Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Soak-Off Gel ("Shellac") - First Impressions

Bio Seaweed Soak-Off Gel in Grapefruit
I know.   I know!  I must be the last woman within my age bracket in the developed world to properly try "shellac", or soak-off gel polishes.  Soak-off gels
have been the nail industry's newest darling for the last few years.  They are nail polishes that are much more durable than their traditional counterparts because they require curing under a lamp; they're supposed to last up to two weeks without chipping.  However, they are different from regular "fake nail" systems because they aren't fake nails - they don't provide length, and the removal process is much quicker.

Some spas/salons claim that Shellac doesn't damage the natural nail but that may or may not be true - it depends on how it's applied.  Regardless, whenever you want to remove/change colours, it requires soaking the nail in acetone, which will dry out the nail bed and exacerbate brittle nails.  But the pristine-for-two-weeks aspect of this product make it a reasonable sacrifice.

Shellac is actually the brand name for the soak-off gel polish line by Creative Nail Designs.  Many spas and nail bars don't actually carry Shellac but some other brand.  The one used by the spa I went to was Bio Seaweed, and the colour I chose was called Grapefruit - a beautiful, sparkly, rose-champagne.

The whole process took quite a while - about 45 minutes - but I was quite happy with the results.

First, my nails were shaped and my cuticles were tamed.   Then, my nail beds were wiped with 99% alcohol before the base layer was applied and cured.  After - and this part isn't normally supposed to happen but my esthetician kind of did it without asking, for the sake of making my manicure last longer - a "builder" layer was applied and cured.  The builder was basically a layer of curable gel, similar to what people get with fake nails, except I had no extensions.

After, 2 coats of polish were applied and cured, and then it was all topped off with a glossy top coat.  The top coat was wiped down with 99% alcohol to remove the tackiness and to make it shine like glass.

I was very pleased with the colour and the fact that i didn't have to sit forever to wait for the polish to try.  This cost $28 in midtown Toronto.  Will check back in a week and then two weeks to let you know if it lives up to its durability claims!


For the 1 Week Update of how my manicure held up, click here
For the 2 Week Update & final post of this series, click here

1 comment:

Waheeda said...

I did Shellac several times. It almost worked too the sense that it made my nails so "hard" they cracked at the sides instead of bending. :(