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

(Anything in BLUE or GRAY within the text is a LINK to more information)

I Finally Tried CND Shellac

Damage from acrylic
A week ago I gave up acrylic overlays over my natural nails and switched to Creative Nail Designs Shellac No-Chip manicure. I've had acrylic for over 10 years, but I was tired of the maintenance--corners lifting, having to remove lifting acrylic which is painful, sitting through an hour long appointment every 2 weeks. But what I did love about acrylic is the ability to have long uniform nails, and the polish doesn't go anywhere until you take it off.

All acrylic off
Removing the acrylic was a long painful process of soaking, scraping, pushing and pulling. It took 3 hours and I did it at home by soaking them in pure acetone. By the time I got to my nail appointment later that day, my natural nails were already breaking because the nails under the acrylic were so soft and damaged. Unfortunately this means my nail tech had to file them down super short for the Shellac process. I'm hating that.

Shellac right after application
I was told that Shellac would be a good alternative for someone switching from acrylic nails back to natural nails because it would keep the nails strong so they could grow out in the damaged phase and still be long, and the polish wouldn't chip.

1 of 5 chipped Shellac nails
It's 1 week later, and I'm not liking Shellac at all. The day after Shellac was applied the polish on the corner of my right thumb nail chipped off and then the corner of the nail broke, later in the day the same happened to my pinky nail. The next day 2 more nails chipped and broke. The day after a 5th nail. Yesterday, 1 week later, most of the polish on the thumb nail lifted all the way off. The polish is chipped on half of my nails and they look terrible, but I was advised not to soak the product off myself, so I've got to walk around for another week looking like a nail biter/picker. If I had an event to go to there would be no way I could go like this.

It wasn't like I was cleaning and scrubbing floors. All I've done for the week are regular activities--typing on the computer, texting, but nothing that puts nails under a ton of stress.

I don't know if the product just doesn't work on nails that are damaged from acrylic (which is the opposite of what I was told at my salon), or what the deal is, but I don't like Shellac for me. I've decided to have it removed, and then just do my own regular manicures with nail hardeners until the acrylic damage grows out over the next couple months and then maybe try Nutra Nail Gel Perfect UV-free no-chip manicure that I can do at home because it really can't do worse than the Shellac has done for me.

CND is a great brand, and I'm sure this product works for a lot of people, but at $40 an application while it's falling off my nails every day, it's not worth it for me.

In the meantime, I have to find something to make my natural nails healthy again!


I never remember how much I'm supposed to tip the hair washer at the salon or the facialist. I always think I have a general idea, but I'm never certain when I'm handing over my tips.

This morning I was reading the FabFitFun website, and they had a guide to tipping. So I'm going to post their information here so I don't forget! 

Server: Gone are the days when 15% was standard. 18%-20% is now the norm, even more for exceptional service. Yes, you can leave less for terrible service, but remember that people have bad days and that a tip is actually a part of the server’s salary.
Bartender: $1-$2 per drink or 15%-20% of the tab. If you order a beer, it’s OK to stay on the lower end. If your bartender is mashing mint for your mojito, tip more.
Food Delivery Service: Whether it’s pizza or a fancy night in, the delivery service guy deserves a good tip for braving the streets…not to mention the rain and snow that makes takeout so perfect. Think 10% to 15% of the bill and no lower than $2.
Food Pickup: 10% is a fair amount for those who pack up your dinner.
Hairdresser: 15%-20% of the total is the standard. Yes, this can get expensive if you’re getting a cut, highlights and a keratin treatment, but that’s the price we pay for beauty. If you have a separate hair washer, make sure to slip them $2-$3 as well.
Manicurist: Again think 15%-20%. If you have separate mani and pedi people, you should split the tip and give half to each person. And remember, cash is key. Many nail salons won’t let you tip on your card.
Massage/Facial/Waxing: No surprise here — 15%-20% is the norm.
Taxi Driver: 15% of the fare with a $1 minimum. Plus, if he loads your bags, add $2 for the first and $1 for each additional piece of luggage.
Bellhop: Like the driver, think $2 for the first bag and $1 for each additional piece.
Doorman: $1-$2 is right when he grabs you a cab. More if he loads your luggage.
Hotel Housekeeping: $2-$3 per day, left before turndown each day throughout your trip.
Pet Groomer: 10% — more if your pet is challenging or super dirty.
Valet: $2-$5 given to the guy who opens the door for the driver. If there is more than one person taking care of your car, don’t worry, the tips should even out in the end.
Car Wash: To me this really depends on how dirty your car is and I have been known to have a very dirty car. Anywhere between $3-$10 can make sense.
Final Tip: Although it may not always be practical for our own wallets, overtipping is never frowned upon. Be generous to those who deserve it.