What's the Story with Shellac

So what is the story? You've heard of Band-Aid or Kraft Dinner? You catch your self calling an absorbent disposable facial tissue a Kleenex? These are all brands. Kraft Dinner is a brand of macaroni and cheese and Band-Aid is a brand of self adhesive strips. Shellac is a common word used to describe a service at a nail salon when it too, is in fact a brand. It's a brand of gel polish.

There are many brands out there too. OPI makes GelColour, CND makes Shellac, Orly makes GelFX, there is Artistic Colour Gloss, Gelish and many more. They are all cured under an LED or UV light, applied thinly like a regular nail polish and typically remove just as easily by soaking. Because gel polishes are applied so thinly over the natural nail, they don't require the aggressiveness of the drill. A simple scuff of the shiny surface and a soak and they should peel right off leaving your natural nail intact.

So what exactly are you getting on your fingertips when you visit the Nail Salon This seems to be happening more and more frequently both on fingernails and toenails. Customers visit our Spa looking to have their 'gel polish' removed but these mystery products that the customer was told was a gel polish or Shellac is in fact a hard gel. A hard gel is used to sculpt a nail extension. The only way to remove this product is by filing not by soaking and most times we don't know what the product is until we start our service. The customer is being mislead once again by being told it's one product and not another.

A typical gel polish will only last 1 -3 weeks, is applied thinly over the natural nail and cannot be filled and it also doesn't require a drill to remove it. A hard gel is applied more thickly over the natural nail, cured, then requires filing to be removed or a fill if the customer chooses to keep wearing them. We either have to impose an additional charge because of the extra time it takes to remove the product or send the customer away to have it removed at the place that put it on.

Our services include natural nail Manicures and Gel Polish Applications so we understand it's inconvenient to send them away but we also lose that service and potentially that customer. Gel polish is a beautiful longer wearing alternative to a regular nail polish but it wears after a period of time and needs to be replaced.

Let's touch on nail enhancements for a minute. Are you mystified by the number of gel nail, acrylic nail choices out there? Well, don't be, it's simple really, there is acrylic and there is gel.

1. Solar Nails was an acrylic brand made by a company called CND (the same makers of the Shellac Gel Polish Brand) in the 90's. It's just acrylic.

2. Powder Gel? Here's another beauty. It's just gel and acrylic mixed together. 3. Crystal Nails - a clear tip with clear acrylic placed over top 4. Porcelain Nails - gel or acrylic 5. Diamond Nails - you guessed it...acrylic

They do sound awesome but it's misleading and also a reason to be charged more for your enhancements.

Ask to see labeled bottles with ingredients or talk to your Technician and ask them to explain the difference between their products and if they can't, find another salon.

Just a word of caution, although banned, there are still nails salons that use a products called MMA or Methyl Methacrylate. This product is about 1/3 the cost of traditional monomer and is in fact quite harmful for your health, to inhale or even have on your fingers. It is very strong and when it breaks, will typically take your nail with it. Enhancements are designed to break away from the natural nail so you can simply have them repaired.

Your Nail Salon or Spa should always be forthcoming with the products that they use that may touch your skin or potentially harm your nail plate. Some will cut corners by using inferior products by placing them in Brand bottles so the customer believes this is the product they are being treated with. Ask questions and if you don't get an appropriate answer, then find another place to go.

- Blog from the Pink Desk

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