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Attack of the Shellac

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It's an acetone-eat-polish world out there. In nail salons everywhere, the different brands of polishes have always been close to indistinguishable from each other, but not anymore. Shellac has shown up on the scene, and is taking the manicure world by storm. Celebrities have been using Shellac for years now. US Weekly reported in 2011 that Rihanna was using the polish. In an issue of InStyle, Katy Perry was seen donning a purple hue of CND's Shellac. 

Rhoda Underhill, the owner of Glayze Nail Care Studio in Corinth, Maine, has been using Shellac for over a year. She says that close to 95 percent of her clients are using Shellac. What sets the polish apart from the others? The simple answer is maintenance. 

Those who get manicures will tell you that maintenance is the worst. The drive home alone with wet nails is close to impossible without smudging them. In days to come, routine tasks become almost like Olympic events, with first prize going to whoever can keep their nails intact and chip free. So what makes Shellac different? 

The company that produces Shellac, Creative Nail Design Inc., states on their website the benefits of the 'power polish.' According to CND, the polish lasts for about two weeks. Like a regular manicure, the color coat is applied between a base a top coat, with one exception: every layer is dried beneath a UV lamp. The website says that the estimated application time is around 30 minutes. 

The launch of the new product prompted other companies to create similar products. OPI has a similar polish called Axxium. Gelish is another brand who boasts a wear time of up to three weeks. It is Shellac, however, that has become the blanket name for the product. Just like Kleenex can mean any tissue and Q-tip can mean any cotton swab, Shellac has become the title for polishes cured with UV light. 

For Nail Salon Owner Rhoda Underhill, the similar brands just wouldn't do.

'I selected the CND brand because people recognized the product name that they penned, Shellac,' Underhill said. 

'So many people call the gel polish by that name ... so I felt it would be the best choice for my new business. Many times if a client asks for a product and you tell them that you have the same thing only by a different name they are hesitant,' said Underhill. 

'Seeing is believing,' she said. 'There are no worries of messing up your nails when you leave the manicure table.' Underhill also says that the polish acts as a protectant when you wear it, but still allows your nail to grow underneath. Underhill says that she charges $25 for a Shellac manicure. 

'I guess if there was one thing I disliked about Shellac it would be my cost,' Underhill said. 

'It's more costly than some of the other brands. Other than that I think it is a wonderful product and it has made a huge difference in the nail industry,' said Underhill. 

For more information on Shellac, you can visit


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