7 tips to make your Shellac last, plus tricks to hide chips

Hannah Bates, Nail Technician and Esthetician

Our nail technician (and esthetician) Hannah shared her top 7 tips to keep your CND Shellac manicures looking great this summer (and tips for what to do if you get a chip).

 

  1. Oil! Lots and lots of cuticle oil.  

Apply cuticle oil to your shellac manicure at least once a day to improve your manicure’s longevity.  When the nail bed becomes dehydrated, your shellac is more likely to chip off.  Bonus: Keeping cuticle oil on the skin around your nails will also reduce the likelihood of getting hangnails and dry skin surrounding the nail.  We recommend CND Solar Oil which is made from Jojoba and Sweet Almond Oils to nourish the skin and nail.

2. Keep away from Harsh Chemicals

Not only can harsh cleaning agents and chemicals dehydrate your nails, but they can also change the chemistry of your shellac.  Some shellac colors may change slightly when exposed to cleaning agents, or even melt a little!  We recommend wearing thick cleaning gloves to protect your manicure, as well as rinsing your hands with soap and water, and finishing with lotion and cuticle oil to maintain a beautiful manicure AND a clean house.

3. Water Exposure

We love fun in the sun as much as anyone else, and CND Shellac is the perfect product for a manicure that outlasts the sand as well as the water.  However, when our nails absorb water, it causes them to expand and contract just the same way a wet sponge does, which can lead to peeling.  So should you go to the beach in latex gloves?! As much as that would be a sight to see, we just recommend washing your hands with mild soap and water after you are done swimming to wash away the excess chlorine or salt. If you know you’re going to be swimming a lot, let your nail technician know, and we have a few tricks up our sleeves! Remember to always re-hydrate your nails with cuticle oil at the end of your beach or pool day.

4. Stay Hydrated

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, make sure you are drinking plenty of water which hydrates the nail from the inside out, and assists in keeping the nails from splitting, cracking or peeling.

5. Treat Your Nails Like Jewels-Not Tools!

Many times shellac chips or peels it’s because we are treating our nails as tools.  This is admittedly a very hard habit to break, and it’s something I personally am VERY guilty of. Use caution when opening soda cans, peeling stickers or price tags off of new items, and even doing dishes.  Again, here is where a pair of rubber gloves can seriously be a great investment in the kitchen.

6. Gardening

I just love when the spring and summer comes here in Iowa, the flowers start blooming, and I can grow fresh produce in my yard.  Unfortunately, with gardening comes WEEDING. Gardening gloves are an absolute must for the gardener who also loves their manicure!  Bonus: Adding a layer of latex surgical gloves underneath your gardening gloves is a great barrier option for keeping dirt and debris out from under your nails.

7. Always Remove Your Shellac Properly

CND Shellac is the only true non-damage long wearing manicure on the market.  That being said, improper removal can ABSOLUTELY damage your nails! My goodness is it satisfying when a corner of polish lifts up and you can slide the whole fingernail’s worth of shellac off in one lovely sheet.  However, this often takes layers of your actual nail plate along with it, and weakens your nails.  If this does happen to you, it’s best to give your nails a few weeks to recover before trying another shellac manicure, and make sure you are using plenty of Solar Oil and lotion daily.  Shellac that is applied to compromised nail plates is at risk for peeling and chipping sooner than when it is applied to healthy nails.  Remember to schedule an appointment to have your shellac soaked off by your nail technician 2-3 weeks after application! Worst case scenario, click here to see our video on removing it safely yourself at home.

So you tried your hardest and still had a chip?  Here are your best options:

  1. If the whole manicure to be re-done or just removed, call the spa and book a removal with us! A stand-alone appointment for removal usually only takes us 15-20 minutes, and we would love to assist you in removing them properly.
  2. MOST of our shellac shades are also available in CND Vinylux  corresponding colors! So if you are worried about chipping, purchase a Vinylux color for touch-ups on the go.
  3. If your chip is just on the edge of your nail, trim the edge of the nail where the chip is, and file lightly with a high-grit nail file like the one we offer you at the end of your manicure.
  4. If all else fails and you end up losing a nail of your shellac manicure try rocking an accent nail by covering the chipped polish with an accent color of your choice! 

