The most current topic in the break-room of many offices during lunch-time is a hot new type of manicure. It is Shellac nails. It is a brand name for a new, patent-pending nail product created by Creative Nail design. It is actually a hybrid product, half polish, and half gel. It has the ease of application like a polish and has an incredible shine that is achieved with a gel. Its durability is such that the application lasts for 2-3 weeks. The question is whether this type of manicure is for you.

How is this type of manicure similar to regular manicures?

The familiar manicure consists of a base coat, two coats of color, and a top coat. Shellac nail polish consists of the same.

How is this type of manicure different?

Typical nail polish dries by evaporation. Even though you may sit waiting for the polish to dry for 15-20 minutes, actual curing time takes 2-3 hours. Shellac is cured by ultraviolet light within minutes. It is completely dry by the time you leave the salon. No more holding your hands in such a way to avoid accidental nicking. It is an option for those folks wanting to maintain natural nails.


Colours of this type of manicure are limited compared with the regular nail polish, making it easier for those of us so easily overwhelmed when too many choices are available.

Precautions to take

It is known that ultraviolet light may be harmful. Although there is minimal exposure with this type of manicure, there is really no data on this. The company states that they are using low-watt UV bulbs that filter out most of the damaging rays and have been scientifically tested. One suggestion is to use sunscreen on your hand during the manicure process and then wash off if this is a concern for you.


Cost of a Shellac nail treatment is about double that of a regular manicure ranging in price from around 30 to 75 GBP.

Are there downsides to this type of treatment?

Shellac should not be considered if you wish to create an illusion of a longer nail. It also should not be used if your nails are damaged, split, or peeling.

Removal of Shellac requires 100% acetone applied to the nails for 10-25 minutes. Although it is touted as safe, it is known that acetone can cause damage to nails. A powerful chemical, acetone may cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and irritation to nose, throat, and lungs.

Can this type of manicure be done at home?

No, a Shellac manicure should be performed by a licensed, trained manicurist.

The bottom line, for those individuals who want to maintain natural nails, Shellacs cost more, but are extremely durable and last longer than regular nail polish. They are also more time efficient, with less time spent in the manicure chair. More data will be needed for long term effects of prolonged acetone exposure.