Nothing looks more polished or refined than taking care of your hands, feet and nails. But if you aren’t genetically blessed with thick nails, then growing them out and getting them groomed can be a battle. Acrylic nails used to be the only option for fake nails, but now there are two alternatives that are significantly better than acrylic in terms of nail health and nail appearance: CND Shellac and gel manicures.
A “Power Polish” service created by Creative Nail Design, CND Shellac is a type of nail polish that promises to last for two weeks. The process involves applying a base coat, which dries in 10 seconds, followed by applying a color coat, and finishing with a top coat. A UV lamp is used to make sure the coats dry quickly, and the results are fast and beautiful. The nails have a high-shine, mirror-like finish and are scratch resistant.
There are five advantages for using this method:
- You don’t have to wait for your nails to dry;
- The manicure is done in a half hour;
- The manicure is 3-free (contains no formaldehyde, DBP (dibutyl phthalate) and toluene);
- The nail polish is resistant to chips, scratches, and smudges; and
- The results last at least two weeks.
There are three main disadvantages of using this method:
- There are limited color choices ;
- The process uses UV lamps, which are not good for you; and
- You have to go back into the salon to remove the nail polish.
A gel manicure, on the other hand, involves applying a layer of gel (which looks like nail polish) and similar to CND Shellac, uses a UV lamp to dry the gel and the coats of polish. Gel manicures promise the same high-shine finish and long-lasting results, but you have a wider selection of colors to pick from. However, the removal process of a gel manicure takes much longer, even though it requires the same steps of soaking your nails in acetone.
While you can decide your preference between the two based on the pros and cons above, you should know three things about both types of manicures before indulging in them:
- Both manicures leave your natural nails with nail damage due to the acetone removal process;
- The two-week time line may not be applicable to a person whose nails grow out faster; and
- Scientists are wary of UV lamps and their risks.
Skin cancer risk
A doctor from the NYU School of Medicine has warned that UV light used to dry nails is so powerful that women are at risk of skin cancer since the lamp gives off ultraviolet radiation. But the doctor does add that those who get their nails done occasionally will be fine.