If you your Shellac chips off of a nail, rock an accent nail like Hannah did in this pic with a polish you have on hand, especially if it is a glittery one.

Ready to book your Shellac manicure? Click here to schedule with Hannah or any of our great nail technicians! They are all a wealth of information and ideas on nail issues and look forward to your visit!

The Spa Newbie gets her first CND Shellac Manicure!

Our awesome summer intern, Alyssa, has had her final “Spa Newbie” experience with us, the CND Shellac Manicure.  We feel like she’s graduated to spa expert status over the summer and will miss her! Here’s what she had to say about her manicure:

*****

I have had my fair share of manicures at the local spas.  I don’t normally like up keeping my own nails, so when I got the chance, I would find myself getting a gel-polish manicure.  Every place I had been to, I felt as if I was sitting in the chair for hours.  By the time I walked out of there, I wondered why I even went.  At that point in time I wasn’t too thrilled going to the salons anymore.  I felt like I exhausted my limits and decided it was something I could do on my own.

I went out and decided to go buy my own imitation “shellac” kit.  At first I thought it was the greatest thing in the world.  I could paint my nails once a week and I wasn’t concerned about money and the time spent at a salon.  Eventually, I noticed that my cuticle beds were no longer healthy and my nails in general were in very poor shape.  My manicure polish would only stay on for 3 days maximum.  I have tried dozens of times to fix this but never have been able to make it last very long.  I haven’t pulled out my kit in almost 4 months now.  I will bring it out occasionally to give myself a manicure before a weekend trip.  I do not think I will ever be pleased with my own at-home manicures.  They never have that professional look.

I had the pleasure of receiving a CND Shellac manicure from Hannah.  She did not use any products or water first and did a dry manicure.  This included shaping the nails, pushing back the cuticles etc… Then she applied a base, two layers of color, and then the top coat.  Then she used an alcohol cloth to remove the sticky layer.  The last step was applying the Solar Oil on my cuticles to make sure they were nice and moisturized.  I chose a bright pink shade that seemed fitting for the summer.  I was very surprised how easy she made it look and how fast it was to accomplish a great shellac manicure.  This was the perfect amount of length for me to be able to enjoy it to the fullest.

Alyssa's nails right after her CND Shellac Express Manicure with Hannah

Alyssa’s nails right after her CND Shellac Express Manicure with Hannah

I never had been to a place where there was CND shellac before.  This is a non-gel which doesn’t damage the nails like all the other polishes out there.  I have found that this is one of the best polishes that I have come across and wouldn’t go back to any other brand.  It has been over a week now and it looks just as good as it did when they were first done.  With my always on the go lifestyle, I found it amazing that I haven’t had one chip yet.

Alyssa's CND Shellac manicure 8 days later, still looks amazing!

Alyssa’s CND Shellac manicure 8 days later, still looks amazing!

I am very impressed with my manicure and 110% would recommend it to anyone and everyone.  The quality of service I have received with each individual service since being here at East Village Spa, has been superb.  Everyone here is so professional and makes you feel cared for.  I have been to no place like it and I’m not sure I could ever go back to the places I had gone to in the past. I’m a big fan.

*****

Best wishes to Alyssa and we’ll look forward to meeting future interns and introducing them to the spa!

4 common reasons Shellac polish chips, plus solutions:

Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE CND’s Shellac nail polish (the Original Gel-Hybrid Power Polish), but we don’t guarantee it to be chip-free in every situation.

Problem 1. You’ve spent a lot of time in water.  (The inspiration for this post was my weekend trip to swim in Wisconsin’s gorgeous, but skin-drying lakes…between the water and piles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, my Shellac chipped on one very dry nail).

