PSA for Brides Getting Their Nails Done for the Big Day!


May 2, 2008
I have recently gotten what's called a "shellac manicure" at my nail salon, and it is one of the cooler things I've experienced lately. What the product does is simply go on like polish on you natural nail. They don't file or buff the natural nail in any way--they just give you the normal treatments (cuticle cutting, nail shaping, hand and arm massage) they do in any manicure, but once the start painting it gets really neat. Most salons have been using the CND shellac polishes, which are a "hybrid of gels and traditional polish," according to several sources I checked out.

I have gotten shellac manicure twice now, and I really wish I would've had the option for my wedding two years ago! It's amazing. It's dry once you leave the salon, and it doesn't budge until 10 to 14 days after the original mani. Its stays glossy and looks like you just had them done. I'm now on Day 12 of my second round, and I have one teeny chip that's bothering me. I"ll probably go have them remove it on Tuesday or Wednesday. Oh--that is a downside. You have to have it removed at your salon because they'll either do some acetone wraps on you, or they'll have you soak your hands in acetone, then they scrape/peel it off with an orange stick. You could probably do it at home if you order all the equipment. The removal takes maybe 10 minutes, but then you are back to your natural nails, which feel nice and strong after.

I have read that you shouldn't do it constantly, so I've decided I'm going to continue taking breaks between shellac manis and just do regular ones in between.

I thought I'd post this in BWW since there is always talk about how/when/where/what color will you nails be for the wedding and related festivities. I wish I could've gotten shellac on Thursday or Friday before the wedding, worn it at the rehearsal dinner, the wedding, the after-party, and the brunch the next day with zero concerns about my nails getting chipped and worn. I probably could've then proceeded to wear them for the whole honeymoon!

I know a lot of ladies go with gels or acrylics for their weddings, but I thought I'd get the word out about shellac manis for the ladies that don't want to sacrifice their natural nails, but still want a glossy, pretty, long-lasting manicure for their weddings. Hope this gives people some ideas!

Here is a link to CND's FAQ about shellac.

Colors: link to shellac colors


Jul 28, 2009
Excellent information - thanks! BTW - do you know if the OPI axxium soak-off gel laqcuer is the same thing? Tomorrow I'm headed out to get a manicure in preparation for my b-pics and bachelorette weekend, and this is what my nail salon offers (but I've never tried it).



Aug 22, 2009
SB, they're both the same concept! I think shellac was the first and then OPI came out with their own version. I think OPI offers a wider range of colors as well (not shocking...)

I'm planning on getting a Shellac/Axxiom manicure before our wedding as well, and I'm hoping it carries me through our honeymoon! ::)


Shellac is A M A Z I N G! A word of caution though...make sure that the salon actually knows what they're doing and doesn't try to cut corners by mixing different products for the stages. I have very, very badly damaged nails as a result of a shellac gone bad. They had to file it all off, used a drill and practically filed my entire nail off for several fingers! :nono:

I didn't like the Opi version, but maybe that's because it was at the bad salon. It took 15 min (or longer) of soaking in pure acetone to get it off and my nails were DRY. The other version (can't remember the name, but it was a white generic looking bottle with silver writing) was GREAT at the second salon I tried. The second salon didn't skip steps and used the same brand for each step. What a HUGE difference! It looked great and literally took 5 minutes to soak it all off when it was time for a polish change.

The only reason I stopped is that my nails are so thin that it's a waste of time to try to keep them on right now. They break if I look at them wrong! :rolleyes:


Feb 21, 2010
I got a shellac manicure for my wedding a few months ago. I will say that they looked amazing and I love that they set them with a UV light so there is pretty much no chance of messing them up as there is with regular polish (I generally cant seem to keep polish on for more than 2 days and thats if I dont manage to destroy it within 10 minutes of doing my nails. I think I just can't sit still long enough...). However, I got a couple little chips within a few days, and by a week or so after I had them done, the edges along my cuticles started peeling up a bit which drove me crazy since the stuff is so thick and it would catch on everything. It took a looooonng time to remove them, leaving my fingers frightening dry from the acetone, and left my nails in pretty iffy condition. They seemed weak, kept breaking and peeling a lot more than they ever have before. Almost 3 months later now I finally think my nails are about back to normal. But, I don't know if this was just a result of my salon using bad products/processes. If I really needed my nails to look especially nice again, I would consider trying it again, but maybe at a different salon, but for the sake of my nail health, it would have to be for a pretty special occasion. That being said, the result while they lasted was very nice, so I definitely don't regret having them done for my wedding, and would probably still recommend them to others, just as long as they know that there can be some damage to your nails afterwards.


Apr 15, 2010
I tried both shellac and the OPI version. I LOVE OPI, but their version just didn't do it for me. It seemed thicker than Shellac (I did get an OPI glitter) and it lifted after a few days. This may have been due to my salon's application.. but it sucked.

I love Shellac! In order to remove (without going to a salon) I put little cotton balls soaked in acetone on my finer nails then wrapped them with foil. I looked like an alien for 10 minutes with my foil wrapped fingers, but when I took the foil off I was able to scrape the polish off easily with a wood stick. It was relatively easy and my fingers suffered little damage! :)


Apr 28, 2010
I've had it many times and I think its great for weddings/vacations but mine never stays on past 1.5 weeks without chipping/cracking. Same with all of my friends who have tried it.

I heard OPI was not good...

When I take my shellac off, I just feel it hasn't ever damaged my nails by doing that but my best friends nails always get a bit damaged when she has to take it off.


Jun 26, 2007
I have a shellac manicure now and I'm loving it. I'm on day 5 and they still look great. Mine are the OPI version. My only complaint is that I did a very pale pink and it was too sheer for me. I didn't want the white tips of my nails to show through. One thin coat of similar colored nail polish did the trick for me, though.
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