Posted by: Chelsea Novak | September 20, 2011


I feel like I’ve been holding out on you all. I’ve being engaging in a beauty ritual for close to a year now and have not blogged about it. It’s scandalous.

So here’s my confession. After a lifetime of truly, truly awful nails (fan shaped, brittle, terrible cuticles), my nails are now long, strong and awesome. How have I achieved this magic? First, I stopped trying to do them myself. Sometimes you just have to acknowledge that you’re not good at something and leave it to the professionals. I suck at nails. So I get regular manicures now.

I also have to get my nails done by pros because I’ve been using Shellac since last November. I’m sure you’ve all heard about it by now. It’s like a gel, except that it can be easily removed and doesn’t do damage to your nails while it’s on. They say it can last up to 14 days. I can usually make it about 10, 12 at the most.

There are a couple of things that I adore about it:

1) It’s strong. It doesn’t chip. It doesn’t peel. I can go about my daily life and not worry about ruining my nails. I used to destroy a manicure or pedicure within 24 hours of having my nails done. My eggshell nails really weren’t good for keeping polish on, so I really gave up. I used clippers to keep them as short and inoffensive as I could. Now that I’m living in the house of Shellac, my nails are great. In fact, I’m so used to having it on, that my nails feel thin and weak without it (they are in fact, absurdly strong now, but I guess it’s all perception).

2) It’s fast. Shellac is cured onto your nails using a UV light. This means that once it’s dry, it’s completely dry. No waiting, no sitting around. You can get up and go. I have a ritual of hitting my nails against the table at the spa as soon as my nails are done because I love that I can. I’m not a person with a huge amount of spare time to waste watching nail paint dry, so the time savings is key.

3) You can layer colours on top of each other to create custom combinations. My esthetitian works with both Shellac and Gelish. The Shellac stuff is great and lasts, but Gelish has crazy colours (and sparkles). We do a lot of experimenting (and often use a lot of sparkles). Because there are several coats, things like sparkles end up looking like they’re suspended in the gel. It’s a lot of fun. I can honestly say that my nails were like the bedroom of a 12-year-old girl for a few weeks. All purple and sparkles.

Did I mention the sparkles?

4) Did I mention that it last 10-14 days? Before Shellac existed, I couldn’t justify throwing down cash for a manicure that was going to chip and peel off in a day. However, paying ~$10 more and having a manicure last almost two weeks, that seems like a better investment.

For example, to the left here, that’s my hand (yes those are actually my nails, mother would be so proud). I got that manicure on Thursday, September 8. It’s the 20th today. That’s 12 days. (Yes, I know I have strange hands. Hand model I ain’t.)

I also get Shellac on my toes. The experience is pretty phenomenal. I was going to post a photo of my feet. My horrible, gigantic, abused and deformed feet, but I am just too vain to do it. The polish is beautiful (teal, in fact), but my feet are so mangled, it’s just not okay. I got my current polish applied on August 28th. I’m pretty sure I can get another 3 weeks out of it too. Just to give you context, I’ve worn mostly flip flops, done about 6 dance classes, barefoot pilates and gone for a few sockless runs. I’m very hard on my feet and shellac has yet to chip on me. (Feet are so gross. I am sorry, I just couldn’t subject you all to mine.)

Honestly, it’s revolutionary and it’s changed my nails. I have nice nails now and boy howdy do I like it. Check out the before and after section of the CND site. They’re not joking. This stuff is that good.  For those of you who are wondering how it comes off, when you go back to your salon, they soak your nails in acetone for 5-10 mins and then gently scrape off whatever polish hasn’t come off. Peeling it off can be tempting (which I have done), but it’s pretty bad for your nails. Again, something best left to the pros.



  1. Ahhh I want to try this! 🙂

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