Shellac Manicure: An Honest Opinion

Shellac Manicure: An Honest Opinion

Months ago I talked on the social sphere (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc) about getting a couple of OPI Axxium soak-off gel manicures. After reviewing the pros & cons of Axxium versus Shellac (by CND), I had chosen Axxium because I thought it lasted longer, was thicker & thus better for my nails, and came in more colors.

Boy, oh boy, was I wrong. About three weeks ago I decided to visit a chic new day spa & nail salon that opened up on Kirby Drive here in Houston. I was enticed by the gorgeous interior, the no-fume policy, and the fact that it is full-service. I noticed they did Shellac, so I thought, "Why not?"

Three weeks later, I'm a complete Shellac convert. Not only does Shellac come in more more fun (IMO) colors than Axxium, it's thinner*, cheaper (at least in my area), faster, shinier, and lasts longer. *Why would I want it to be thinner, you ask? Well, it turns out that the thicker your Axxium manicure is, the less stable it is - something I learned firsthand when the hardened gel would start to separate from my nail after about a week or so.

I will tell you the only reasons why you should not get a Shellac (or any long wearing manicure, for that matter, including Axxium):

  • if you are impatient or otherwise indecisive about nail color & change it more than once a week
  • if you have problem nails such as fungus, pitting, spooning (not the romantic kind), or other nail conditions
  • if you actually like the look of chipped nails (um, heroin-chic? hate that word.)
  • if you're on a budget (but I will say that I spend more on bottles of barely-used nail polish than I did on this $35 manicure)

I decided to document my first Shellac manicure's progress, so I was sure to take a photo on the day that I went for a another manicure to show you the difference. The above first photo was how it looked right when I got back in the car from the salon. And below, after nearly 3 weeks of continuous, hard-on-my-nails, wear:

Okay, so the cuticles are a little yucky. Hey, mine have been a lot worse in the past--just trust me on that one.

The main thing you'll notice is how shiny they still are, with no chips--and the only thing that makes you come back into the salon is the unsightly nail growth. I chose a classic red (Wildfire) first because red polish always, without fail chips on me in less than 24 hours. Always. Not black, not I felt like this broke the curse!

Then I happily went for my favorite shade: a pale beigey pink (Romantique) - similar Axxium or OPI color would be Bubble Bath.

Have you ever tried a long-wear manicure like Shellac or Axxium? Love to hear your thoughts (and favorite Shellac colors)! Oh, and test out the tweet button -- I think you'll like the link shortener I'm now using instead of (which, let's be honest, is such a dull domain!). ;) Use the tweet button (it should but right ^^ up there somewhere on your screen) to see what I mean!

I updated my thoughts on Shellac one year later, click here to read.

P.S. - this is not a sponsored review and is just an honest opinion. I am not affiliated in any way with the brands or products mentioned in this post. I just write what I want!