CND’s new Shellac polishes last 2 weeks (no chips, we swear)


If you’re as picky as I am when it comes to chipped manicures—and feel resistant to spending $25 on the regular for a fleeting few days of nail perfection—look no further. The new Shellac line from CND (which stands for Creative Nail Design; its founder, Jan Arnold, is a prolific creator of nail looks for runway shows) promises two weeks of no-chip polish, a big claim that was five years in the making in the research labs.

It’s a “hybrid” of regular polish and gel: Like a gel, it offers that rock-hard longevity, “cures” dry under a UV lamp, and you have to go back to the salon to get it removed (a 10-minute process involving acetone-soaked fingerwraps). But it looks and is applied exactly like normal nail polish; there’s no buffing, soaking or drilling, and the finish is thin and flexible and glossy. It’s also free of the three chemical baddies: formaldehyde, toluene and DBP. Huge plus: There’s no dry time. No panic when you dig for your phone on your way out and accidentally gash a big smear on your peter pointer.

Shellac is being rolled out in about 1,500 salons Canada-wide (go to for a list, coming soon) in an initial 12 popular shades, with 12 more to come later in the year. As I type, I’m admiring my fingertips with their spotless three-day-old coat of Fedora, a pitch-dark burgundy.

The service will cost about 50% more than a regular mani, and removal will be about $10. Not bad for two weeks of perfection.

See beauty editor Lesa Hannah’s interview with Jan Arnold backstage at the Marc by Marc Jacobs Fall 2010 show.

Join the discussion

  • Erica

    This sounds amazing. As you pointed out in your blog the list of salons is not on the CND website yet -where did you get your shellac manicure done? Do you know when the product will be rolled out?

  • Rani

    I know, that list should be up soon—it’s just so new. In the meantime, I hear Ritual in Toronto has it ( Hope you find it!

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  • Janine

    In Toronto, Tips at 844A Danforth has Shellac now, too. Rani, I want to know how long the mani job lasts without chips — you’re at four days and counting now, yes?

  • lindsay

    how much is it at the toronto salons mentioned?

  • Rani

    I’m at 8 days now, and it still looks nearly flawless. I have no chips (although I have heard one person report of a chip within a week) and only the tiniest amount of wear at the tips – not noticeable unless you peer up close. It’s still glossy, with a few light scratches on the surface. And I haven’t gone easy on it – dishes every day (oh, to have a dishwasher), scrabbling around in my cavernous handbag as always.
    As for prices, so far I’ve heard Tips will charge an add-on of $25 for a manicure and $20 for a pedicure.

  • Leeanne

    Thanks Rani! Yes ….We are offering Shellac at Tips Nail Bar & Spa-844a Danforth Ave.
    It is an add on service. $25 for a manicure and $20 for a pedicure.

  • Rani

    Update: 12 days in, and my Fedora paint job still looks near-perfect. The moons at my nailbeds are starting to become visible (it’s interesting to see just how much your nails grow in 12 days) but I still have no chips and only the tiniest signs of wear at the tips. It’ll be coming off on day 15, so we’ll see if it lasts that long.

  • nin

    im nin from the Philippines i reed about the news of CND Shellac, i want to ask how much the nail polish and the polish remover cost… were can i purchase it… is it already out in the Philippine market? tnx

  • yvonne

    I have used the french Shellac on 4 people now and keep getting a bit of crinkle effect on some of the whites.
    WHY?? I have tried to do a thinner coat but still it crinkles. Does anyone have an answer?
    Yes the nail plate is clean..

  • Rani

    Hi Nin, I’m not sure when Shellac will make it to the Philippines, perhaps check and email customer service? And Yvonne, perhaps you could contact your CND rep – I’m not a nail tech!

  • Jessica

    Salon Catherin J. in the downtown Toronto Hilton has it!!!
    I got mine done in the same time as a manicure!! so fast for something this great. I’m on day 15! They dont ware off….the only reason why they say 4 days is cause your nails grow out

  • mariacristina

    Hey There
    We at Ritual are offering Shellac and the feedback has been amazing! Our Prices are $35-$45 for Shellac Mani’s and $40- $60 for Shellac Pedi’s.

  • Mary

    Had my first Shellac mani/pedi in Mississauga prior to a three week trip to Italy (which included hard core biking for the first week and beaching for the remainder). No chips! (just growth). My pedicure looks super still. Will continue to do a mani every two weeks and pedi every three weeks.

  • Mary

    Oops a daisy…I meant pedi every four weeks!

  • angela

    I heard after you get it done multiple times it ruins your natural nail. Is there anyone who has had this done more than once who can help me. I would like to get it but I don’t want to ruin my nails.

