This post originally wast posted in February/2013… I have updated it February/2015.
(above left: traditional manicure, above right: shellac manicure)
Confession: I'm kind of a manicure junky.
Reason: when I was in high school I used to get "acrylic" nails because my friends did and also because I had 'boy' shaped nail beds and my nail lady told me that the acrylics would help shape/train my nail bed to be more feminine. Also, I babysat for my nail lady and I would just have her do my nails instead of pay me sometimes (not my smartest financial decision looking back). I always swore that when I "grew up" I would treat myself to weekly manicures (that hasn't exactly happened yet... but it's always something to shoot for, right?)
Outcome: I actually DO think that regular manicures have helped shape/train my nail beds to be more feminine. And in the past year or so I have been fairly regular with shellac manicures. I know it's a treat that not all can afford, but at this stage in my life it works for me. I've become a shellac addict! I will take breaks and do clear polish every once in a while but for me, I like that my nails are always "set to go" no worrying about how they look for events, meetings or work or last minute polishing at home then ends up chipped or smeared.
Regardless, this is my honest opinion on the pros and cons of each type of manicure:
Shellac Manicure PROS:
- They last about 10 - 14 days.
- They stay shiny the whole time.
- When you walk out of the salon there is zero drying time, so no dents or smudges while putting your seat belt on.
- They are tough as nails, no need to take it easy on them. (cleaning, filing, picking stickers off things, doing dishes, etc will not effect them)
- Your nails are always ready to go!
- There are now more colors and brands than ever! I never have trouble finding a color I like.
Shellac Manicure CONS:
- You have to go back to the salon to get them taken off (you can do this at home, but it's labor intensive). Which either costs about $5 or sometimes they will take them off for free if you buy another manicure (more $$$).
- My nails grow quickly and after about 8 days the blank growth spot at the base of my nails starts to bug me. (this is only a pet peeve of mine though)
- Shellac manicures run about $10 more than regular manicures.
- Shellac manicure colors are more limited than regular nail polish choices. Although now they are offering more colors than ever.
- Some people say that the shellac and removal process has weakened their nails, I have never experienced this. My nails feel great after they take them off.
- Sometimes they peel off. When I first started getting shellac manicures the polish would start to peel off around the 7th or 8th day. This can be SO frustrating. If this happens, talk to your nail tech about it. I found out that the brand CND does NOT peel for me personally. The Gelish brand didn't work as great on my nails. Experiment and see what works best and always ask your nail tech questions!
Traditional Manicure PROS:
- TONS of colors to choose from and you can always bring your own colors from home (I like to do this so that touch ups are a breeze - if needed).
- Cheaper than a shellac manicure.
- You can take the nail polish off on your own.
- A traditional manicure lasts about 4 or 5 days for me. I have to be careful with them though (limit cleaning or be careful while cleaning, etc) Or you can choose Vinylux which lasts much longer - again there are limited colors - but this is a good go between option! Again, ask your nail tech what they see is working best!
- If you have "difficult" nail beds, nail shape or cuticles (I totally do) then regular manicures will help keep these at bay, making your "at home" manicures in between salon manicures easier.
Traditional Manicure CONS:
- Extra drying time at the salon - I always get so impatient!
- Minor chips are inevitable. (although I will say the salon manicure lasts longer than an at home manicure)
My verdict… is for shellac nails. Like I said I've been going strong with them for a while now (with occasional breaks to let my nails breath) and I just love. I think they are worth the investment.
What is your experience with Shellac or Traditional Manicures? Which do you prefer more?
When it comes to at-home manicures, Essie is the way to go for me. THIS is my favorite color. What are your favorite nail polishes?