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 purple…red. 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 bit.ly (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!