  • Krissy

    I had my nails done on Thursday and by Sunday the ends were starting to peel off and by Monday I had a big chunk missing out of one. I had been hoping for so much better and am so disappointed as I recommended it to everyone I know and now am embarrassed to show them my nails. The salon wants $10 to take it off – I bought the strips and a whole bottle of acetone for $7.

  • Rani

    Angela – it’s so new that I can’t say from experience how the nail fares underneath in the long term, however I’ve had no problems so far. And that’s too bad about your experience Krissy, I guess it can’t be perfect for everyone. But that’s awfully quick for it to flake off – perhaps it was due to something about the way it was applied.

  • Larissa

    I had the same experience as Krissy with the OPI Axxium Gel. I had really wanted to try the Shellac, but it seems to me the products are the same? If not, can someone tell me what the difference is. I am reluctant to pay the money if I get the same result. As Krissy said, mine didn’t even last a week. They were peeling off on the sides, and yes, I did have them applied at a good salon.

  • Eleanore Scott

    I’m a CND Grand Master technician offering Shellac and Brisa at Colourfield Salon. We are located at Yonge and Rosedale. 416-962-4247. I’ve heard of a lot of minor issues that clients have had with Shellac and I can assure you, since working with the product in May and having certified CND training, I’ve been able to work out these little quirks. It is honestly the most amazing stuff and with 12 new colours coming out in the fall, I believe it’s truly the new revolution in nails. There really is no comparison and worth the money.

  • Melody Lasseter

    I own a nail and makeup salon in Austin,TX and researched the 2 no-chip nail strengthening and long lived colors. I went with Shellac hands down. It arrives today and I am so excited. How do I become a listed salon on the CND website for the Shellac system?

  • Eleanore Scott

    Yvonne, the reason why your whites are crinkling is because the area where the crinkling is, is too thick. Depending on how you apply your french whether it be from side to side, smile line to free edge, or the chevron method, ensure that the white layer is continuously thin. Should there be slight crinkling, you can usually smooth that out with the top coat but adding a little bit more pressure with your brush in that area.

  • Eleanore Scott

    Angela, Shellac is “3 Free” meaning there is no Formaldehyde, Toluene, or DBP (Dibutyl Phthalate). These chemicals are known to cause brittleness and yellowing therefore Shellac will not have that type of effect on the nails. There is no buffing required prior to application so there is no prolonged damage and there is no extra filing required for removal like other soak off gels therefore saving your nails as well. I offer the service for both hands and feet at Colourfield Salon in Toronto. If you’re interested, I may be contacted at 416-962-4247

  • Eleanore Scott

    If you’re already getting bored of the basic 12 colours, I have developed 13 (so far) new custom colors and still going…Check me out at Colourfield Salon 1073 Yonge St. Toronto, ON 416-962-4247

  • Janet

    I just received my shellac today, was very excited but after applying it will not cure under the light. Anyone else have this problem?

  • Kaaren

    Shellac is just another form of gel!! Any nail enhancement that has to be cured under a UV lamp is a GEL system.
    New products & updated gel systems are now appearing in different forms but all still need a UV lamp for curing. This is not the only revolutionary new gel system.

  • Beth

    I have just started doing this at my salon in BUffalo NY(The Spa at Park Lane) I did not like the opi axiuum. This product is AMAZING!! My clients love it! I love it too because I can now wear polish and not worry about it coming off when I do my clients nails!!!

  • Marcia

    I am a nail Stylist in Mississauga and I am listed on the Shellac web site listed under SOLO as a contact for Shellac. As mentioned by Elenor there is a proper way to apply the product, if the nails stylist is not using the proper lamp or tools and making sure that the nails are suitable for the product you may run into some of the problems that are listed above. Over all I think it is one of the best products out there and I do have Axxium and other soak off gels!!

  • Vanessa

    I too am in LOVE with the shellac system. It is easily applied and removed, although I am having a slight difficulty with some clients in the application stage. After the basic manicure i ask the client to wash and i cleanse the nail carefully and thuroughly with scrub fresh. When i apply the colour i am finding it curling away or not sticking to the nail around the cuticle! ? ? ? Thought it was operator error, because this does not happen with everyone. Any ideas?

  • Marcia

    Hi Vanessa. When you get a chance please send me an e-mail at I will go over some trouble shooting tips with you regarding the application of Shellac. If you would like to call me I can be reached at (416) 708-7577.

  • tayra

    this product is great i recently got a french mani done. its still on! love ittttttttttttt!

  • Marissa

    I got my done at Novo Spa and LOVE IT!!!

  • Monique

    I have been using Shellac since june and I love it!!!! I have so many people hooked it’s not funny. The only problem…I’m out of basecoat and can’t get my hand on anymore. My own nails have never ;looked so good!

  • Ruby Lanham

    where can I get this and how much will it coast me to get it. No one here in Washington has it at this time and I would like to have it. I’m a Nail tec.

