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Making an appointment at the local nail salon is a must for many women that enjoy having their nails pampered and painted. Of course, this luxury can also become a hassle if the results are not maintained properly – not to mention the cost eventually adds up over time. Thanks to the latest trend, known as shellac nail polish, nail salons everywhere are experiencing a new boom in business and happier customers all around.

In general, the results from a traditional manicure can last anywhere from 1-2 weeks or longer, depending on how well a person takes care of their nails. However, daily tasks and certain occupations often end up damaging the nails, which typically includes the nail color chipping and/or flaking off. This daily wear and tear are what leads most women to constantly return to the nail salon to freshen their manicure.

Shellac nail polish is a new trend that eliminates much of what most women typically experience after they leave the nail salon. Shellac nail polish works in the same way as regular polish and the application process via manicure also works the same way. The basic way this type of manicure works is to first prep the nails as normal, followed by applying a thin base coat.

Next, the nails are placed under a UV lamp for about 10 seconds. Another coat is applied, followed by another trip to the UV lamp. This time the nails are left under the UV lamp for up to two minutes. The rest of the manicure involves adding two coats of the shellac color and a top coat.

The main difference between the shellac manicure and a regular manicure are the end results. The first major benefit is that this polish remains on the nails much longer than traditional nail polish – several weeks, in fact. This is due to the “gel” formula the shellac color is based on. A shellac manicure can last as long as one month with good maintenance.

Additionally, this type of nail polish won’t smudge, especially if left to set properly under a UV lamp. Only when new nail growth is apparent, does a person need to go back to the salon to get a fresh manicure? The removal process is quite involved as well.

The company that manufactures the shellac polish for nail salons strongly encourages consumers to stick to having a professional, licensed technician remove the shellac instead of trying to do it at home. The official removal process requires wrapping the nails in a special acetone formula, which allows the color to come off easier.

So is there a downside to this seemingly perfect nail polish trend? First, not just anyone can get a shellac manicure. The ideal candidate would be a person whose nails and nail bed are naturally strong and healthy.

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Another downside is that over time, the acetone wraps can do damage to the nails as well as the abrasive methods used to remove the gel shellac color. The price is typically twice that of what a traditional, basic manicure would cost. The price tends to range from $30 to $40 for the full manicure. Removal without reapplication of the color is $5.

Failing to have a properly licensed nail technician apply the shellac is a surefire way to experience bad results. It is vital that only an experienced professional perform this service, including removal. As a side note: shellac polish is only sold to nail salons and should not be done at home or purchased for home use.