I think I remember maybe five times in my life where my mom didn’t have her nails painted. I have memories of her painting them on her bathroom window sill before church every Sunday. She has the most amazing, strong and thick nails. Me? Not so much. My sister has amazing nails too but hey, I didn’t get that fabulous gene! My nails are thinner and don’t have that perfect natural shape that my mom and sister have. Like most people, regular nail polish does not stay on my nails longer than 3-4 days. I love having painted nails though. It makes me feel girly. I have tried everything from expensive base coats and top coats and even experimented with different brands that claimed to last longer. Nothing worked for me. I am rough on my nails too, which makes it that much harder.
Then a few years ago when Shellac/gel came out, my sister told me that she just bought her own lamp and colors and was doing it herself. What?! I always knew she was a genius! Shortly after that, I spent a few nights researching how to do it myself and happily hopped on Amazon and got everything I needed to get started. Ummmmmm best money I’ve ever spent! I may be exaggerating a little…but only a little. It’s seriously so easy and works! Here’s the low down on Shellac in case you haven’t heard.
- It can last up to 14+ days even being hard on your nails and hands.
- It stays super shiny the entire time.
- It dries hard, instantly. No dry time.
- You need a special dryer/UV light to cure the shellac.
- The nail polishes are substantially more expensive.
- Harder to take off if than traditional polish.
- Although there are many colors, not as many as regular polish.
To me, the pros far outweigh the cons. As far as taking it off, at about day 14 for me, they start to come up from my nail and I just gently peel them off and they comes off easily without damaging my nail at all. You can also soak them with acetone and scrape it off but I’ve never needed to do this.
If you were to walk into a salon and get a Shellac mani/pedi it would run about $70…each time! I did this a couple times before investing in my own supplies to do it myself. It not only saves me a lot of money, but it also gives me the flexibility to do my nails whenever it is convenient for me. Sometimes that’s at 9pm when I’m relaxing in bed and sometimes it’s 2pm when Da Fuss is watching his daily Paw Patrol. I don’t have to schedule it and drive to the salon. Now I will say that it is nice to be pampered every now and then and have someone else take care of you but, most of the time I like to do it myself. It’s also lots of fun to have all the supplies and host a girls nail night! It saves time, money and it works so incredibly well.
So if you feel like being Shellac smart and starting it up yourself, this is what you’ll need to buy to get started.
- A UV Lamp/Light Dryer for $39.99. There are many options but this one is a proven winner for me. It’s top rated and I’ve loved it from the first time I’ve used it. I’ve used this for about 3.5 years and it’s still going strong with the same bulb. It has a built in timer on the back pre-set for 2 or 3 minutes, which is really convenient!
2. CND Shellac Top & Base Coat for ~$30.00. In the photo below, the top and base coat are the two middle silver and gold ones. The others are colors that I use frequently. You will need the top and base coat for any color you choose to use. They are sold in a kit and so far, I’m still on my first set from 3 years ago.
3. CND Shellac Nail Polish These run about $15 dollars a piece. Don’t be tempted to get knock off brands.
3. Alcohol. You can pick this most anywhere now for cheap but be sure to get the highest percentage you can find. You’ll also need cotton balls or rounds.
Before you get started it’s extremely important you do three things:
- Shape and cut your nails how you want.
- Clean your nails really well with alcohol***very important***
- Push your cuticles down there so there isn’t any skin on your nails at all.
Now you’re ready!