Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Shellac: An Update

You may have read my post a few weeks ago about Shellac, the gel nail polish that lasts for weeks. I had my fingers and toes Shellac to perfection and was thrilled with the results. My nails were glossy and perfect for weeks, and I thought it was such a brilliant beauty treatment. However, I have just had the last remnants removed from my toes (my nails were done a week or two ago), and felt compelled to write, as I was pretty shocked at the condition it left my nails in.

I have a lots of flaws, I mean loads and loads (hence my dependence on all things beauty). My hair is thin and frizzy, my skin breaks out all the time and I just have to think about a biscuit and I’ll put on a pound, but my nails have always been pretty ok. They grow fast and rarely break, and I’ve always been happy with them (one less thing to add to my ever growing list of things to change once this baby is born….botox, boob job, tummy tuck, you name it I want it!). But, when the Shellac was taken off (with pretty aggressive acetone) my nails were left white, flakey, peeling and looking disgusting. I have never seen anything like it, especially on my toes. Literally, layers of my nails were peeling off and one toe nail now looks close to breaking in half as they have got so thin and weak.

The entire time I had Shellac on, I rubbed in Solar oil (the recommended oil they sell you when you get it done), used hand cream religiously, and ate a normal, balanced diet. So I cannot believe that anything other than the Shellac has made my nails like this. They have started to bounce back, but only after investing some serious time into them (read on for my lifesaving beauty tip). I went to have a chat at a nail salon in Fulham, who offer gel polish, but not Shellac, who told me that they found it so damaging they decided not to use it, and found an alternative that nourishes the nails much more.

So, proceed with caution. I think for a holiday or a wedding, a gel polish is amazing for its durability and glossy finish, and I can’t say I would never try one again. But, just be warned that it is not great for your poor nails.

But if you do choose to indulge, and find your nails a bit nasty afterwards, try buffing them. I am not talking about those awful file things, that rub your nails away, but old fashioned buffers, made of chamois leather, than you rub over your nails (in the same direction to reduce too much friction and overheating), with a cream polish if you want some shine. They boost blood flow to the nail bed, encouraging growth and health, and help to smooth out the flakes and bumps without scraping your nails. I have been a buffer since I was really young, and think it has definitely helped my nails stay strong and healthy despite the onslaught of chemicals I throw at them.

Leather Nail Buffer, from £3.90. Available from Amazon, Sally's and other beauty supply shops.


  1. oh no
    and i have an appointment to have Shellac done on thursday.
    do you know if all the makes that harsh on the nails?
    by the way i love your blog

    1. Don't panic, just ask your manicurist what is the best option for your nails. Mine are getting back on track, so it's not like they have fallen off, just are a bit ugly! I'm not sure what other brands are good, will do some research though. Just make sure you oil them as much as you can and you'll be fine! x


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