In this two-part blog series, our aestheticians give their expert advice on all things shellac. Today, they share their best tips on how to keep your shellac manicure looking flawless for weeks!

How long is a shellac manicure supposed to last? Why might it not last as long as it’s supposed to?

Aga: in theory, every client should get two weeks out of their shellac mani without chipping. In 90% of cases this is true. Since we still must perform our everyday routines, there’s always a chance you might hit your hand against something or catch your nail on a rough surface. This is especially true if you lead a particularly hectic or active lifestyle.

Kaitlin: As Aga said, you should never experience lifting, peeling, bubbling or discolouration within the first two weeks of getting your shellac manicure. Make sure you don't come into contact with any harsh chemical products while you have shellac on (think bleach, industrial cleaners, pool chemicals, etc.). These chemicals will cause the shellac to peel and lift right off the natural nail bed, and may cause the nail itself to soften to the point of breakage.

Besides avoiding harsh chemicals, what else can be done to prevent lifting or chipping within the first two weeks of a shellac manicure?

Katie: Something as simple as being more aware of your actions, whether it’s sports, exercise, cleaning, manual labour, or something else involving physical activity can help reduce your chances of experiencing any of these mishaps. Being more gentle with your hand movements can go a long way in preventing any chipping or lifting! And remember to wear gloves when washing dishes, working with bleach, or other household cleaning products.

What should clients do if they do notice chipping within the two week period?

Alex: The best thing you can do to prevent any chipping around the free edge of the nail is to keep a file or buffer handy at all times. If the free edge (tip area) catches on something and it creates a snag or a rough spot, smoothing it down with a file will prevent any further catching. This in turn will minimize the potential for chipping or lifting. After every shellac service, we send you home with your very own file and buffer, so you don’t have to worry about buying your own!

Ali: You can also add a couple of coats of high quality, regular clear polish to create a layer of protection over the chipped area. This also helps maintain shine and adds a barrier between the shellac and the environment.

Any additional tips you’d like to share?

Kaitlin: It’s best to have shellac applied when your natural nail is strong and healthy. This prevents the natural nail from bending too much, making it more likely for the shellac applied overtop to also bend and possibly separate from the nail. So make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamins and minerals from your diet!

Alex: We’ve also had a lot of clients say that hair and nail supplements have helped strengthen their natural nail.

Aga: Also remember that during winter months, there’s a lot of temperature change between the cold whether outside and heated indoor environments. The cold causes the gel molecules in shellac to contract, so wearing gloves when you go outside is very important in keeping the shellac nice and flexible.

Ali: On that note, I always tell my clients to keep your hands and cuticles properly moisturized during the winter, especially after every time you wash your hands. This prevents the nail underneath from becoming too dry—if the nail is too dry, it is more brittle and susceptible to breakage.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for the second part in this series, where we'll go over the dos and don’ts of shellac application and removal.