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What is SHELLAC Nail Polish? (Easy Beginner’s Guide)

If you’re someone who loves to keep their nails looking polished and perfect, you’ve probably heard of shellac nail polish. But what exactly is shellac nail polish, and how does it differ from regular nail polish or gel nail polish?

Shellac nail polish is a type of hybrid nail polish that combines the best features of both traditional nail polish and gel nail polish. It was developed by Creative Nail Design (CND) and quickly gained popularity due to its long-lasting and chip-resistant formula.

Unlike traditional nail polish, which typically lasts only a few days before chipping, shellac nail polish can last up to two weeks or more without any signs of wear and tear.

One of the reasons why shellac nail polish is so popular is because it offers the convenience of traditional nail polish with the durability of gel nail polish. It’s easy to apply, dries quickly, and can be removed without damaging your natural nails.

Plus, it comes in a wide range of colors and finishes, so you can find the perfect shade to match your style and personality.

Definition and Composition

If you’re new to the world of nail polish, you may have heard of shellac but aren’t quite sure what it is. Shellac is a type of nail polish that’s known for its durability and longevity.

It’s a popular choice for people who want their manicure to last for weeks without chipping or peeling. Here’s what you need to know about shellac nail polish.

Shellac Origins

Shellac nail polish was first introduced by Creative Nail Design (CND) in 2010. It quickly gained popularity because of its long-lasting properties and the fact that it doesn’t damage your natural nails.

Unlike other types of nail polish, shellac is a hybrid between gel and traditional nail polish. It’s a combination of polymers and monomers that are cured under UV light.

Chemical Properties

The chemical composition of shellac nail polish is what makes it so unique.

It’s a blend of nitrocellulose, butyl acetate, and isopropyl alcohol, which are all common ingredients in traditional nail polish. However, shellac also contains a patented blend of polymers and monomers that are exclusive to CND.

When you apply shellac nail polish, it’s cured under UV light, which causes the polymers and monomers to cross-link and form a hard, durable surface. This is what makes shellac so long-lasting and chip-resistant. Unlike traditional nail polish, shellac doesn’t dry through evaporation.

Instead, it cures through a chemical reaction that’s triggered by the UV light.

Overall, shellac nail polish is a great choice if you want a long-lasting manicure that won’t chip or peel.

It’s important to note that shellac should only be removed by a professional, as it requires a special removal process that involves soaking your nails in acetone.

Application Process


Before getting started with the application process, you should make sure that your nails are clean and free of any oils or lotions.

This can be done by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water or using a nail polish remover to clean y

our nails.

Application Steps

The application process for shellac nail polish is very similar to a gel manicure. First, a base coat is applied to your nails and then cured under a UV lamp for 30 seconds. Next, two coats of the shellac color of your choice are applied, with each coat being cured under the UV lamp for 30 seconds as well.

Finally, a topcoat is applied and cured under the UV lamp for 60 seconds.

Drying and Curing

After the final topcoat has been cured, your nails should be dry and ready to go! Unlike regular nail polish, shellac nail polish does not require any additional drying time.

It is important to note that shellac nail polish should be cured under a UV lamp to ensure that it sets properly and lasts for up to two weeks.

Overall, the application process for shellac nail polish is relatively simple and straightforward. With a little bit of practice, you can easily achieve a long-lasting, high-gloss finish that will keep your nails looking beautiful for weeks to come.

Benefits of Shellac Nail Polish

If you’re looking for a manicure that lasts longer and looks better than traditional nail polish, shellac nail polish is an excellent choice.

Here are some of the benefits of shellac nail polish:


One of the most significant benefits of shellac nail polish is its durability. Unlike traditional nail polish, shellac nail polish can last up to 14 days without chipping or peeling.

This makes it an excellent choice for people who are busy and don’t have time to touch up their nails frequently.


Shellac nail polish provides a beautiful, high-gloss finish that looks great on any nail. It’s available in a wide range of colors, so you can choose the perfect shade to match your style.

Additionally, shellac nail polish is less thick than traditional gel nail polish, giving it a more natural appearance. This makes it a great choice if you’re looking for a manicure that looks great but doesn’t look too artificial.

Overall, shellac nail polish is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a long-lasting, beautiful manicure. With its durability and natural appearance, it’s no wonder that shellac nail polish has become so popular in recent years.

Maintenance and Removal

Upkeep Tips

Shellac nail polish is known for its durability and long-lasting effects. However, to maintain the quality of your shellac manicure, there are a few upkeep tips you should follow.

Firstly, avoid exposing your nails to harsh chemicals, such as cleaning agents, as they can cause the polish to chip or peel off. Additionally, avoid using your nails as tools to open cans or packages, as this can also damage the polish.

Another tip is to moisturize your nails and cuticles regularly. This can help prevent the polish from drying out and cracking.

A moisturizing cuticle oil can be applied daily to keep your nails healthy and shiny.

Removal Techniques

When it comes to removing shellac nail polish, there are a few techniques you can use. One popular method involves soaking your nails in acetone. To do this, you will need to fill a shallow bowl with acetone and soak your nails for about 10-15 minutes.

After soaking, use a cuticle pusher or orange stick to gently remove the softened polish.

Another method involves using cotton balls soaked in acetone and wrapping them around your nails with aluminum foil.

This technique can be more effective for removing stubborn polish, but it can also be more time-consuming.

It is important to note that while acetone is effective in removing shellac nail polish, it can also be harsh on your nails. To minimize damage, be sure to moisturize your nails and cuticles after removing the polish. Additionally, avoid using acetone-based removers too frequently, as they can cause your nails to become brittle and weak.

Potential Drawbacks

Health Considerations

While shellac nail polish is generally considered safe, there are some health considerations to keep in mind. For one, the curing process requires UV light exposure, which can be harmful to your skin. It’s important to apply sunscreen to your hands or wear UV-blocking gloves during the process to protect your skin.

Additionally, some people may experience an allergic reaction to the ingredients in shellac nail polish. If you notice any redness, itching, or swelling around your nails after application, it’s best to remove the polish and seek medical attention if necessary.

Cost Implications

Compared to regular nail polish, shellac nail polish can be more expensive. The cost can vary depending on the salon and location, but generally, you can expect to pay more for a shellac manicure than a regular one.

Furthermore, while shellac nails can last longer than regular polish, they require a professional removal process that can also be costly. Attempting to remove the polish yourself can damage your nails and lead to further expenses for repair or treatment.

Overall, while shellac nail polish has its benefits, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks before deciding if it’s right for you.

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