About two weeks ago, I was invited to try the CND Shellac at Nail Garden in Studio City, CA. I had been to the Nail Garden in Burbank before and had a great experience. I had heard of the new gel polish, but not shellac, so I was curious. I contacted CND first and found out that the products are indeed cruelty-free. The claim was that the shellac would last for at least 14 days!
Nail Garden was quite busy on the weeknight that I visited, but I had an appointment so there was no wait time. The salon is decorated with faux ivy and other plants. I sat at a table, but the spa chairs looked really nice. The lovely Tran did my nails. I was told she was one of the best, and she did not disappoint. Not only did she do an amazing job, she was also very sweet and funny. She treated me like a person – not just one of her many customers, which I appreciated.
I picked a bright, coral color for my nails. Tran shaped and filed my nails and then put on a UV base coat (unique to CND). She applied the shellac polish and then sealed with a UV top coat. Then, I kept my hands under a UV light for a few minutes, and voila – perfect nails that you can’t scratch! You can dig in your purse, drive home – all that stuff without worrying about messing up the polish. I was still careful (force of habit), but I didn’t really need to be.
After a week, I noticed that the polish looked EXACTLY like new! Still shiny and bright with no scratches or peeling. The only difference was that my cuticles looked a little worse for wear and there was some new fingernail growth, so the color was pushed down a bit. And, let me tell you – I had not gone easy on my hands that week! The Saturday before was the Beauty Rebellion Project launch, which meant I was tearing open boxes, hauling stuff and doing a million other things that could damage a manicure. But, my nails still looked fantastic! I showed off my nails to the girls at work, and they kept asking, “Is that the same polish?” Yup! It only started to peel a little bit on one nail after the 14 day mark. I probably could have left it on longer, but the CND website recommends removal after 2 weeks.
The only drawback with the shellac is the price (costs an extra $15 at Nail Garden) and the fact that you need to go back to the salon to have it removed. I tried removing it myself by soaking my nails in nail polish and then pushing back with a cuticle stick. Bad idea. I tore up the nail bed a little. I decided to leave the removal to the experts. Nail Garden uses pure acetone to remove the shellac. Really not a good thing to do to your nails on a regular basis (I believe it’s the same way you would remove acrylic nails), so I wouldn’t do this all the time.
So, all in all, I think shellac is pretty amazing. I would personally save it for special occasions or vacations/business trips when you know you won’t be able to get to a nail salon for a couple of weeks. Not all salons carry CND Shellac, but luckily Nail Garden has salons in Burbank (818-566-4319), Studio City (818-506-4868) and Sherman Oaks (818-783-2745).