Your shellac nails should remain shiny and chip-free for 14-to-21 days, if you take care of them responsibly. Don’t worry about your day to day activities: taking out keys, working on the computer and (light) cooking are no match for the combination of traditional nail polish and gel polish that is shellac. When your days fill up with chores and outdoor fun, remember these three rules of shellac-maintenance.
If you’re going to be washing dishes, scrubbing floors or gardening, you should reach for a pair of gloves to protect your nails and your delicate skin. Wearing gloves is especially important if you’ll be using any harsh detergents or chemicals such as bleach, which can cause the shellac to lift or chip at the edge of your nails.
Protecting your hands is just as important when you’re having fun as when you’re working. Swimming in chlorinated pools and spending extra time outside in the sun can fade the colour and weaken the shellac. Remember to wash and dry your hands carefully after you’ve been in the pool and apply hand cream plus an SPF product to protect skin and nails.
Keeping your skin moisturised will extend the life of your shellac nails and keep your hands looking healthy and youthful. Use hand cream during the day (reapply as often as needed) and a richer cuticle oil at night before bed. The oil will treat your fingers overnight and keep nails from flaking for lack of moisture.
Add a layer of clear top coat polish to your manicure once a week. This will maintain a strong layer of protection between your shellac and the environment. If you’re following the previous two rules – protect and moisturise – adding a clear top coat every 7 days will be all you need to keep the polish glossy.
After 14-to-18 days (depending on how fast your nails grow) you’ll start to notice a bare nail area around your cuticles as your natural nails grow longer. At that point you should make an appointment to visit a professional nail salon or remove the shellac yourself at home using the proper tools.
Do not pick at the polish or attempt to soak nails in acetone remover; this will weaken your nails and decrease the amount of time your next shellac manicure will last. Keep in mind that although your shellac manicure can be maintained for up to 21 days, your nails will look better, stay healthier, and the shellac can be removed easier when you change the polish at the first sign of new nail growth.