Within the last decade, the number of services available to nail polish enthusiasts has expanded substantially. There are now fake nail alternatives such as acrylic nails and a new competitor in gel polish- shellac, along with traditional polishes.
Read on to learn all about shellac nail polish and how to take shellac off at home.
The frustration caused when your newly applied and immaculate nail polish coat gets ruined after you forget that it takes hundreds of years to dry and naively pick up your phone to check new Instagram or Facebook notifications is immeasurable.
Even if you have the patience to wait for your nails to dry completely, your new manicure will start to chip within a few days. On the other hand, Shellac nails may be the lifesaver you’re waiting for!
What is Shellac?
Shellac is a gel nail polish in a wide range of shades.
Shellac polish is made up of radical initiators and methacrylate monomers. Shellac may appear to be standard polish on the outside, but it requires a ‘curing’ or hardening procedure under ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
The chemical reaction that occurs when these two substances are subjected to UV light is called the UV curing process, and the light’s energy causes the polymerization process.
The molecules in the gel are moving all over the place, but once the energy from the light is absorbed, they are unable to move, causing the polish to harden.
CND, established in Vista, California, was founded in 1979 and is the world’s leading professional nail, hand, and foot beauty company, with brands such as SHELLAC.
The brand is a strong proponent of the importance of nail care in personal beauty and fashion. CND is dedicated to advancing the nail care business, devoting substantial time and resources to product development, education, and customer service.
How are Shellac Nails Different from Gel Nails?
Although the differences between these two nail types are minor, they impact your manicure experience. Gel nails color your nails with a semi-permanent gel, while shellac nails apply a semi-permanent polish.
There are approximately three times as many color options for gel nails as for shellac nails, but both have plenty of colors to select from.
The removal process is another significant difference between a shellac manicure and other gels or gel polish. When an acetone-based remover is used, the coating breaks down into tiny bits and releases from the nail allowing for smooth removal.
How are Shellac Nails Done?
The shellac application method is similar to a gel polish manicure. You have to start with a clean nail, a base coat, two coats of color, and a topcoat. Your nail technician will use an LED light to cure your nails in between each application of polish.
By the end of it, you’ll get a gleaming, long-lasting finish with no need to wait for it to dry!
How Much Time Does A Shellac Manicure Take?
A shellac manicure might take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the pace of your nail technician. However, you won’t have to sit and wait for the shellac to dry for hours. A sigh of relief!
Is Shellac Nail Polish Manicure Safe?
We all know that UV exposure is harmful to you, but UV lights are required to harden your nails during the shellac manicure process. So, are these manicures safe?
Well, according to a recent study, the risk of UV lamps on your hands is negligible, so you don’t have to stop going to the salon. However, if it makes you feel better, you can use sunscreen before getting your nails done for complete peace of mind.
Can Shellac Nail Polish Harm Your Natural Nails?
Shellac can only harm your nails if they are under-cured, over-cured, or carelessly removed. Furthermore, shellac is gentler on natural nails than the materials and chemicals used in acrylic nail extensions.
If your nails are brittle or broken, though, it’s advisable to wait until they’re in good shape before using shellac.
How Long Does Shellac Nail Polish Last?
Shellac nails last for a very long time, and you should be able to get 10 to 14 days out of them. However, you shouldn’t wear them for more than two weeks because your natural nail will have started to grow out by then, which isn’t the chicest look.
However, removing the shellac nails can be quite a challenge if not done right.
In our current situations, when we have to adhere to social-distancing restrictions and remain in self-isolation, going to a nail technician in nail salons for the removal process isn’t feasible. But fret not.
Even if the nail tech from a salon can’t come to remove your shellac, you can perform the removal process at home!
So, continue reading to learn how to take shellac off at home.
Things You Need to Take Shellac Off at Home
All the products to take shellac off at home should be available at your local pharmacy.
- A nail file
- Acetone or nail polish remover with acetone
- Cotton wool
- Block nail buffer
- A cuticle pusher or orangewood stick
- Cuticle oil or coconut oil
How to Take Shellac Off at Home in 6 Easy Steps
When done carefully and patiently, nail removal does not harm your nails. So, here are the 6 easy steps on how to take shellac off at home.