  • Eleanore Scott

    @ Monique distribution has been a huge problem and CND has addressed that. There are alternatives but applying shellac without a base coat will cause service breakdown. Feel free to contact me should you have questions…

  • amelia

    I got shellac done on Thursday, its now Sunday and I have a chip. To prevent further chips would it be good to use a traditional clear topcoat to extend the life of the manicure? Thanks :)

  • Quills

    Shellac is amazing. It has changed my manicure life :) I have done the process twice and my nails have grown extra extra long. My first shellac procedure was done wth a rose pink colour but the second time I did a french manicure after I got engaged. It is so gorgeous and I got many many compliments. It also lasted over two weeks for !

    I am able to clean my house using all types of solvents ( no gloves) and the colour does not chip, smudge or dissolve. I also spend a lot of time combing my hair with different products and thought the polish would dissolve but it didn’t.

    I definitely recommend shellac to any person that loves a perfect manicure.

  • Julie

    I had mine done at NAILSENSE in Toronto one week before my wedding. The manicure was still flawless after I came back from honeymoon 2 and a half weeks later. Amazing! Perfect for vacations!

  • denise

    I had the shellac done in a salon in Stittsville (outside Ottawa) and was so disappointed. It looked fine at first but after two hours the shellac polish had visible bubbles and was peeling at the sides. I went back and they told me it was normal! I had it removed the next day and was fed a line that my nails were too dry (I had a full manicure before the Shellac). I contacted CND to complain and was told to return to the same salon which messed it up in the first place. Does anyone know of a place in Ottawa which has done the Shellac with good results?

  • Angella tony

    I would like to know if there is a place in Montreal where they sell this Shellac product and how much is a botle?Anyone knows to show me please.Thanks

  • Angella tony

    Oh!Please help.I would like to know how many bottles that need to do in this procedure?thanks

  • Teri

    Does anyone find it necessary to use alcohol between color coats of CND Shellac

  • Sandra

    I used to wear Shellac. I’ve now switched to OPI Axxium so that I can have my favourite OPI colors again. I think they are both the same technology… just different trade name. NAILSENSE near Yonge & Eglinton does both Shellac & Axxium.

  • Becky

    Jenny, from Nail Secrets in Ft. Myers, Fl has been using the Shellac Nail System on my nails for 3 months. I can actually go 3 to 4 weeks before I need to have them done again and my nails are healthier and stronger than ever. I scrub floors, sinks, and dishes without goves and there is no discoloration or chipping. They look fantastic and the only reason I have to go in is because they need clipping as you can see how much they’ve grown out at the cuticle base. I’m loving that I don’t have any maintenance in keeping my nails looking lovely.

  • Lynda Thompson

    I have had Shellac french manicure done at least 7 times at 3 different shops. I still get chips within 3-5 days and by the time 2 weeks go by, my nails have turned dark. Look like a smokers fingers and I don’t smoke. No one can figure out why it doesn’t last or turn colors. Please help

  • lucy

    hi, i have being using shellac and i love it BUT sometimes evan after cleaning the nail, applying thin or thick layers it does crinkle on some nails… how do i get this to stop? what can i do?? do i need to sanitise inbetween each layer?

  • Salli Gregory

    I have had Shellac done on my nails 2 different times and both times it was chipped and peeling off by the 3rd day…..any ideas as to why??

  • Barbara

    I have CND Shellac applied on my nails 3 different times. The first time I had it done with a single color and the 2nd and third time I had french shellac manicures at a different salon. Each time I have had it done, my nails started to crack by the 3rd or 4th day. I was so hopeful that this product would work for me, but am now very disappointed. Does anyone have any advise on extending the life of the Shellac manicure.

  • natalie

    My Shellac has never last two weeks…this one on my fingers now – 8 days. I am ticked. Axxiom lasted longer but was much more damaging to my nails. But I am bummed. I at least expected 10 days.

  • Suzie

    I use the Shellac product and love it as well. I have 5 regular clients that come in every 2 to 3 weeks and they won’t go with anything else but Shellac. I just wish we could get more colors and more base and top coats in stock regularly. It’s hard to provide a service if you don’t have the product. Also, just want to say that the clients nails have to be in good condition and healthy. Also, I use the NSI lamp and it works well. Well, keep on Shellacing.:)

  • Adel

    Shellac and the opi axxium both are really nice systems, but came up with my To achive that look and also the quality of the two. I have over 300 polishes and about ten different gel systems. Since the both are so limited on the color choices. I decided that my cleints can choose from any of my 300 color, I then choose a soak off gel from the young nails gel collection. You can use any gel that you prefer. I do a custom mix with my polish and the gel and it looks the same or even better than 2 that were mentioned

  • Adel

    Shellac and the opi axxium both are really nice systems, but came up with my To achive that look and also the quality of the two. I have over 300 polishes and about ten different gel systems. Since the both are so limited on the color choices. I decided that my cleints can choose from any of my 300 color, I then choose a soak off gel from the young nails gel collection. You can use any gel that you prefer. I do a custom mix with my polish and the gel and it looks the same or even better than 2 that were mentioned and it’s fast and no mess, but I do still use shellac.

