How Long Do Shellac Nails Last?

To Shellac or not to Shellac? The trend on most nail lovers’ lips and one of the top options for a manicure is Shellac overlays. But how long do Shellac nails last?

Let’s jump right into the answer below with me!

How Long Do Shellac Nails Last?

Shellac nails can last anywhere between 10 days and two weeks. Someone with slow-growing nails can stretch a Shellac manicure to three or four weeks. The application of Shellac is unique, and the proper product use will ensure a longer-lasting Shellac manicure.

a freshly done full set of shellac manicure

You need clarity to understand when to choose a Shellac overlay, what to expect, and how to ensure it lasts longer. Apart from doing it carefully, there are things that might be the causes for your manicure not lasting as long as expected.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into this!

Shellac Nails Application, Product, And Long-Lasting Effect

People easily confuse Shellac overlays with gel overlays. Some salons even label them the same; even though they are on the same spectrum, they are totally different. 

First, the brand, CND, has this particular product to give you the best of two worlds – gel and nail polish. It has more lacquer than other gel brands leading to a purer color and shine. The other half of the composition is a gel, giving you a longer-lasting effect.

The composition of Shellac nail polish differs from other gels. Even though it also needs curing under UV lights, the compound promises to create a more effortless and healthier removal

The union of cells in Shellac nail polish forms micro tunnels on the nails. These tunnels are flooded with the unique Shellac acetone removal, giving you removal in 5 to 10 minutes with minimal damage to the nail plate.

Although Shellac overlay nails are neck-on-neck with gel nails, there are things you can do to increase or decrease the longevity of the manicure.

a chipped set of shellac nails

What Factors affect Shellac’s Lasting Time?

The factors that will decrease the longevity of a Shellac nail overlay vary, and you might be a culprit to one of them, leading to a short-lived manicure.

1. Going The Cheap Road

Getting a manicure at a salon every month or twice a month can cost money. For this reason, many of us consider opting for a cheaper salon or private nail tech to do the manicure.

The problem with this option is that these nail techs working from home, or the salons that are cheaper than other salons, are sometimes either not qualified or use low-grade products. 

Not being qualified or using cheaper alternatives to the actual product will certainly lead to a shorter duration of your manicure. However, paying less and going more frequently is not the answer if you want to save money and time.

2. At Home Shellac Application

 There are kits available to do your own Shellac nails at home. Suppose you opt for this option; remember that the consequences are all on you. For example, not knowing how to apply the Shellac nails correctly or not using the recommended UV lamp can cause your manicure to last only a few days.

3. Wrong Removal Methods

One of the biggest temptations is the nail polish that lifts or chips, leaving an opening for you to peel off the entire thing. Peeling or scratching off Shellac polish may be easier than gel, but it damages your nails. Your nails will weaken, leading to the next application not lasting long enough.

Preparing your nails with harsh buffing tools or removing the polish by filing it off can also cause the top layer of the nail plate to be damaged.

4. Brittle Or Weak Nails

Shellac nail polish isn’t bad for your nails, but the curing process can damage the nails and skin around the fingers. In addition, because of the UV curing method, soaking is required to remove the paint, and some people can harm their nails by doing this.

Another reason may be that you naturally have weak nails. Shellac or any gel overlay might lift or chip easier from your nails. In this instance, you should strengthen your nails before attempting an overlay that needs curing. There are many tips that help you keep your gel polish from peeling, so make sure you check them out.

a nail technician doing full set shellac nails

How To Make Shellac Nails Last Longer

Luckily there are many ways to ensure your Shellac overlay stays on longer. Following these tips will lead to a bright, shiny nail overlay that will last longer than expected. 

  • Application – ensure a Shellac nail specialist does your nails. This way, you can ensure the application is according to CND’s standards and guarantee a longer-lasting set.
  • Use Shellac products – Shellac is a specific product from the CND brand, and people might say they are applying Shellac but are not. You will see the name and brand on the products to ensure they are genuine Shellac.
  • Appropriate lamp – To cure the Shellac overlay, a specific UV lamp accompanies the products that dry the overlay in seconds. 
  • Avoid water – like any other overlay, Shellac will last longer if you avoid the water after your appointment. This will include washing dishes, showering, or washing hands. 
  • Avoid chemicals – when cleaning the house or if your job requires harsh chemicals, wear gloves (from safe materials) to give you longer-lasting Shellac nails. 
  • Treat your nails – before your appointment, it is essential to hydrate your nails and cuticles with nail oil. This will ensure that the overlay lasts longer.

Why Choose Shellac For A Longer-Lasting Manicure?

Shellac is a good choice if you want an overlay that looks great, doesn’t damage your nails and lasts longer. If you can find someone that knows how to apply and remove Shellac safely, you can get your set done every month without a break. In addition, your nails don’t need a breath period from Shellac as it is not damaging to the nail plate.

Shellac can last up to 4 weeks if you look after it, your nail tech knows their stuff, and your nails’ condition is compatible with Shellac. So only needing to apply a new set every 4 weeks can save you money and time.

Shellac nails are easier to remove as well. This shortens the time at the salon or home and reduces the possibility of damage to the nails. The specific Shellac nail acetone remover intertwines into the tunnels created in the Shellac polish during curing, releasing it from the nail plate faster and easier.


Shellac nails are worth the try, especially for busy moms or entrepreneurs who don’t have time to sit for 90 minutes to two hours to get an overlay every other week. A safe, long-lasting nail polish option that is worry-free and can save you money.