 peeled, you kind of had to remove the rest I think.

    I have never grown long naisl before, but was detemined, so when I set off for holiday beginning of December, I packed Nail Envy.

    For 4 weeks solid, I appled Nail Envy morning and night, and NO nail polish, so therefore no remover either.

    That is now roughly 4.5 weeks since I started and I've not broken a single nails since day 1, none has chipped or flaked or peeled.

    I finally painted them on Monday, and it's now Thursday and there's no wear to my manicure- I really think my nails are so so much stronger now. And longer.

    Have you ever done that?

    Like a long spell like that? I'd wholly reccomend it :)

  6. They don't have Shellac in my country yet, only regular gel manis. Last May I started doing gels because a course of isotretinoin cleared up my acne but made my nails really weak. I'm now completely converted... I was lucky to find a good salon where they are very careful applying the gel. The whole trick is to find a good technician, because some ruin the nail in the process of applying the gel mani. My nails are healthy underneath and while they grow quite fast, a 40 euro mani lasts a month! And never a chipped nail again.

  7. Ouch poor nails, my look just like that in fact some of my flakes go waaay further down the nail. Took a glass file to them all last night and gave them a coat of Nail Envy and am seriously considering Cheeky Beauty's suggestion, but am fairly certain am not strong enough to resist the siren call of my nail varnish! That said nail varnish remover trashes my skin, it bubbles up, dries out and peels off in sheets so if its doing that to my skin can only assume its partly responsible for my dry, flaky nails. Poor hands!

  8. Oh my!!! :-( I think a lot of what goes into achieving 'perfect' nails is in the way you treat them - like you said: not as tools, keeping them out of water etc.

    And then the rest is the regime and the products.
    But the products won't work without really really using them in a regime.

    I'm going to work on a nail care post and dedicate it to you! It's my mission to help!

    Hope they recover from the Shellac manicure soon x
    Polish. Potions. Whatever.

  9. I don't think it is worth it if it doesn't last a whole week. I've had gels applied a few times and it is great to use polish over them and not have the colour come off easily but in the end once they come off my nails don't feel as good. I used the Zoom Nailfood system and found this helped to strengthen my nails. I might have to agree with Charlie about letting your nails rest and nourishing them with oils etc.

  10. Kelp! I take it in tablet form and it's made a big difference to my nails. They used to flake and peel and whilst they're not perfect they're a heck of a lot better! I get mine from Nature's best (online).

    I'd also stay the heck away from Sally Hansen nail products, in particular nail growth miracle, it ruined my nails!


  11. @Sparklz and Shine: When the lady that did my nails looked at them and said it was not going to last 2 weeks, I was prepared for this to happen. I’m pleased to have given it a try. I would definitely try it again if my nails improve.

    @Beauty Addict: I haven’t tired the Flexitol. Thanks for the suggestion, I will investigate.

    @Charlie: I have left them bare before and it didn’t really make any difference. Having said that I wasn’t diligent at treating them during that time which I think would have made all the difference. I think I may have to set myself a late resolution!

    I have the Nailactan and it’s the only thing I have continued to use. Again, not diligently so I haven’t necessarily had the maximum benefit.

    @Jv: I’ve not come across Nail Aid before but I will investigate. I get plenty of manicure items via the States/Ebay so I can try that route. Something 3 free really appeals in this case as I know it’s the solvents that are sucking all the protective oils out of my nails.

    I’m sorry about your appointment. It might be worth giving it a shot once but I suspect as you say that the swimming would a challenge it. Since seeing your All Hail post I have been wanting to wear it. I think I’m going to have to have a period of no polish though *wails*.

    @Cheeky Beauty: You’re inspiring me to go bare for a while. I have done it before but I got lazy and didn’t apply the Nail Envy often enough. That’s why I think it’s important that I do the other things at the same time. My nails have always been poor, so I don’t expect miracles but I’m sure I can make improvements. Thanks for the inspiration!

    @patuxxa: Thank you so much for your comment. It’s good to know that it can work out for people. A month long mani is great. I agree that the application and skill of the technician will make a difference. I’m not sure it was the best application. It was a little patchy on the tips which I don’t think helped. If I ever did it again I would be tempted to buff them before hand as it might have helped with the areas that were peeling. Thanks for sharing your success story!

    @Debbie: I’m sorry to hear your nails aren’t in great shape. I think I am going to have to go cold turkey on the nail polish! Nail varnish remover is not the nicest of things. I made the mistake of picking up one that had acetone and I think that made matters worse. Solvents and dry nails aren’t the best combination that’s for sure!

  12. @Clever Rabbit: Thank you, any advice would certainly be welcome. This isn’t the effect of the Shellac particularly. The might be slightly drier than they were but this is a fairly could demonstration of how my nails normally look! My nails suffer a lot with looking after little children. All the hand washing and bathing takes it’s toll. I will try my best to be kinder to my hands though. I look forward to your post!

