Does Shellac Ruin Your Nails?

Pink Shellac nails
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Like any other artificial nail formula, using shellac too often and too much can damage your nails. Your natural nails need a break from shellac nail polish now and then, especially after removal.

Nail care is one of our focuses as a beauty blog. 

With shellac trending in many nail salons, we had to know if it had any side effects on the nails. Thus, we’ve researched what shellac polish and removal do to the natural nail.

Below, you’ll learn the answers to the following questions:

·         Does shellac ruin your nails?

·         How does it differ from regular nail polish?

·         Is it better or more harmful than gel polish?

·         Why does shellac removal hurt your nails?

·         How do you care for your nails after shellac removal?

Does Shellac Ruin Your Nails?

Do you have plans to research how shellac can affect your nails before you get a manicure? Or have you already gotten shellac nails but want to know if you made a regrettable decision? 

Shellac isn’t something to fear or avoid. You only need to ensure that you know the proper nail care for shellac nails.

Step one is to go to a professional for shellac application and removal. With this, you can minimize its damage to your nails.

“So shellac still damages my nails,” you say. Well, it does just about the same amount of damage as gel polish. 

Like gel polish, shellac polish needs UV curing. Remember that any product cured onto your nail can damage it in the removal process.

With the proper care and attention, your nails will be healthy, and you can enjoy this Creative Nail Design (CND) product.

Woman with ruined nails

Pros and Cons of Shellac

If it can damage the nails to some degree anyway, why get shellac at all? 

Shellac isn’t all that terrible. It has its advantages, too. Here are the reasons why this new formula is the popular pick in many salons across the nation:

  • Shellac is long-lasting and can keep your mind off your nails for up to two weeks. It is an excellent option for women who limit their salon trips.
  • It instantly dries because it uses UV light to cure. You won’t have to worry about smudging your new shellac nails.
  • You get shiny nails that remain chip-free and mirror-like for two weeks. The most you’d worry about next is unsightly nail growth instead of chipping.
  •  It is neither gel nor polish but a mix of the two, so it isn’t too thick or bulky on the nail.
  • It also gives you the shine of polish and the longevity of gel.
  • Proper and professional shellac removal can get you minimal nail damage.
  • Shellac can protect and strengthen weak nails.

No nail product is perfect. Now, let’s get to why some women don’t like shellac. Here are the drawbacks of shellac:

  • The specialized formula is still new to the market and time-consuming. Thus, the price of a shellac application is higher than a regular manicure.
  • You apply shellac like regular polish but dry it like gel. In short, you’ll need 45 minutes to an hour of manicure time for a shellac application.
  •  Inexperienced or DIY removal of shellac polish can cause severe nail damage.
  • You can’t have shellac nails without getting your natural nails roughed up before application. Without the textured surface, the solution won’t stick to the nail. In short, you’d have to damage the top layer of your nail intentionally.
  •  CND only offers 100 or fewer shellac color shades.

Difference between Shellac and Nail Polish

Longevity, shine, and finish are three factors that affect how women choose what they place on their nails. 

Let’s compare shellac’s longevity, shine, and finish to regular nail polish.

Like gel, shellac nails shine brighter than regular polish. CND’s product isn’t only shinier, but it also lasts longer. 

Nail polish will chip after a few days, but shellac nails can remain intact for two weeks.

Shellac also creates a smoother finish compared to nail polish. 

If you want a smooth nail with polish, you’d have to be extra careful during the application and while it’s drying.

Let’s add drying to the list now that we mentioned it. Shellac nails dry almost instantaneously. It’s all thanks to the UV light curing that occurs between each layer.

The UV curing between every layer is what lengthens the shellac application time. In comparison, regular polish takes 10-15 minutes to set and air dry. 

However, it isn’t fully dry until an hour after application. Until then, you run the risk of smudging the polish.

Finally, regular polish is cheaper and is easy to remove at home. All you’d need is a small amount of acetone and some cotton balls. 

To remove shellac nails safely and adequately, you’d have to go to a salon.

Difference between Shellac and Gel Polish

There aren’t as many differences between shellac and gel polish when you compare shellac and regular polish. Before we get to those differences, we want to clear something up.

A lot of people interchange shellac with gel polish. 

Shellac is the gel polish brand patented by Creative Nail Designs. To some degree, all shellac products are gel polish products, but not all gel products are shellac. 

It’s like referring to a vacuum cleaner as a Hoover.

A difference between gel polish and shellac is that the latter isn’t a pure gel product. As we mentioned above, it’s a hybrid between a polish and gel. 

You can even call a shellac polish a semi-permanent polish and gel polish a semi-permanent gel.

Gel and shellac applications can last several weeks on your nails. Because gel manicure doesn’t have other solutions mixed, it can last a little longer than shellac. 

A gel manicure can even last up to three weeks if cared for properly.

However, hot water can ruin your gel manicure. Shellac doesn’t have any specific weaknesses like hot water or chipping.

Because shellac is half-polish, you can remove it with acetone. The tricky part about shellac is that you’d have to dip it in acetone for up to ten minutes to remove the UV-hardened polish. 

Doing this can dry your cuticle and the skin around your nails. Other than that, shellac removal is kinder to your nails than gel polish.

Gel polish needs buffing, soaking, and then foiling. Plus, you’d have to put aside an hour in the day to have the gel polish removed by a professional.

Painting nails pink

Why Do My Nails Hurt After Removing Shellac?

You may hear or see people talking about how shellac removal ruined their nails. As we said, shellac isn’t wholly to blame for ruined or hurt nails. 

If you feel that your nails are more sensitive and weaker after shellac, the chances are that shellac isn’t the only cause.

It’s more likely that you tried picking off the shellac. 

Remember that shellac bonds to the natural nail. You’ll also pick off a layer of your natural nail if you pick it off. After enough picking, your natural nail will become weaker, thinner, and prone to breakage.

You also ruin your nail if you try to apply shellac on natural nails by yourself. 

Without the right tools and training, you can do more damage to your nails. Better yet, always go to a salon for a shellac application or removal.

Nail Care after Removing Shellac

Shellac and gel polish don’t affect your nails as much. A lot of damage occurs during the removal stage. 

Here are steps on how to strengthen nails after shellac.

Ideally, you should let the nails rest for an entire week between every four consecutive shellac or gel manicures. 

Let the nails rest longer or use a nail treatment if you have intensive nail damage.

You may also have a dehydrated natural nail. Never overlook dry nails. Apply cuticle oil then hand moisturizer to improve your hands’ skin health. 

The hand cream seals the cuticle oil into the skin and keeps the moisture from escaping.

Keep your nails trimmed short. It’s wiser to start anew with short nails. Also, long nails have a higher risk of breaking with everyday activities. 

They can also chip and snag on things.