Step 1- File the Top of Your Nails
The first step is to use a file to break the shellac nail polish seal on your nails. The more you lightly file your nail, the quicker the procedure. By filing the nail, the seal is broken, allowing the acetone to enter right past the topcoat’s barrier and perform all of the hard work.
Instead of filing back and forth, try to utilize light upwards movements to avoid creating friction that can burn.
This step can be done faster using a coarse nail file than a soft file or a buffing block.
Step 2- Wrap Your Nails With Cotton Balls
Start by soaking a cotton ball in acetone and placing it on your fingernail after you’ve sanded away the topcoat on all 10 nails. To hold the cotton ball in place, wrap the aluminum foil squares over each nail.
If you don’t have aluminum foil, you can even secure the cotton ball using sticky tape.
Acetone is a non-toxic solvent used to dissolve nail polish and remove it from the surface of the nail plate. It’s not harmful, but it’s highly flammable and dehydrates your nails, cuticles, and surrounding skin.
Therefore, it must be handled with caution when you take shellac off at home.
Step 3- Let Your Finger Nails Soak for 15 Minutes
If you’re using a pure acetone solution, soak your fingers in the cotton pads for 10 minutes. On the other hand, if you’re using acetone nail polish remover, soak your fingers for 15 minutes. This will ensure that all of your nail polish lifts quickly from your nail bed.
Furthermore, to speed up the procedure, you can wrap your fingers in a towel to keep them warm. Lastly, when you remove a foil, and if the gel appears to be lifting and crumbling, you are ready for the next step.
Step 4- Remove The Shellac Nail Polish
Unwrap each finger one by one. With the cotton ball, you should be able to remove the shellac. Moreover, manicure sticks can be used to remove the polish from your nails gently.
Alternatively, you can gently scrape the polish from the nail with a metal cuticle pusher, wooden cuticle stick, or orangewood stick. If the shellac is obstinate, soak the nail in acetone again until it comes off completely.
Step 5- Buff Your Finger Nails
When the shellac from all your fingernails has been removed, you should gently buff your nails with a nail buffing block to remove any sharp edges or ridges.
Since your natural nails may be weak, use the less abrasive face of the buffer. This step removes any extra gel from the base coat that has remained on your nail and makes them exceptionally smooth.
Now switch to your next hand and repeat steps one to five.
Step 6- Hydrate and Moisturize Your Nails
You should always keep your nails and the skin around them moisturized. However, when you remove your gel polish manicure, it becomes even more crucial. Your nails will be a little damaged and dry after using acetone because it is drying. Therefore, after you take shellac off at home, be sure to use a lot of lotion, coconut oil, or cuticle oil for optimal aftercare.
Our nails are naturally dry, whether we have gel-sensitive nails or not, so it’s less about hydrating them with cuticle oil and more about giving them flexibility so they don’t break or crack.
If you want to go all out, apply a coat of nail strengthening polish.
Alternatives to Acetone to Take Shellac Off at Home
Here are two alternative ways on how to take shellac off at home without using acetone.
1. Acetone-free Nail Polish Remover
If you want to take shellac off at home without hurting your nails, use an acetone-free nail polish remover or nail polish remover pads. Since the polish will be more challenging to remove, you may need to soak them for longer.
2. Warm Water
Warm water is another option to take shellac off at home without acetone. Though you shouldn’t remove shellac nails without a proper nail polish remover, you can try removing your nail polish by pulling a corner of your polish that has come free until it peels off completely by running warm water over your nails.
You must be careful and follow all of the steps to take shellac off at home easily, as improper removal of a shellac manicure can cause long-term damage to your nails.
Moreover, frequent picking and peeling off shellac or gel nail polish is a big no. It leaves your nails fragile, brittle, open to injury, and prone to breakage. This is because a single peel can destroy at least six of fifty layers of your nail.
It’s the most damaging thing you can do to your hands and nails.
Feel free to comment down any tip on how to take shellac off at home. We would love to hear your personal experience and related stories on how you take shellac off at home.