As the holiday season approaches full steam ahead, we can all agree that nail maintenance is going to take a back seat to time spent with friends and family. Between prepping meals, gift giving, and marathon shopping, pretty nails become an afterthought.
It’s often right before a holiday party or event that the state of our nails becomes a very real concern. Cue the hurried, last-minute nail job that is often done half-dressed and hunched over a sink. We’ve all been there.
That’s where the all-powerful shellac manicure steps in.
Shellac nail polish creates the illusion of fake nails without having to apply and care for fake nails. Shellac is a blend of gel and nail polish that coats your nail in a thicker polish that is stronger, more durable, and healthier for your nails than your typical gel or nail polish. Ultimately, this means no chipping. And as we all know, no-chip nails are the secret to a happy life. (Not really, but almost.)
Shellac manicures are the perfect solution for busy holidays, carrying you from themed party to family gathering in a cinch. The shellac finish ensures a complete look and one less thing to worry about as you rush out the door.
As industrial-strength as shellac manis are, there are some things you can do to help them along. Take note of these tips to help your beloved shellacked tips last even longer.
Start with healthy nails
Healthy fingernails are a necessary jumpstart to a healthy manicure. Peeling or splitting cuticles and nail beds does not a healthy nail make. Moisturizing your cuticles, ceasing biting your nails and keeping them away from drying agents is important to stimulate healthy nail growth. Hydration helps your nail cells expand; if they are dry or damaged, polish will only add a brittle surface that doesn’t last nearly as long as even regular nail polish.
The shellac should last about a month
If all goes as planned, your shellac manicure should roughly last a month. Its staying power is in part thanks to how the gel polish is cured with UV or LED lights. This should not be made a regular habit, however, for prolonged UV exposure can increase risk of age spots. Keeping your fingernails moisturized and even applying a sunscreen before your nails go under the LED lamp can ensure a higher degree of safety.
Care for your nails at home
Longevity is the core appeal of shellac. To keep its glossy quality and promote good nail health, apply cuticle oil at least twice per day. Nourishing your nail beds so they hold the polish will help the manicure last longer and maintain its trademark sheen.
Remove it correctly
Shellac manicures should be properly removed by a nail technician before another manicure is applied. Normal nail polish remover will not penetrate the polish as thoroughly, if at all, as the specialized agent used at salons. It also requires more time, as you want to remove the polish without taking off part of your nails in the process. To remove the polish and ready your nails for your next manicure, the technician will often wrap each individual nail and let it soak in a particular acetone to loosen the shellac polish.
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