........A Chicago area beauty blogger's foray into day-spas, med-spas, and countless beauty counters........

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Maybe I'm Addicted To The Fumes: Acrylic Nails vs. CND Shellac Manicure

10 years ago I tried acrylic nails for the first time....
....and I've never looked back.

The strong chemical smell. The friction of a buffer or sander on my finger tips.
Ahh yes....I love it!

Ok, I don't love any of those things, but I DO love long, colorful, manicured nails! Beautifully groomed hands make me happy. Maybe it's my Gemini nature, we're supposed to have a thing for hands. Who knows? ;)

I didn't get acrylic nails because my natural nails wouldn't grow--I had always been able to have nice long nails, which is why I never used nail tips like some women do, I just had the acrylic applied to my natural nails. The reason I started acrylics is because nail polish wouldn't stay on my natural nails for more than a day. I'd go to the spa and get a manicure, walk out with beautiful, shiny, colorful nails, and by the end of the night they'd already be chipped. It just wasn't worth the time or money spent.
Thus, an addiction to acrylic nails was born.

NOT my nail. Eww!
Of course there can be problems with acrylic nails: sometimes they (painfully!) pop off, sometimes they stay on but lift a little and water gets trapped causing mold spots on the natural nails (gaaaah!), they can cause ridges in natural nails, and depending on the type of acrylic used they can become discolored giving nails a yellowish appearance.

The worst part for me is that it weakens natural nails so stopping the use of acrylic has become impossible because my fingers hurt when I type or text when the natural nail is exposed. Plus they immediately break when the acrylic is off and then my beautiful long nails look like a nail biter got a hold of them! (nooooo!)

Even though I love the look of acrylics (I've tried gel nails too and didn't like them), I can't stop thinking about the damage they're doing to my natural nails. I've thought about giving them up, but a day or two with an acrylic that I've (painfully) pried off makes me doubt I can make it through months of a grow out phase.

.........there may be hope!

Recently my nail salon started offering Creative Nail Designs (CND) Shellac manicures.
Had this product existed 10 years ago, acrylic never would have touched my nails!

CND took 5 years to develop the Shellac product. The process is done much like a regular manicure with a base coat, 2 coats of color, and a top coat, but in between coats the product is cured for 2 minutes under a UV lamp. The nails aren't buffed and "roughed up" like they are for acrylic or gel so there's no damage to natural nails, there's zero drying time, and unlike colored gel polish there's no soaking or sanding to remove the product, instead the removal process takes only 10 minutes using CND Remover Wraps.

Right now there are only 24 Shellac colors, but more are in the works. The polish lasts for at least 14 days and at most salons it costs about the same as a regular acrylic fill, but takes only 30 minutes and is dry instantly instead of the usual 45 minutes plus drying time.

The product is stronger than regular nail polish, which means for someone who is trying to give up acrylics or gels, the nail surface is protected while the nails recover. This should also add a little bit of strength to the natural nails so that they can still grow long.

Add to all of this that the product is free of formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP, and I can't imagine why anyone who hasn't had artificial nails would ever get them! It's my opinion that this is a much better alternative to acrylics and gels.

Don't be fooled by salons advertising "no chip manicures" that are using products other than CND and have to be sanded off. A list of Shellac certified salons is available here.

.....as for the pungent acrylic smell I'll be missing?
Well, maybe I can just take up painting...... ;)

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