- Shape and smooth the free edge of the nail with your preferred nail file, I tend to use the less gritty side of ‘Nail File 100/180 Grit’ on my natural nail and buff any rough edges with a ‘Buffer Block‘ but any products will suffice once the nail edge is smoothed. I find that the squarer the nail shape, the quicker my polish chips so I now round the edges of mine a little more to avoid damage.
- Gently push the cuticle back with your fingernail, a Cuticle Stick or a Cuticle Pusher. (It is not advised that you clip the skin as this can lead to infection or thicker cuticles due to additional tissue growth as the body repairs the area. Only remove where the tissue is not attached). However, be sure to check for stubborn cuticle at the lateral nail fold as any bumps or debris can cause the polish to lift prematurely. Also, ensure there is no residual gel polish on the nail plate from previous applications, as the fresh polish will not adhere in these areas. You can also try ‘Cuticle Remover‘- apply around the edge of the nail plate and scrape off lose tissue with a Cuticle Stick
- Wash hands with soap and warm water and towel dry thoroughly.
- Eliminate any oils or debris from the nail plate by wiping with Nail Cleanser using a Lint Free Cotton Pad (1 pad can be used for all 10 nails- re-apply cleanser if the pad dries out)
- If you are finding that your Shellac polish is lifting after only a few days, it can be worth trying a Primer or Acid Free Nail Bonder for extra bonding & adhesion due to . The primer should be applied VERY thinly (do not re-dip for each nail- If you dip your primer brush and drag it along the top of the primer bottle to remove excess, the brush will be loaded with enough primer to use on one hand) & allowed to air dry before proceeding- it also should not come into contact with the skin as it can be an irritant. Too much primer can lead to lifting also!
NOTE: As this polish is a Shellac rather than Gel Polish, there is no need to buff the natural shine from the nail plate before application, it should adhere regardless and this will mean less damage to the nail plate over time.
Capping the Free Edge of the Nail
One of the most important steps to ensure you get the full wear from your Shellac Nails is capping the free edge of the nails. Gels tend to shrink when they’re cured so if they are not capped, this will reveal the free edge and lead to chipping.
One simple way to cap your nails is as you apply your Shellac polish down one side, when you reach the free edge, turn the brush slightly and swipe across and down the free edge toward the centre. Repeat on the other side and again with the final stroke down the centre over the free edge in order to seal it.
Another technique is to apply a thin layer to the free edge before you paint the rest of the nail as normal.
Whichever technique you use, it’s important to make sure it’s a thin layer that does not touch the skin under the nail as this will gather and most likely chip off taking some of the colour coat with it or leaving the free edge with no protection which will lead to premature chipping.
Application of Shellac Gel Polish
Application of Base Coat:
- After completing your Nail Prep, you can start with the Base Coat. Shake the bottle to blend.
- Wipe the excess product against the sides of the bottle as you remove the applicator brush as you only need a thin layer of base coat.
- Place the brush in the centre of your nail, slightly away from the cuticle, gently push the brush towards the cuticle then up one side of the lateral nail. Lift the brush and repeat on the other side of the nail, then the centre.
- Ensure you cap the free edge of the nail for longer wear.
- Repeat on all 5 fingernails.
- Cure for 20-30 seconds under a 36W UV Lamp or 24W/36W LED Lamp (5sec for a 48W or Higher Lamp)
Shellac Colour Coat Application
Vigorously shake the Shellac Colour Coat bottle to blend.
- Apply a very thin coat to the nail surface and extend out to the lateral edge of the nail- ensuring you only paint the nail and not the skin (this can lead to lifting)- the layer will probably still look slightly translucent at this point but the 2nd coat should give enough coverage.
- Wipe the applicator brush on the edge of the bottle’s neck to remove excess product- the polish will be easier to control and spread evenly this way.
- Start in the middle of the nail, just above the cuticle line and gently push back towards the cuticle- (ensuring not to apply product to the skin as it may gather and chip around the cuticle) then extend up along the lateral edge of the nail, lift the brush and repeat on the opposite side of the nail.
- You can take your time to even out the polish if necessary, as it will not dry until it is cured under the Lamp!
- Be sure to cap the free edge of the nail by swiping the brush along it- this will seal the free edge so it shouldn’t catch and lift prematurely.
- Repeat Step 2 on all 5 nails on one hand- cure under the UV Lamp for at least 2 minutes or a LED Lamp for 30-60 seconds- if the gel still seems tacky, it may be on a little thick, you can cure it for longer and it will set but it may lift before the expected 14 day duration period.
- Repeat Steps 2 & 3 on all nails again for your 2nd coat- the colour should be opaque after this coat.
Application of Non-Wipe Top Coat:
- Shake the bottle to blend.
- Wipe the excess product against the sides of the bottle as you remove the applicator brush, as you only need a thin layer of top coat.
- Place the brush in the centre of your nail, slightly away from the cuticle, gently push the brush towards the cuticle then up one side of the lateral nail. Lift the brush and repeat on the other side of the nail, then along the centre.
- Ensure you cap the free edge of the nail for longer wear.
