What Are the Pros and Cons of Shellac Nails? A Comprehensive Guide

Shellac nails have been a popular trend in the beauty industry for several years now. It is a type of manicure that uses a combination of gel and traditional nail polish to create a long-lasting, high-gloss finish. While there are many benefits to getting a shellac manicure, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider.

One of the main advantages of shellac nails is their durability. Unlike traditional nail polish, which can chip and peel after just a few days, shellac can last for up to two weeks without any signs of wear and tear. This makes it an ideal choice for anyone who wants to maintain a flawless manicure for an extended period of time. Additionally, shellac nails dry quickly, so there is no need to worry about smudging or ruining your nails before they fully set.

On the other hand, there are some potential downsides to getting a shellac manicure. One of the most significant drawbacks is that it can be challenging to remove the polish once it starts to chip or peel. While it is possible to remove shellac at home, it can take a significant amount of time and effort, and it may damage your nails if not done correctly. Additionally, some people may experience allergic reactions to the chemicals used in shellac polish, so it is essential to do a patch test before getting a full manicure.

What are Shellac Nails

Shellac nails are a type of manicure that uses a hybrid nail polish that combines the best features of gel and regular nail polish. This type of nail polish is made from a blend of gel and traditional nail polish, which is then cured under a UV lamp. The result is a long-lasting, durable, and shiny finish that can last for up to two weeks without chipping or fading.

The application process for shellac nails is similar to regular nail polish, but the curing process requires a UV lamp. The nails are first cleaned and prepped, and then a base coat of shellac is applied. The nails are then cured under a UV lamp for 30 seconds. After that, two coats of shellac color are applied, with each coat being cured under the UV lamp for 30 seconds. Finally, a top coat of shellac is applied and cured under the UV lamp for 60 seconds.

Shellac nails have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their long-lasting and durable nature. They are also easy to remove, as they can be soaked off with acetone in just a few minutes. However, it is important to note that shellac nails can be damaging to the natural nail if not applied or removed properly, so it is important to seek out a trained and experienced nail technician.

The Pros of Shellac Nails

Long-Lasting Shine

One of the most significant advantages of shellac nails is their long-lasting shine. Unlike traditional nail polish, shellac nail polish is cured under a UV lamp, which gives it a high-gloss finish that can last up to two weeks. This extended shine time makes shellac nails a popular choice for special events and vacations.

Quick Drying Time

Another benefit of shellac nails is that they dry quickly. The UV lamp used to cure the polish also helps to speed up the drying process, which can be a significant time-saver for people who are always on the go. With shellac nails, you can say goodbye to smudges and smears caused by waiting for nail polish to dry.

Less Damaging to Natural Nails

Shellac nails are also less damaging to natural nails than other types of artificial nails. Unlike acrylic nails, which can cause damage to the nail bed, shellac nails are gentle and do not require filing or buffing of the natural nail. This makes them a safer option for people who want to keep their natural nails healthy while still enjoying the benefits of a long-lasting manicure.

In summary, shellac nails offer a long-lasting shine, quick drying time, and are less damaging to natural nails. These benefits make them a popular choice for people who want a low-maintenance, high-gloss manicure that lasts for weeks.

The Cons of Shellac Nails

UV Light Exposure

One of the biggest cons of shellac nails is the exposure to UV light during the curing process. While the exposure is minimal, it can still cause damage to the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. It is important to wear protective gloves and apply sunscreen to the hands to minimize the risk of UV damage.

Limited Nail Health

Shellac nails can also have a negative impact on the health of your natural nails. The removal process can be harsh and damaging, causing the nails to become weak and brittle. Additionally, the constant use of shellac can prevent the nails from breathing and receiving the necessary nutrients, leading to long-term damage.

Removal Process

The removal process of shellac nails can be time-consuming and damaging to the natural nails. The process involves soaking the nails in acetone, which can cause dryness and peeling of the skin around the nails. Additionally, if the removal process is not done correctly, it can cause the natural nails to become thin and brittle.

In summary, while shellac nails can provide a long-lasting and shiny finish, there are several cons to consider. The exposure to UV light, the limited nail health, and the removal process can all have negative impacts on the overall health of your nails. It is important to weigh these factors before deciding to get shellac nails and to take proper precautions to minimize any potential damage.

Maintenance of Shellac Nails

Maintaining your shellac nails is crucial to ensure they last as long as possible. Here are some tips for proper maintenance:

  • Avoid using your nails as tools as this can cause chipping and lifting of the shellac.
  • Wear gloves while doing household chores or any activity that may expose your nails to water or chemicals.
  • Apply cuticle oil daily to keep your nails and cuticles hydrated.
  • Do not pick or peel off the shellac as this can cause damage to your natural nails.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your nail technician to have your nails professionally maintained and touched up as needed.

If you notice any lifting or chipping of the shellac, it’s important to have it repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your natural nails. With proper maintenance, shellac nails can last up to two weeks without chipping or peeling.

In summary, proper maintenance of your shellac nails is essential to ensure they last as long as possible. By following these tips, you can keep your nails looking beautiful and healthy.

Alternatives to Shellac Nails

If you’re looking for alternatives to shellac nails, there are several options available. Here are a few to consider:

Regular Nail Polish

Regular nail polish is a classic and affordable option. It comes in a wide range of colors and finishes, and you can easily apply it at home. However, it doesn’t last as long as shellac nails and may chip or peel after a few days.

Gel Nails

Gel nails are similar to shellac nails in that they require UV light to cure and can last up to two weeks. They’re also available in a variety of colors and finishes. However, they can be more expensive than shellac nails and may be harder to remove.

Dip Powder Nails

Dip powder nails are a newer option that involves dipping your nails in a powder and then sealing them with a topcoat. They can last up to four weeks and come in a range of colors and finishes. However, they require more steps than regular nail polish and can be more difficult to remove.

Acrylic Nails

Acrylic nails are a popular option for those looking for long-lasting, durable nails. They’re made by applying a liquid and powder to your nails, which hardens into a solid surface. However, they can be more damaging to your natural nails than other options and may require more maintenance.

Overall, there are several alternatives to shellac nails that offer their own unique benefits and drawbacks. It’s important to consider your individual needs and preferences when choosing which option to try.


In conclusion, shellac nails have both pros and cons. On the positive side, shellac nails are very durable and can last up to two weeks without chipping or peeling. They also dry quickly and are easy to apply, making them a convenient option for those with busy schedules. Additionally, shellac nails come in a wide range of colors and finishes, giving you plenty of options to choose from.

However, there are also some drawbacks to shellac nails. One of the biggest downsides is that they can be difficult to remove, and the removal process can damage your nails if not done correctly. Additionally, shellac nails may not be suitable for everyone, as some people may be allergic to the chemicals used in the application process.

Overall, if you are looking for a long-lasting and low-maintenance nail option, shellac nails may be a good choice for you. However, it is important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision, and to ensure that you are getting your shellac nails applied and removed by a trained professional to minimize the risk of damage to your natural nails.