Water will cause your nail plate to expand and contract which gives more opportunities for the polish to lift.  Spending time in chlorine-y pools, ocean water (yay, vacation!) or soapy water (lots of hand-washing) can also really dry out nails and polish leading to chipping and lifting and there isn’t much your nail tech can do about that.

tubing

 

Solution: Keep CND solar oil handy and apply regularly.  I know, it isn’t fun to think about cuticle oil on vacation, and it is a pain to think about re-applying it regularly if you have a job that requires frequent hand washing, but it is really the best way to try to keep all that time in water from causing your Shellac to chip or pop off.

Also,  using rubber gloves if you happen to have to be washing dishes or kids toys soapy water for an extended period of time helps!

Problem 2. Picking off your polish.  If you pick off your polish, it will cause nails to peel (delamination).  When your nail tech re-applies your Shellac, it is likely to peel because the nail underneath is peeling.

pick at nails

Solution: Keep a Shellac removal kit handy, we sell them, you’ll get several  uses out of them, and knowing you have a removal kit at home can save you from mindlessly picking off your Shellac while waiting for your next appointment.

If the damage has already been done and you’ve got peeling nails, try a treatment like CND’s Rescue RX for a week or two on “naked” nails before going back to Shellac to give your nail tech a healthier canvas to work with.  You can also just go to a polish like CND Vinylux which wears well (but not nearly as long as Shellac), removes easily (not a fun one to pick) and doesn’t require the extra time or up-charge that Shellac does.

3. Using your nails as tools.  If you use your nails to scrape or peel at things, you are likely to experience chips at the tip of your nails, even with the best polish application.

Nail quote

 

Solution: Knock it off!  ha ha, ok, I’m so guilty of this so I can’t really talk, but if you use your nails to pick at labels or tear open boxes, keep goo gone and box cutters handy so you have fewer excuses.

4. You have super short nails: Shellac still is great for short nails (we have so many massage therapists on the team so our nail techs are used to working with our little nail nubbins) but they can’t really “cap the free edge” of the nail as well as with nails that extend beyond your fingertip.  This is a polishing technique that helps Shellac stand up to wear, tear, and shrinking better.

leopardfoils

Solution:  If you are trying to grow your nails, Shellac can be a good tool because it is a harder polish so makes them less prone to breaking and less fun to nibble if you’re a nail biter. Can’t grow nails because of your job or lifestyle?  No worries, you are less likely to use your nails as tools (See #3) so you might still get some great wear out of your Shellac.  Plus because the polish is thicker than regular polish, you might get away with a bit more length than normal because it blunts the edge of your nail a bit.  You can also go with a more neutral color so it isn’t obvious if it pulls from the tip a bit.

Need expert help?  Book a manicure with one of our awesome nail techs!  They are great at advising you on the best polish or treatment, helping your nails to look great at the length they are, or helping you to grow them if that’s your goal!

Happy Birthday, CND Shellac!

CND Shellac, the original gel-polish hybrid, turns 5 years old this month and we have been using Shellac since it debuted at a show in Las Vegas.  In fact, when we learned about this revolutionary new product, I bought a plane ticket to Vegas so I could be among the first to purchase it and bring it back to Iowa!  Our nail technician and esthetician Cassandra recently took an advanced CND Shellac course where she learned new techniques, tips, and tricks and learned about the soon-to-debut new top coat and lamp.  The new CND Shellac Top Coat will be available soon and will make removal even faster and gentler!

Cassandra also learned 5 interesting CND Shellac Facts, we’ll share one for each year we’ve been able to enjoy Shellac:

5: Every CND Shellac Color is individually formulated to create the best color, which explains why some are thicker or thinner, and some hold foils better than others.

foilscollage

Add some fun to your Shellac with a foil upgrade on all or part of your nails.

4: CND’s new LED lamp has been in development for THREE YEARS!

3: Swimming, dishes, or other hobbies or chores that submerge hands in water aren’t great for Shellac, but Cassandra learned that prolonged exposure to heat from a hair dryer or hot laundry can also cause Shellac to lift.  (but if you don’t pick at it, the polish edges should go back to where they belong in time!)

2: On average, fingernails grow just 3 mm/month. In our experience, keeping a hard gel polish like Shellac on, can help keep you from biting or breaking your nails!

