Between regular and gel nail polish, Shellac is the golden mean. Blending together characteristics of both nail polish types, Shellac comes together as a unique hybrid alternative. It’s earned its place at the forefront of modern nail technology, giving off that coveted, long-lasting effect. While a Shellac manicure won’t last forever, a few tricks can help you maintain it for longer than average.
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How long does Shellac last?
There’s a running battle between classic and gel nail polish. But since entering the nail design scene, Shellac has offered the middle ground between the two for those who can’t seem to pick a side. Shellac is a hybrid-style nail polish made with a fusion of regular and gel formulas. Patented by Creative Nail Design, the Shellac line includes a range of over 100 color choices. Similar to gel nails, Shellac polish is cured under UV or LED light, resulting in a durable and long-lasting manicure. But at the same time, Shellac creates a unique, high-shine finish akin to traditional nail polish.
So, how long do Shellac nails last? And is there a difference between how long does Shellac last on toes versus fingers? Usually, a Shellac manicure will hold up for around 14 days. This means you’ll be able to retain chip-free nails for up to two weeks! A Shellac pedicure can last much longer. Toes are generally less exposed and aren’t used as much as the fingers. So, pedicures done with Shellac may last weeks before needing a refresh.
How to make Shellac nails last longer
While two weeks may be the average lifespan for Shellac, that doesn’t mean it can’t last beyond 14 days. By following a few expert tips, you may be able to sport your Shellac nails last even longer. Here’s the ultimate rulebook for how to maintain Shellac nails:
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- Take good care of your nails
Basic nail care matters a lot more than you may think it does. Healthy nails are essential for a long-lasting Shellac manicure. Nails that are brittle, splitting, or peeling may not be good candidates for Shellac. If you have weak nails, nurse them back to health first! Learning the fundamentals of nail hygiene will help your Shellac manicure last. Routine nail maintenance, like cleaning, cutting, and filing your nails, and cuticle care set the stage for healthy nail growth. Supplying your body with the proper nutrients can significantly impact nail health. Make sure you’re eating a diet rich in protein, berries, and leafy greens. Additionally, you can take biotin supplements to support healthy nail growth further.
- Use the right application techniques
Using the proper manicure techniques is especially important if you’re doing your own Shellac manicure at home. If you’re a self-taught manicurist, there are quite a few pitfalls that you might encounter without the proper knowledge. Correctly prepping your nails before applying Shellac can extend its life in the long run. Cleansing, shaping, and buffing are necessary steps for Shellac nail prep. Shellac should never be applied to wet nails. This includes nails hydrated with moisturizing products like oils or creams.
When applying Shellac, paint it onto your nails in thin layers. Use even brushstrokes, starting at the base of the nail and moving toward the tip. Thin layers will help the Shellac cure more effectively under UV or LED light. And you’ll want to remember to cure your Shellac nails all the way. Curing Shellac is already a quick process, so don’t rush it! It takes under a minute to harden Shellac nail polish under a nail lamp. Fight the urge to hurry through the drying stage, and your Shellac nails will prove their durability.
- Avoid using your nails as tools
Chances are, you’ve used your nails as tools at one point or another. But you should think twice before doing something like using your nail to pop open a can of soda! Using your nails as tools can cause damage or injury, which can be extremely painful. Doing so is a no-go for maintaining healthy and strong nails overall. But on top of that, it can cut your Shellac manicure’s lifespan short. Treating your nails as tools puts stress on them and can chip or damage a Shellac manicure. Avoid using your nails for scraping, picking, and prying, and steer clear of manual labor that can lead to nail breakage.
- Stop bad habits in their tracks
Everyone has their vices. But if there’s anything you should put a stop to when you have Shellac nails, it’s damaging actions like picking, biting, or peeling. These habits will quickly wear down the Shellac, resulting in a short-lived manicure. Nail picking and biting can damage your natural nails, plus the polish on top of them. Be mindful of these types of habits and try stopping them as soon as you catch yourself in action. Keeping your nails trimmed to a shorter length and replacing your bad habit with a suitable alternative can help you stay on top of bad habit prevention.
- Remember to hydrate your hands
Regularly applying moisturizer to your hands benefits both the skin and the nails. High-quality hand cream should be a staple in your care routine to prolong the length of your Shellac manicure. Keeping your nails, hands, and cuticles hydrated will prevent dryness and enrich your nails with the moisture they need. Adding cuticle oil into your regimen can also do the trick for promoting long-lasting Shellac nails. But hydration from within matters too. Drinking enough water daily will keep your body hydrated, translating to nail health and an ultra-durable Shellac manicure.
- Keep your nails protected
Of course, you’ll want to show your Shellac nails off as much as possible. But it’s vital to keep them under wraps when necessary. Everyday household activities like cleaning or gardening can weaken a Shellac manicure and cause it to chip or peel. And other than that, chemical solutions used for housework and even hot water can damage Shellac polish. Don’t forget protection in these scenarios! An inexpensive pair of rubber gloves can be a live saver for Shellac manicure upkeep. Wearing gloves while tidying up will help you avoid coming into contact with harsh materials that could break down a Shellac manicure, instantly making it last longer.
- Shield your manicure from sunlight
Ultraviolet or LED light is imperative for curing a set of Shellac nails. Beyond that, some exposure to natural UV rays can be beneficial for strengthening them. But too much of anything is never good, including sunlight exposure. Try to limit the amount of sunlight your fingernails are getting. Certain Shellac colors can be sensitive to sunlight, which can cause discoloration and ruin a flawless manicure. To counteract this, keep your nails out of direct sunlight for prolonged periods. Always use an SPF filter on the hands and nails for an added layer of protection!