For those of you who do not know how shellac works, it requires a base coat, 2 coats of colour, and a top coat (just like regular polish), but each layer needs to be baked up to 3 minutes under a UV light. The polish is very specific as well, and cannot be purchased at any beauty supply store or drug store.
I got online and went to my favourite Chinese webpage DHgate.com. I know I should support the local economy, but their prices and selection are just too good to pass up! I purchased a UV light for around $30, and a base and top coat for $10. In Canada, each colour or coat coats $30 and lights can go as high as $200/each. I didn't have this kind of budget.
The really cheap stuff I originally bought, called Lina or Sina (the first letter is very hard to decode) was TERRIBLE. It would bake on, but never adhered to the nail. I went back and did a little research and bought some better quality stuff for $20, but five colours of polish for $25. My little home business was up and running for under $100.
It took many attempts over several months to really get my shellac to last more than a week. As an art teacher, I am constantly getting my hands dirty and wash them about 20 times a day. The shellac on my index fingers and thumbs couldn't handle the rigorous challenges I was putting them through. Finally, on a desperate attempt to really get this stuff working, I went one more time to the salon to watch a professional apply the polish. I knew there was a special way to apply the polish, and since I paint a lot, I knew I could handle it if someone showed me how.
The trick I was missing was that I wasn't "wrapping" the nail with every coat. I found the tips of how to do it here. This was the pivotal part of the puzzle that I was missing!!! Three weeks later I soaked off the polish with acetone, and applied the polish slowly ensuring I was wrapping each coat and not getting anything on my cuticles. So far its been a bad success! I was so excited I went back and ordered 5 more colours.
Today my nails look great, they don't chip, and 30 minutes every 2 weeks is all of the time I have to spend on my nails. I know Erik is very happy he doesn't have to hear about my nails every day anymore!!
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