1: While it started with just 12 shades, currently CND Shellac comes in 83 shades (As of right now!)

Our CND Color collection!

5 Easy tips for your DIY manicures

Of course we love to have you come into the spa for a relaxing mani/pedi, but we know that sometimes in a pinch you need to do it yourself.   There can also be something really meditative and relaxing about taking time to tend to your nails at home.

CND Offly Fast Home Shellac Removal Kits

CND Offly Fast Home Shellac Removal Kits

5. You CAN safely remove Shellac at home, it just takes longer since you will be doing one hand at a time.  As long as you are patient and follow recommended instructions, you should be fine.  As soon as next week, we’ll even have DIY Shellac Removal Kits.  The video linked to this post and the removal kits are intended for CND brand Shellac which comes off easier than other gel-polish brands, but you can research safe removal methods for other brands.  We used to advise only getting professional removal (which is still the ideal) but we have too many clients who pick their polish off at home and damage their nails so we might as well make sure you know the best ways to remove it safely!

4. Shellac doesn’t have to mean 2 weeks of the same color! You can use a regular polish like Zoya or Vinylux over the top of Shellac to add designs or just a quick change of color, the remove it quickly with a gentle remover and swipe nail with alcohol to bring shine back.  A quick swipe of gentle remover won’t take off the Shellac and this is a fun way to add a bit of art to your nails or paint a darker color over a light shellac shade or a shimmery sheer polish to add sparkle over a cream color Shellac.

I used Vinylux over the top of Shellac to create accent nails to wear for a day (I didn't use Vinylux top coat), and removed with Zoya remover and wiped with alcohol to restore shine.

I used Vinylux over the top of Shellac to create accent nails to wear for a day (I didn’t use Vinylux top coat), and removed with Zoya remover and wiped with alcohol to restore shine.

3. Love Zoya’s colors (especially the Pixies, glittery, and shimmery options) but the drying speed and long wear of Vinylux?  Layer them!  We like using similar shades and applying a layer of Vinylux as a base coat, topped with 1-2 layers of Zoya for color, and a layer of Vinylux top coat for quick drying.  It is also fun to use a darker shade of Vinylux as a base and top it with a shimmery sheer Zoya shade to change up the look.

Ideas for pairing Vinylux and Zoya for the best of both worlds.

Ideas for pairing Vinylux and Zoya for the best of both worlds.

2. Add flair to your nails with a metallic sharpie!  Even wobbly hands can do dots, hearts, stripes, or fun french tips with Sharpies (regular metallic Sharpies, not paint pens).  Apply to dry polish or a gel polish (see #5) then top with a base coat.  Full instructions and ideas here.

1. Whatever you do,  cuticle oil is a must! I hate bundling and am terrible at wearing my gloves in the dry winter air so my hands and cuticles are fried!  I snapped a before pic, applied CND Solar Oil, waited 10 minutes and it pretty much worked wonders.  Solar Oil is designed to penetrate through the tiny tunnels in CND Shellac so it will continue to hydrate your nails and cuticles while you wear Shellac to help it last longer and so your nails stay healthy underneath the polish!  Keep it on your night stand for a quick bedtime application.

My hands before and after Solar Oil.

My hands before and after Solar Oil. My nails are 1 week out from my last Shellac manicure and I’ve been really hard on them since!

Stop in to check out our selection of CND and Zoya brand polishes, or if you are more the type to let a pro pamper your nails, book your manicure or pedicure online!

Please believe us when we say…

Many of us have been practicing massage, esthetics, or nail care for a LONG time, but we were all clients before we were practitioners and we know how easy it is to ignore the advice of a pro.  I polled our team to get their feedback on the top 15 things they wished clients knew (or rather, they wished clients would believe their esthetician, LMT, or nail tech about!)

15. If you are indecisive about nail polish colors, bring an article of clothing you want help matching for a special event or come with at least a basic idea of the color family (i.e. red, blue, pink) and whether you want cream or sparkle.  Your nail tech has seen how all of the colors look with lots of different skin types so if you are torn between a few shades, defer to her for the color that will look best and get you the most compliments!  If you arrive a few minutes early, ask the receptionist if you can walk back to the nail room for extra browsing time!