    @Meeta: I’m going to take the plunge and go polish free for a while. It’s gutting as I have a few that I was wanting to wear whilst I had the Shellac on. There’s no use grumbling though unless I take some action! I’ve not heard of the Zoom Nailfood system, where did you get it? I’ll have to do a bit of googling I think!

    @Rachel: Thanks for the Kelp suggestion. I really do think supplements are necessary as much as treating them externally. Pregnancy strips your body of all sorts of nutrients which doesn’t help matters. Thanks for the Sally Hansen tip too.

    Thanks for all the comments. My apologies for the grim nail pictures too!
    Jane x

  13. Also, Suncoat do nail polishes free from.. just about everything, they're even odour free I wonder if something like that might be an alternative to no colour at all?

    They do a natural nail polish remover here too

  14. Great review, my nails used to be prone to splitting too but since Ive been using CND solar oil that hasnt been a problem for a while. Ive heard mixed reviews about shellac but I think Id much prefer to just change my polish on my natural nails and go au natural once in a while

  15. thank you for extremely useful review. I think I might give it a miss :( xx

  16. I had OPI Biogels that are also supposed to last at least 2 weeks. Whilst the colour was beautiful, mine only lasted 4 days...My nail varnish tends to only last a day, 2 if I use Nails Inc polish. I think I must just have dodgy nails?
    Great post! xx

  17. About two year ago I also tried a gel nail colour. I had pretty similar feelings about it. I also peeled mine off at home. My nails were in a *much* worse state than yours look now.

    Interesting to read that your experiences are quite similar.

  18. Too bad! I find cuticle creams work better than cuticle oils, so far the best I've found is CND Cuticle Eraser and LUSH Lemony Flutter. These still aren't quite enough for my cuticles, but after biting them for almost 20 years I'm not sure anything will make them pretty again.

    As for nail treatments, I highly recommend Seche Rebuild. If you can't get it over there, let me know because I'm buying a new bottle soon and I'd be happy to pick one up for you :)

  19. @Rachel: Thanks for the links, I really appreciate it. I’ll take a look as they sound very interesting.

    @Imo: I agree with you, I think that getting my nails in better shape and wearing in regular polish will suit me better. I’ve I the solar oil recommended a few times. I think I need to take a look. I believe it’s possible to get in a sample size from Ebay which sounds like a good way to try it out.

    @liloo: Thanks for your comment and tweet :). I think if your nails are in good condition that this would last for 2 weeks, possibly more. On nails like mine though, I think the poor surface makes it harder for it to stick. Hopefully my review will be useful to others with nails like mine. I would be interested to see if a different technician or a different brand would extend the wear time. I’m not sure I have the patience (or money) to keep trying though.

    @Rebecca Lucy: We obviously both have dodgy nails! It is really useful to know it’s not just me though. The wear and tear on my nails is pretty heavy and whilst I can wear gloves for washing the hand washing and bathing small people doesn’t help matters. I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

    @My Perfume Life: It’s very interesting to hear about similar experiences. I think looking after small children is pretty nail unfriendly. I hope that this review will be useful to others with less than perfect nails!

    @My Lips But Better: Thanks for the product suggestions. I’ve heard a few people rate Lemony Flutter. I have to confess that I never really consider Lush products. The smell in the shop puts me off, I’ll have to brave a trip inside sometime, I’ll look in to the Seche Rebuild, I’d not come across it prior to your favourites post. Sounds interesting.

    Thanks again for all of your thoughts and suggestions,
    Jane x

  20. well maybe they haven t been done the right way
    as long as the polish touch the skin you can be sure it will peel off int he next days this is why application has to be done carefully and when you put your fingers in the lmp they have to be as straight as you can so the product won t leak on the sides

  21. Hi twista. Thanks for your comment. A friend told me that the nail where the polish touched the skin would peel. But the problems I had were at the tip where my nails provide an uneven surface. I really think it's the fault of my bad nails not the manicure or technique in this case. I will try a Gelish manicure again but I think it's hard to get it to last the full 2 weeks if you're hard on your nails.

  22. I know this is a bit late, I'm not sure if you still have the same problems but I just thought I'd mention that minx manicures are supposed to be good for damage nails because you don't use heat to apply and remove them. I don't know how they cope with oil but at least you wouldn't need acetone.

  23. Try Nailtiques protein its fab

  24. I used to have the same problem. O.P.I's Nail Envy completely fixed it.
    Well, it worked wonders, at least for me. Just my 2 cents.
    Hugs from southern Brazil! =)

  25. Hiya thanks for sharing, was looking into a Shellac and so grateful to see your experience with it! Rosie x


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