November 30, 2012

How to remove Shellac (and not your nail)

Once I discovered CND Shellac polish, I knew there was no turning back. As someone who washes the clay and paint of her hands about 30 times a day, regular nail polish would rarely last me until lunch hour. 

The first time I had shellac applied I was at a salon for my friend's wedding. My nails were very short at the time and I didn't think a french manicure was possible. This new salon didn't carry shellac in any colours, so I opted for a clear shellac and they painted regular nail polish on top. 

As the shellac grew out, the nail polish chipped off and I spent two more week applying various colours of polish on top. Since my nails were so strong the colour would last for at least a week and the only downfall was the awkward, thick grow-out line forming in front of my cuticle. Eventually, I knew the gig was up and I would have to remove the shellac. I tried to peel it off, but it wouldn't budge so I decided to splurge on a second shellac manicure and to have the esthetician remove it for me. 

At Lovely Nails, I washed carefully as the lady soaked a cotton ball in acetone, wrapped it around each of my fingers and covered them individually in tinfoil. It looks pretty silly and you will look slightly like an alien, but it seems to do the trick. After about 5 minutes she removed the tinfoil, and using a metal cuticle pusher she scraped the shellac off of my nails into tiny pieces, then sanded away any stubborn pieces. The entire process was at least 15 minutes and made my little stop in an hour long affair, but Shellac is was worth it. 
Sanding Block

At home I tried the tinfoil trick, but once my left hand was done, I wasn't coordinated enough to use my left hand covered in foil to cover my right hand. I didn't have the time to wait up to 10 minutes a hand before removing the foil either. Fortunately, a friend was coming over and I had her cover my right hand for me, but this isn't always the case!

I much prefer the dipping method. This blog gives a great step by step of how to remove the Shellac, except I prefer a metal pusher over a wooden. The trick is to use pure acetone and not using nail polish remover. I was able to find acetone at Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart, or you can go industrial and get a large jug of it at Canadian Tire in the automotive section. I even file down the top of the shellac before I dip by fingers into the acetone, just to help with the removal down the center. Then I finish everything off with the sanding block to make sure that my nails are smooth again. 

I went to my Mom's last week to help her remove her shellac. My Dad had brought up a bottle of what he thought was pure acetone. There was definitely some acetone in it as well as several other chemicals (including turpentine) that made my Mom's skin burn. Turns out it was paint thinner. I highly discourage you from using this!!! Pure acetone only! It will dry out your skin, but that's about it. 

Whatever you do, don't be tempted to pick off the Shellac (or to use paint thinner). I have sadly removed many  layers of my precious nails in the process and do not wish this upon anyone!

Don't bother spending an extra $10 every time you want to get your Shellac removed. Even if you're still going into the salon to have your shellac applied you can save yourself a lot of money by removing it by yourself before you go in. Then go to Starbucks and spend all the money you saved on an overpriced Latte! Delicious!

Things you need to remove Shellac:

1. 100% Pure Acetone ($3)
2. A good nail file ($1-2 at Sally's)
3. A sanding block in medium/course ($1-2 at Sally's)
4. A glass bowl, or teacup you're never going to put food in again
5. Cuticle Pusher ($5-25 at most pharmacys)

For how to apply your own Shellac click here