14.  Sometimes the most effective massages aren’t the ones with the heaviest pressure.  Lighter touch might do wonders for tension and services like Cranio Sacral Therapy are incredibly gentle but effective.

13. Shellac is a name brand gel polish from CND, but like most people call all kinds of tissues “Kleenx” even if they are a store brand or “Puffs” brand,some places just call all gel polishes “Shellac.”  Real Shellac can remove gently in under 10 minutes with no damage to the nail, but if what you are wearing is an off-brand, it might take our nail techs longer which will cut into your other service times.  Please be understanding with our nail techs if they have to adjust your service  due to longer removal process of non-Shellac gel polishes.

12. While we love that people think we’re just naturally gifted, our professions do require quite a bit of education and continuing education.  Many of our employees have over 1,000 hours of industry training, some over 2000 hours!   All of our licensed employees are required to attend regular continuing education (which is awesome because our classes are so cool!)

11. Men visit the spa and not just for massage!  Guys need skin care and facial treatments even more than women because of how irritating shaving can be on the skin.  Did you know that lots of pro football players regularly get manicures and distance runners often get pedicures to keep their toenails healthy so they can survive the abuse of training?

10. You will enjoy your service more if you arrive 5-10 minutes early to relax and shake off the day’s stresses so you can start your service in a place of relaxation.  Arriving late sets the wrong tone, means it takes you longer to get “in the zone” and means a shorter session.  If you just can’t seem to make it on time, book 15 minutes later.

9. Real change takes time.  While our LMTs, Estheticians, and nail techs are experienced and well educated in their specialties, it usually takes more than one visit to help you achieve your goals.  If you have had pain from your posture at work for years, it will take more than one massage for relief.  If you have been a nail biter working to grow your nails, a series of manicures can do wonders.  Working to see big improvements with your skin?  It will take more than one facial.  While one spa visit is great for an occasional indulgence, for real change, doing the recommended home care and visiting on a regular schedule will really improve the health of your skin or nails or decrease your pain.

8. We really do book up, especially for evenings and Saturdays.  Our happiest clients are those who set aside a regular time for sessions and book standing weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly services so they have something to look forward to and aren’t stressed when they can’t get in last minute.  It is easier to give us a day’s notice to cancel than to get in at a popular time on a day’s notice.

7. Everyone’s skin needs change regularly, especially with seasons which is why monthly facials are good.  Plus it is really nice to come regularly for a deeper cleanse with steam and extractions.

6. It is totally fine not to chat during your services!  You’ll get to a deeper state of relaxation and your therapist can focus more on his or her work for a more effective session.  If you snore, even better!  We consider that our highest compliment!

5. If your nails are dry or brittle, your hands are frequently in water or you have a job requiring lots of hand washing, or you don’t regularly moisturize nails with cuticle oil, your polish (including CND Shellac) will chip sooner.  Really, cuticle oil and starting with healthy nails will make a huge difference in how long your polish lasts.

4. Don’t plan a big night out drinking before (or after) your massage.  Trust us, it is very hard to relax with a hangover and massage will not help.  If you have a massage on the books and plan to go drinking afterward, you might feel extra crummy the next day.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

3. All bodies are awesome.  Trust us, we see pre-teens, great-great-grandmas, people with severe injuries, people undergoing cancer therapies, pregnant women, people of all heights and weights and we are not judging our clients on their bodies.  Your therapist is not focusing on your weight or your body hair, or blemishes.  He or she is focusing on how to help you feel great in the body you have and it is a really, really wonderful job.

2. Yes, our significant others are lucky (because we are awesome people) but no, they don’t get massage all the time.  In most cases, they have to schedule appointments like everyone else.  And often, they see our co-workers who are focused more on their therapy needs and not whether or not the dishes got done at home. 😉

1. Having regular massage will assist in strengthening the immune system by lowering stress levels and helping to keep stress in the body to a minimum.   And, considering that stress is a huge risk factor for many major life-threatening diseases, reducing stress can save your life!