How Long Does Shellac Last? [And How To Make It Last Longer]

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If you are considering getting Shellac, you will want to know how long it will last. Besides, Shellac manicures are usually not cheap and its not the only option you can go for. I’ve always had my own expectations but how long should you be actually looking for?

So, how long do Shellac Last? You should expect two-three weeks of wear from your Shellac Nails. There are other factors involved which can vary this time, but if your nails were prepared and the Shellac applied properly, 14 days is the minimum you can expect.

As I am always looking for the best ways to style my nails, I decided to conduct some research and speak with some nail experts in the industry to get a definitive answer on how long Shellac should last.

What Is Shellac?

In order for us to understand how long Shellac can last, its a good idea to understand what it is actually is and what it is made of.

Shellac is actually a product and brand name created by a nail company called CND (Creative Nail Design).

It is a blend and mix of Nail Varnish and Gel (polymers and monomers) that harden to provide a durable high shine that does not extend on the nail or shape in any particular way.

The application of Shellac typically involved four steps, culminating in curing under a UV light.

Shellac is considered to be a bit of a revelation from those in the industry due to the fact that it takes less time to apply and does not chip unlike regular nail polish is renowned for.

However, as it is typically thinner than gel, it does not generally last for as long.

How Long Does Shellac Last?

Shellac was designed to be durable and to provide a longer lasting wear than traditional nail polish. This is just one of the many benefits that it offers.

While there is no definitive time we can give you here, you should expect your Shellac Nails to last for around two to three weeks in peak and optimal condition. (Peak and optimal condition meaning no chips, cracks or any signs of discolouring).

While there are reports of users wearing Shellacs for 3 to 4 weeks, this is usually exception rather than the norm.

Perhaps the most crucial component which dictates how long they will ultimately last is how they are applied.

The sealing of the free edge is crucial with Shellac, so it is important you are getting your nails done by a professional with experience of working with this product.

There are of course other factors at play. The other major one is to ensure you look after your nails after the product has been applied. It is important to consider that your lifestyle habits can impact this time-frame.

Typically, day to day activities including cooking, typing on a computer and driving should not cause any problems.

However, if you subject your hands regularly to water, chemicals or other elements you can weaken the Shellac and start to see signs of damage (chips, cracks etc).

To help you get the most out of your Shellacs, let us now take a look at what you can do to improve the amount of time they last you.

If you are noticing that your Shellacs are not lasting for 14 days, these will be some of the things to try and consider.

How To Make Shellac Nails Last Longer

While Shellac was designed to be more durable than standard nail polish, it is not completely resistant to wear or cracks. That is why you should do all that you can to take care of them.

Heading to the Salon each week to keep your Shellac in tip top condition is not a viable option for many, so thankfully there are some simple things that you can do to ensure you get the full 14-21 days of wear from your Shellacs.

Let us now take a look at those simple things you can do:

#1 Protect Your Shellac

Unfortunately there are things we have to do in life that are just not ideal for our nails.

Cleaning and Gardening are two prime examples. If you need to wash your dishes, clean the house or remove some weeds, it is always best to put on a pair of gloves first.

This will not only protect your nails from physical damage but perhaps even more importantly is that it will protect your Shellac from any harsh chemicals that can cause damage.

Another one to look out for is water/moisture. Did you know that frequent water exposure can cause the Shellac to weaken?

As water lands on the Shellac, it actually enlarges. When it drys again, the Shellac decreases. If this happens too regularly this can cause damage to the Shellac to the point where it is weak enough to chip.

Its therefore you limit the number of times that you get your hands and nails wet throughout the day.

If they do get wet, be sure to dry your hands carefully and refrain washing your hands too regularly.

#2 Moisturize Your Hands and Nails

Another excellent and easy way to keep your Shellac Nails in optimal condition for longer is to keep your hands and Cuticles fully hydrated and moisturized to prevent any drying out.

I like to regularly apply a hand cream throughout the day and then apply an all-natural Cuticle Oil at night.

This will keep your hands/nails moisturized around the clock and ensure that your nails have all that they need to remain strong and durable.

For a hand cream, you want to choose one that absorbs quickly into the skin to prevent that greasy, sticky residue.

My favorite is Burts Ultimate Care Hand Cream (available for a great price over at Amazon) as it has a number of health-promoting ingredients that are safe and non-toxic and will soothe your hands from the first application onward.

My go to Cuticle Oil, is the Bee Naturals brand which I also buy on Amazon. Its all natural and works quickly to rejuvenate weak and brittle nails.

#3 Maintain With Topcoat

One of the easiest things to do and great hacks when it comes to extending your Shellac nails is to routinely apply a clear Top Coat once in a while.

This adds an extra layer to your Shellac and gives it more protection.

This really helps to extend the durability of the Shellac and should ensure that you reach the 14-21 days with your Shellac still intact and shining just like when it was first applied!

I like to apply the OPI topcoat once every week and this is usually more than enough, but if you wanted to be doubly sure, you can always apply it twice a week if you feel this is worthwhile.

Ultimately it depends on your lifestyle and your day to day activities. For some of you you’ll need the extra protection, others not so much.

When to Remove Shellac

Shellac is great because you get a clear visual sign when it is ready to be removed and when it is time to come off.

Its quite obvious, but you will see your natural nail exposed (around your cuticle area). This is where your natural nail is growing underneath the Shellac.

Typically, you will start to see this occur around the 14-20 day mark but this will of course depend on how quickly your nails grow out.

When it is time to remove your Shellac, you should head to your preferred Nail Salon to get it done safely.

If you know how to remove Shellac at home, be sure to be careful and use the appropriate tools to not damage your natural nails.

Never pick your Shellac and refrain from using an Acetone-based Nail Polish Remover.

This can cause damage to your Natural Nails and cause issues down the line (like slow nail growth and poor adhesion of future manicures).

My favorite natural nail polish formula is this one on Amazon. All you need to do is apply a small amount to a cotton pad, and rub gently against the Shellac. This should be enough and it should come off with relative ease.