How To Make Your Shellac Manicure Last Longer

If you're someone who lives for manicured nails, shellac is a serious beauty game-changer. If you haven't heard of this revolutionary nail polish before, consider yourself lucky because we're about to spill the tea on exactly what shellac is, and more importantly, how you can make your shellac manicure last longer.

Commonly referred to as CND Shellac, shellac is a semi-permanent nail gel system, ideal for anyone who likes to keep their nails low maintenance. CND Co-Founder and Style Director Jan Arnold told SELF magazine, "The Shellac formula was created so that when acetone-based removers are applied, the coating actually breaks into tiny pieces and releases from the nail, allowing for an effortless removal," she explains. "When correctly applied and cured, tiny microscopic tunnels form throughout the coating and when it's time to remove, the acetone penetrates through these tiny tunnels, all the way to the base layer and then releases from the nail. This means no scraping and forcing the coating from the nails like other gel polishes, preserving the health and integrity of the nail underneath."

Here's how to maintain your shellac manicure

Shellac manicures generally last for two weeks before chipping or peeling. According to Evelyn Lim, chief educator of New York-based nail salon Paintbox, there are two things you can do to make your shellac last longer. Talking to Cosmopolitan, Lim's first tip is to keep nails as dry as possible. "When your nails get wet, they expand, and when they dry back up, they contract," says Lim. "When you have that back-and-forth change, it can cause chips in your nails." However, if your nail does chip the key is to prevent further chipping is to file it down so it stays smooth. 

Lim's second tip is to keep nails and cuticles hydrated with a nail oil at least once a day. "In addition to hydrating the cuticle itself, a good oil will strengthen and condition your nails, which can prevent them from chipping, breaking, or becoming brittle," she says.

However, it is worth noting that many nail experts recommend against trying to make your shellac last longer than two weeks. "When you have gel on your nails, the polish continues to cure in direct sunlight or in any exposure to UV — which is all around us," says Lim. "The longer you keep your polish on, the longer it cures, which makes it much harder to remove."