The Cons of Shellac Nail Polish

By Calia Roberts

Shellac nail polish is made with a special formula that promises chip-free and smudge-proof nail color. The product also promises that the user only needs to change the polish when the new nail growth begins to show after approximately 14 days. While many are happy with this polish, there are some a few cons, or disadvantages, to this product that potential wearers may want to consider before using.

Shellac nail polish promises long lasting color.


The manufacture only sells the product to licensed professionals, leaving do-it-yourself individuals without any options to do their own nails at home. While the application process is easy, it does require several trips to the ultarviolet lamp in between coats to set the polish. While the manufacture claims the UV bulbs filter out the damage from the harmful UV rays, some may consider this increased exposure hazardous.


To remove the polish, a nail technician applies a special wrap that contains 99 percent concentrated acetone on the nails for approximately 10 minutes. The technician then scrapes the polish off the nail. Trying to remove the polish at home can result in a user peeling layers off her nail. The fact that the product is difficult to remove may be off putting to many potential customers.

Nail Damage

After the removal, the nails are temporarily weak and flaking at the tips, most likely due to the drying caused by the acetone polish remover. Users of Shellac must apply a daily conditioning treatment to the nails for up to three weeks to restore the original strength and health to the nail. For some, damage to this degree may not be worth long-lasting nail polish color.


Shellac manicures also cost more than traditional manicures. These manicures require two trips, one to apply the color and one to remove the color, and the user receives a charge for both visits. The manufacturer also advises salons to charge 50 to 100 percent more than the typical manicure. This added expense may defer many potential customers.