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No woman wants to run around with ragged, chipped nails, but who has time to waste at the salon? Painting your own nails at home saves time, but may result in less-than-stellar nails. What’s a girl to do? Try a shellac manicure, of course. This revolutionary technique coats your nails in a layer of durable gel that resists chipping and peeling for days longer than normal polish. Shellac kits are a little more costly, but will save you hours of time and plenty of frustration.
What is a Shellac Manicure?
Shellac nail polishes may look like normal polish, but they’re an entirely different animal. These long-lasting polishes are made with a flexible gel compound that coats the entire nail as it hardens, sealing edges and cracks to resist peeling, chipping and fading. Shellac manicures are applied in stages, with a base coat, color coat and top coat added individually and baked under a UV light between coats for a perfect seal.
Prepare the Nails
Perfectly clean, shaped nails are essential to a smooth shellac manicure. Trim each fingernail and file the edge smooth. Shape the nail with the file, using short strokes in a single direction to prevent excess strain on the nail. Think about your daily activities while trimming; working girls may want shorter nails, while girls with a little extra time on their hands may want longer talons. File off ridges and bumps on the nail surface, and wash off residual dust with hand soap and warm water. Moisturize your nail after washing with a drop or two of lotion or cuticle oil.
Shake the base coat bottle gently, unscrew the lid to reveal the applicator, and coat each fingernail with a layer of this clear coating. Stick your fingers under the UV curing light for five minutes, then add a layer of your favorite color. Shake the bottle gently to mix the polish and drag the brush against the side of the bottle to keep a huge glob of polish from falling on your nail. Paint in a single stroke from cuticle to the edge of your nail to prevent streaks and ugly brush marks. Cure the colored layer for five minutes under the UV light, add a top coat, then bake your nails under the light for another five minutes for perfectly shellacked nails.
Caring for your nails after a shellac manicure prevents premature chipping and flaking. Slip a pair of rubber gloves over your claws before doing dishes or scrubbing counters, and don’t use your nails as tools. If your table has a loose screw, tighten it with a screwdriver instead of your nails. Patch chipped spots as soon as possible with a tiny dot of paint and replace the polish every two weeks for sleek, sexy nails.