The “Shellac Wrecks Your Nails” Debate!

So many people these days say that Shellac ruins their nails, but when it is applied correctly and removed correctly, there will be no damage to your natural nails ? I genuinely believe that, I know it! So lets discuss why people think it’s damaging!

First of all, I’ll be mentioning both Shellac and Gelish, because they are the 2 brands that I use and work with.

The Difference between Shellac & Gelish:

Shellac gelish

Shellac is a 2 week power polish – or hybrid polish – so it is half nail polish, half gel. It is a form of permanent nail polish. And they say they are the original power polish that lasts 2 weeks.

Gelish is a soak off gel polish. It is hard wearing and can last up to 3 weeks. They know themselves as ?The original brush-in-bottle, high-shine gel nail polish.? Lasts up to 3 weeks.

In saying that, I have clients who I have seen after 3 weeks and their Shellac is perfect. It has literally just grown out. I really believe, it comes down to the condition of your nails.

The Nail Condition:

If you have nails that are flaking or peeling, it’s because they are dry, and I find this to be very common. Just like having dry hair and skin (your nails are made up of the same protein ? Keratin), your nails lack moisture.

Before your Shellac or Gelish is applied, a light and gentle buff will remove the flaking so we can hope for a longer lasting result. But what can often happen, is people don’t look after their dry nails. And when the nails start to peel and flake underneath the Shellac, this is the reason it chips.

Many people can have very brittle nails, where there is no flexibility and as soon as their nails are long they start to break and snap, which can be painful.

I also find that people who can’t grow their nails or get any length in them, love Shellac or Gelish. It won’t act as a strenghtener, but they do help to support the natural nail and stop them from wearing down as they would without it on. Then the time comes when it is taken off the nail. Clients will say how they can’t get over the length and they’ve never been able to grow them that long. A few days later (when the nails are Shellac free) they can start breaking. This is a typical time when people claim it has wrecked their nails. But they actually are forgetting what the condition of their nails were like before they ever had Shellac. They can simply resort back to the condition they were before.

Now if you get your nail caught in a door, or are doing any kind of heavy duty work with your hands….this will impact on your nails. Shellac and Gelish have revolutionised the nail industry because who knew we could have nail polish with no drying time, high shine and durability?! But they are not indestructible!

I find Gelsih is a better product for people who don’t naturally have good nails. It has more gel in it, and seems to be able to sustain more wear and tear.

**Remember…your nails are jewels not tools!!**

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Your nails will thank you…

So when you are doing any house cleaning, washing dishes or using any detergents remember that these are all drying your nails.You need to wear gloves to protect your nails and to ensure your Shellac or Gelish lasts.

Either the Shellac Solar Oil and Gelish Nourish Cuticle Oil should be used throughout the duration of having Shellac or Gelish on. They have the ability to penetrate the polish and keep nails hydrated and strong which will stop them from chipping and breaking. Your natural nail will also be in good condition when it is removed.

Something else to note ? your nails don’t ?need to breathe?. As I mentioned your nails are made of Keratin, like our hair, and doesn’t need oxygen. You shouldn’t need to take breaks from Shellac if you are getting it removed correctly (unless you want to!)


The removal process is straight forward enough. The nail is tighlty wrapped with acetone soaked cotton and foil and left for 10 mins. With Gelish, the top coat needs to be buffed off but this has no effect on the nail. I find Shellac tends to come away very easily, and Gelish needs to be gently scraped off, without any force.

When people tell me they picked it off…’s a bit of a given that your nail isn’t going to be what it was before hand. Layers of nail will have been removed with it! So they will be soft, weak and break. If you had a good nail before hand, they will revert back to their original condition, but this is what can give Shellac and Gelish a bad name!

I have seen several women who have had their Shellac either taken off with an electric file (I actually get shivers thinking about it!) or who’s nails have been prepped/buffed, with an electric file, ouch! They have eneded up with ridges in their nails because their nail bed has been damaged. Don’t allow this to happen! There should be no filing the surface of the nail plate before Shellac is applied.

So to conclude…!! If they are removed correctly, the worst thing that Shellac or Gelsih can do is dehydrate your nail ? the same as regular nail polish will do. Apply your oil everyday, wear your gloves, don’t pick and there won’t be any damage.

What are your opinions, do you agree?

Emer @SK x

4 thoughts on “The “Shellac Wrecks Your Nails” Debate!”

  1. No! I have beautiful, hard, long nails. I have tried Shellac 4 times over the past couple years. I?ve tried both removal methods and every time I regret it. Sure my nails look beautiful while it?s on. But after a while, my natural nails all crack in half. This never happens to my natural nails! I?ve even tried removing it after a week before they break but they all broke after it was removed. It definitely thins my nails. I hear of other women that have no issues but I certainly do. Perhaps it only works for women who dont have good nails to begin with?

  2. I have been having Shellac back to back every 3/4 weeks for about 4 years now. It does seem to last me longer than some people.
    Had it done 3 weeks ago but when she took it off this time I had dark brown bruise-like patches near to the ends of my nails on 5 of my nails and they do feel a bit tender. Any suggestions please ?

  3. I have really enjoyed reading this.. full of nails have be no GD fir as long as I can remember..u have tried all kinds of stuff..oils.. nail polish. Nail Harding many…I am thinking about shellac nails..but knowing where to go for the best is hard..but now I no what they should and should not be doing..thank u

  4. I’ve never had a shellac treatment where they didn’t file across the top of the nail before applying the shellac! And I’ve been to many, many places – all do it.

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