- Repeat on all 5 fingernails.
- Cure for 2-4 minutes under the UV Lamp or 30-90 seconds under a LED Lamp.
- With the IBN Non- Wipe Top Coats, there is no need to cleanse the nails when finished, as there is no sticky residue to remove as with some brands.
- Condition the nails and surrounding area with Cuticle Oil. To keep the skin & nails healthy, twice-daily conditioning with the Cuticle Oil is often recommended. Shellac is porous so the Cuticle Oil will reach the nail beneath it.
- Repeat on the other hand.
- You’re done! Perfect nails for up to 14-21 days! If you find that your Shellac is not lasting for this period with normal daily wear & tear- check the main reasons why Here.
Removal of Shellac Gel Polish
• If you find the Shellac polish is very difficult to remove, this can be due to excessive primer or base coat during the initial application.
• We tend to soak for 10 minutes, flake off whatever comes off easily with a Cuticle Stick and then re-soak for another 5-10 minutes to degrade the remaining layer.
• As tempting as it is, don’t peel the Shellac Polish off, as this can take layers of your natural nail with it!
• NEVER use a metal cuticle pusher to remove the product as this will scrap and damage the nail plate leading to weak nails. Shellac on a damaged nail will also not look or feel as smooth or seamless as you’d probably like.
• Once the nails are in anyway soaked, they soften and become susceptible to damage, such as misshapen/split nails, nail layers separating under the surface or white spots so be aware of this during removal and try to be as gentle as possible.
• The application of Shellac will never cause damage to your nails, but rushed or improper removal definitely will, so take your time, it can be frustrating but it will be worth it in the long run to maintain healthy nails.
• “Use the utmost care for 60 minutes after immersing natural nails in any liquid for more than 60 seconds.” Scientific & Shellac Expert Doug Schoon.
Removal with Gel Remover, Cotton Wool Pads & Aluminium Foil/Nail Soakers
- Gently file the top layer of the Shellac polish with a gritty nail file to break the seal- be careful not to damage the skin around the nails as the acetone may cause discomfort to damaged skin.
- Prepare strips of Aluminium Foil before you begin- strips of approx 2-3 x 5-6inches- enough to cover the nail and wrap tightly around the cotton to hold it in place. Or use our Nail Soakers instead of Aluminium Foil.
- If you have sensitive or broken skin around the nails, you can apply some Vaseline to the surrounding area to keep the acetone from causing a reaction.
- Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area. Douse the cotton wool pad in Gel Remover and place squarely on your fingernail- (try to avoid the skin as much as possible) then wrap the finger and pad as tightly as you can with the Nail Soakers/ foil strips- the foil may relax as you soak so the tighter the better. Repeat for all 5 fingers.
- Heat can increase the acetones effectiveness so you can place a warm face cloth over your wrapped nails to help it along- never heat the acetone directly (e.g. microwaving before use!) as it can release dangerous fumes.
- After 10 minutes or so, check the 1st nail to see if it’s flaking by securely gripping the finger and applying pressure as you twist the wrap off.
- You can gently remove any remaining product using a cuticle stick or your finger but only if it chips off- be careful not to scrape the nail too hard as this will damage the nail plate.
- If a lot of product remains, the best course of action is to rewrap the nail and allow the acetone to penetrate for another few minutes- if you are reusing the same wraps, you may need to douse the cotton in Gel Remover again as the acetone can evaporate over time.
- Be sure to thoroughly wash hands with soap and warm water as soon as you’re finished with the removal to decrease any chance of a reaction to the acetone, especially if you have sensitive skin.
- At this point your nails are going to look dry and damaged, this is really an illusion from the acetone and once you rehydrate the nail and surrounding skin with Cuticle Oil or a good Hand & Nail cream, they should be good as new!
Removal with Pre-Soaked Removal Wraps
These perfumed pre-soaked removal wraps take the suffering out of the removal process! I don’t think I can ever go back to Cotton & Foil now. So simple and effective!
- Lightly file the Shellac with a gritty nail file to break the top seal- be careful not to damage the surrounding skin.
- You can apply a thin layer of Vaseline to the cuticle and surrounding skin if you have sensitive or broken skin.
- Tear the sachet along the dotted line and insert the nail- ensure the soaked pad is pushed down fully into the sachet as they can shift when stored upside down.
- Remove the tab on one side to reveal the sticky strip and fold over the loose edge to form a tight seal around the finger and nail. Repeat for all 5 nails.
- Soak for approx. 10 minutes and remove with firm pressure and a slight twist to remove as much product as possible. The Shellac should now easily flake off when pushed with your fingernail or a cuticle stick.
- If a lot of product remains, you can rewrap- I generally reuse the same wrap for that finger once there isn’t too much gel left on the pad itself and the pad still feels like it has plenty of acetone on it.
- Be sure to thoroughly wash hands with soap and warm water as soon as you’re finished with the removal to decrease any chance of a reaction to the acetone.
- In my experience, the wraps tend to leave the nails in better condition than the Gel Remover, Cotton & Foil technique but I still like to rehydrate the nails and skin with Cuticle Oil once I’ve finished.