If you’re a regular viewer of my YouTube channel, or you read my previous blog post on my favorite Zoya nail polishes, then you know I have a thing for doing my nails. I love changing my nail polish to suit my mood, my outfit, or to show my team spirit. I’m also pretty rough on my nails/hands-I wash a lot of dishes, wipe down a lot of counters, and I’m a bit of a klutz. This means that you can find me painting my nails at least one or two times a week, if not more. While I enjoy the “me time”, I found that no matter what I did, my nails wouldn’t grow past a certain point, and that they still broke quite frequently, not to mention that they would chip more often than I’d like because I am always banging my hands into something.
Early last year I decided to give the gel nail, or “shellac’ nails, a try. I used to have acrylic nails for years, but I didn’t like the time commitment involved (you HAVE to go every two weeks, and it’s impossible to do them at home), the cost, how thick it looked on my nails or the fact that it totally destroys your natural nail. Getting shellac on your nails is a time commitment and there is a cost involved, but it looks so much more natural and is quite a bit less damaging to your nails. After going to the salon a few times to have it done, I realized that it isn’t difficult to do at home, and after the initial expense of the light box and the basic products, it’s not that expensive.
I’m not going to do a visual step by step process on how to do it, although I do discuss the steps in the video above. Basically, if you know how to polish your own nails, then you can do shellac on your own. It does take some practice to get down the technique, especially how close to get it to the edge of your nails and how thin to make the layers, but after a few times, it really doesn’t take much time at all.
The main reasons that I have chosen to continue to shellac my nails are these: I love how “strong” it makes my nails (at least while the shellac is on) and it allows whatever regular polish I put on top to stay put perfectly until I decide to take it off. I use the shellac as more of an industrial strength base coat than for color. I have an almost clear shellac polish, which I use as a base coat under my regular nail polish. When I’m ready to change out the color, I just use a non-acetone based nail polish remover, and it doesn’t affect the shellac underneath. I can usually go at least two weeks before I need to do the shellac, sometimes even longer.
I will say that the one area that needs improvement is the UV light box. I don’t like the continual exposure to UV lights, even for that short amount of time. All told, it’s about 10 minutes of exposure every 2-3 weeks, but that’s more than I want. I do slather on sunscreen on my hands before I start my little manicure process, but I also hate just sitting still under the lamp. There is an alternative-the LED light box. Aside from it being safer to use than the UV lights, it’s also tremendously faster. Nails dry in 20 seconds instead of 2 minutes! Up until recently the cost was prohibitive, but prices have come down and I think that a new purchase is in my future.
I was able to buy everything I need to do my at home manicures at Sally’s, but I have found there are also a lot of options online, especially on Amazon. I’d love to hear from you as to where you get your supplies, and any tips you’d like to share on doing your nails at home!
ASP UV Light http://bit.ly/1hrokCQ *
ASP Mini LED Curing Lamp http://rstyle.me/n/ekgcxrs56 *
Gelish Basix Kit http://bit.ly/K3bmQb *
Gelish Soak Off Gel Nail Polish http://bit.ly/1a7yIA7 *
Beauty Secrets Pure Acetone http://bit.ly/1iW1Nid *
Blue Cross Cuticle Remover http://bit.ly/1iW2jwt *
Zoya Remove Plus Polish Remover: www.zoya.com
Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat http://bit.ly/1aGHjrK *
Hands Down Soak-Off Gel Nail Wraps http://bit.ly/1dQXsIr *
Gelish Wrap It Off Foil Wrap Removal System http://bit.ly/1iW3pIz * (similar to CVS wraps)