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Meet Your New Favorite Manicure: 2-Weeks Chip Free with Shellac Hybrid Polish

CND's Shellac is a line of gel-based nail polish that hit salons last year, but is just now on the verge of booming. It's marketed as the 14-day chip-free manicure, which certainly caught our attention. We thought we'd do some hard, investigative journalism and get to the bottom of this seemingly too-good-to-be-true mani/pedi treatment. 

We talked to Michelle Vella, a CND Shellac certified manicurist at Joseph Cozza Salon, and Sandi Tran, owner of Thi Spa and Nails, to get the inside scoop on the new nail buzzword: Shellac.

Basically, both Vella and Tran swear by it. However, the service has to be performed correctly, by a skilled nail technician. "If the cuticles aren't properly trimmed, or if the polish is applied too thickly, it will peel," said Tran. 

But when applied correctly, it's ridiculously glossy, will last 14+ days with zero chips, and does zero damage to your nails. We put the Joseph Cozza Shellac mani to the test typing, cooking and shopping. And we hit the Thi Nail Salon Shellac pedi hard with uncomfortable (but super cute) close-toed shoes, and well, we're declaring love. No chips!

They call Shellac a hybrid polish because it fuses the benefits of acrylic nails with the ease of polish. The manicure takes about 45 minutes, the pedicure about one hour.

"The base coat is the most important part," explains Vella. After applying the Shellac base coat, the polish is sealed under a UV3 light for ten seconds. Next comes two coats of color, with two minutes under the UV3 dryer, each. Finally, the top coat, with two minutes of UV3 dry time and then you're set for two weeks. No additional dry time necessary. We repeat: no additional dry time necessary! That means no more paying ahead of time for your mani, and slipping into your boots right after your pedi. Tran says it's particularly great for her clients in the Financial District who drop in for a pedi during their lunch break and right back into their close-toed heels for their next meeting. 

Joseph Cozza and Thi Spa and Nails both carry every Shellac colors, including 12 new colors arriving this week (making a total of 24 available colors). Our favorites from the original collection are Wild Fire, a brilliant red polish, and Romantique, an almost nude pink. The new line includes a black, dark blue and more brilliant reds.

"It creates a bond with the nail so it strengthening, which helps grow the nail," says Vella. "It also fills in any little nail issues or imperfections, and gives that beautiful curve." Vella recommends using olive oil over your nails and cuticles to help hydrate and keep the glossy Shellac finish. 

Joseph Cozza Shellac Manicure $60, Pedicure $80.

Thi Spa and Nails Shellac Manicure $38, Pedicure $50.


Lily Ko (lily.7x7 @ gmail.com) studied fashion design and merchandising at Central Saint Martins and the Academy of Art University. In addition to writing for 7x7, Lily is an editor at SF Station, works as a freelance stylist and covers food, fashion and fun on her blog, Curated SF.