Just like most women I love having manicured nails all the time. Shellac manicures are the best thing since sliced bread! Right???
However, I had wondered as to what’s the long term effect of having my “nailbeds” permanently covered by shellac ? Can’t be good, I thought..
There’s also the removal factor…having my nails soaked in acetone for ten minutes every few weeks has to have some side effects????
So here are my findings:
Shellac is not for everyone. Your natural nails and nail beds must be healthy. If they’re splitting, peeling or damaged from using acrylic or gel enhancements, experts say you should wait and talk to a licensed, trained nail care professional.
Application: just thin coats of shellac polish on your natural nail, with a brief time for curing under a UV lamp between every coat.
As for concerns about UV exposure, the company insists its UV lamps are low- watt UV bulbs that filter out most of the damaging rays, and have been scientifically tested to be safer than the exposure your hands get from driving in the sun without gloves.
When the top coat is done, you get a quick shine with a soft cloth and alcohol .
About removal. The process requires a special wrapping process at the salon using strong acetone. The wrapping isolates the chemical to the nail color and creates body head to help the polish come off easily.
I usually get acetone-soaked cotton placed on my nails wrapped in aluminum foil. Apparently this is not the proper way of removal.
In small amounts, acetone is relatively innocuous, and is in fact a product of normal metabolism.
Apparently any problems with chipping, peeling, or nail damage is caused by someone who is not licensed, properly trained and/or not following the manufacture’s recommendations.
What is Typical Nail Polish?
At is core, nail polish is nitrocellulose dissolved in a solvent. Nitrocellulose is known for giving a nice, shiny, hard film once the solvent evaporates.
Plasticizers and other resins are an important component in basic nail polish. Without plasticizers, the nitrocellulose film would be very brittle and would chip and break very easily… well, more easily than it already does. Camphor, stearate esters, other fatty acids, and castor oil are common plasticizers and resins added to nail polish. These allow the polish to both adhere firmly to the nail and allow the polish to have some give to it so it doesn’t chip too easily.
If nothing else is added, you have a nice, clear, colorless nail polish. If you want a colored nail polish, pigments need to be added. Other effects can be made by adding other additives. Micas (ground-up shiny minerals commonly used in cosmetics) or pearl essence (ground-up fish scales) or gold or silver flakes can add nice looking effects to nail polish.
Shellac nail polish must have some differences from regular nail polish. Just on observation, it’s thicker than regular nail polish and somehow it doesn’t chip or break nearly as easily. Plus, you “cure” it under UV light and it dries immediately. Shellac nail polish is similar to acrylic nail polish in that they are acrylate polymers. Shellac nail polish is a type of methacrylate polymer.
Keeping the layer thin makes for more efficient curing. Several thin layers lead a better effect.
To remove, since it’s a more durable polish, you need a stronger nail polish remover. The watered down acetone sold in stores won’t cut it. You really need essentially pure acetone. This will soften the polymer enough to allow it to be removed.
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