  • Carolyn

    I have tried both shellac and axxium nails (I go to The Nail Spa in Milton, Ontario) and they last 2 weeks or longer. I think it all depends on the application. I usually get french and it looks amazing, people think I have gel nails on. I prefer Axxium, even though theres more buffing I do find I prefer it.

  • abi

    i had it done 5 days ago and it has chipped and started to come off in lumps.

  • Anna

    I had my first Shellac mani done on Jan.18. Today is Feb.17 and my nails are still beautiful. After 4+ weeks of wearing (beach, dishes, typing etc) I get a lot of complements. After reading of all reviews I just hope the removal process won’t be too bad/harmful.
    Great product if the technicial knows who to do it.

  • Emm

    I got the opi axxium gel last wednesday and it started peeling around the edges on two nails by the weekend:( the nail tech did say two weeks. I thihk that his application was bad because it was some gel on my skin. I still really want to try the Shellac brand.

  • Jenita

    I have had gel nails for a week now, and they are still FLAWLESS. I got mine done in Richmond, VA. I had never heard of the process, but the nail tech mentioned it to me because nail polish (on my nails) chips within a day or so. It goes on just like nail polish except that there are 3 layers and between every layer your nails go under the UV light. I was completely dry after the last layer and HOOKED. Will be going back in a week!

  • Stef

    I’ve just recently purchased the Shellac system, and i LOVE it!!!! I’ve done nails for 20 years and this is one of the best, most beautiful, simple systems i’ve ever used!!! I have several clients wearing the Shellac and i’ve no complaints. I’ve soaked a few of my acrylic clients out and am now using the Shellac on them- its working great!! I also wear the Shellac on my nails and love the fact that my nails look as pretty as everyone elses:) Its great on toes to!!!! No chips on the beach!!!!

  • Jennifer

    I read that you have to pay $10 to have it removed….NOT!!! I purchased the “All or One” container by KISS and they were off in about 6-7 minutes. I’m on day 8 of my shellac, no chips, nothing but shiny gorgeous color. I’m hooked for life. Plus, my nails are growing like weeds.

  • Liz

    Can you buy the bottles of polish so that you can do it yourself at home? Or can you only get it done at a salon??

  • christie

    Love My Nails!!! My first mani with this product lasted 3 weeks. If yours is chipping it must be the way it was applied. My pedi is still on and it has been 4 weeks. My nails also have grown and they usually break off.

  • Denise McKay

    I am on my 5th application of shellac. It always lasts 3 weeks– more if I didn’t mind the new nail showing. The only cracking I had was once when the weather got extra cold. it’s so perfect! Their pale colour was on a lot of models in Vogue’s Spring edition. I get mine done in Burlington ON at Julie’s Spa.

  • Cheryl

    I also had the crinkling effect after having the polish applied app. 2 hours earlier. But my main complaint is after having had 3 separate shellac applications,and keeping the polish on for 2-3 weeks each time – my very strong nails were weakened and started breaking off at the ends. I have talked to 3 other people who had the same problem. We are all afraid that the product will ruin nails with continued use. Have other people had this problem. Watch it after your third application!

  • Kathleen

    I not only wear Shellac but I am also a certified nail technician and offer this service to opthers. On occasion peeling exists but in my experience its because the sirface wasn’t prepared propoerly. I have had Shellac last until I’ve decided to take it off; 4+ weeks!
    I live in the ottawa area and would love to show you this amazing product. If yous peels off I will redo at no charge.
    You can contact me at


  • Kathleen

    Sorry for my type ‘o’s, I did not proof read my entry…


  • chelsie

    during the application process of my color coat the polish seems to me “pooling” to the center.
    I try re polish those areas and it “pools” to the center of the nail again.
    any advice? :(

  • Eleanor Doctor

    I live in Calgary, Alberta.

    Where can I buy Shellac polish retail?

    Also, do we have to use a special base coat and top coat?

    Thank you.

  • Mabelfernandez85

    Were I can get this polish so I can do it myself ?
    My email address is

  • Ingrid Pereira

    I live in Brampton ON Canada, I’m a aesthetician. Just purchased a CND kit and would like to start doing it with my clients. How much do u think I should charge them for Mani with shellac and Pedi Pls advice. Thank you.

  • Christy

    You can buy shellac polish retail in Calgary at Sally’s Beauty Supply
    in the NE. 2929 Sunridge Way NE

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  • social media marketing

    what kinda guy are you! This is excellent!

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