How To Do Shellac: Step By Step

Shellac is a wonderfully strong and glossy finish, long-lasting and gentle. It can be done in a salon, or you can, with a bit of preparation and by purchasing a certain set of materials, also at home. In this article we will consider how to make shellac at home, what you need for this and all the pros and cons of the coating.

A Little About Shellac

Shellac is a special hybrid of nail polish and gel. It has the same huge range of shades as nail polish and must be applied with a brush, but it has the added advantage that it stays on the nails for a long time and can be dried with a UV lamp. It is also erased with a special liquid, not filed off, so that the nail plate is not damaged mechanically. The popularity of shellac can be attributed to this harmless and gentle action. In addition, you can make almost any design with gel nail polish.

Coating Advantages

  • The product has no harmful substances, so applying it to the nails is not so harmful. But from time to time it will be right to give your nails a break from shellac as well.
  • This coating is also suitable for pregnant women, as long as there are not too strong hormonal surges, which sometimes cause rejection of artificial materials. For allergic people, shellac coating is also a great way to make your hands beautiful without any harm.
  • The coating protects the nails, so they begin to grow fast. Even if you have never been able to grow your natural nails more than a few millimeters long, under shellac they will amaze you with their growth speed.
  • A huge set of all kinds of shades allows you to create any nail art, pick up the right coating in tone with the outfit – in general, gives a wide field for experimentation.

What You Will Need

For most women who are not directly connected with the beauty industry, the question of purchasing consumables for home shellac coating is always a big mystery. Besides, the master in the salon has so much – especially the means by which the design is created – that no money can purchase it all. But in order to do a manicure at home, even with shellac, you do not need to purchase everything that is available from the usual masters in the salon. You will be doing it only for yourself, so purchase a small set to your taste – a few colours of gel polish, one or two files, one small bottle of degreaser and primer, etc. We will tell you in detail and step by step, what supplies and equipment you will need to purchase to safely apply shellac at home.

  • You first have to buy a UV lamp – you can’t do without it. Only in such a lamp you can dry gel-lacquer coating. For home use, there is no need to buy expensive LED-models, and will fit and ordinary 9 or 3-watt lamp.
  • Ready-made shellac kits are not the best choice. As a rule, useful components in such kits are few and unprofessional. So, amateur-dilettante level. Good, high-quality such a set will not provide. Unless, of course, it is a professional series.
  • It is more correct to buy shellac from the same series. If you have no experience, experimenting with different brands and trying to combine them is a risky business. In addition, you are unlikely to be able to figure out what did not fit and why the coverage does not hold. And to apply one series is more professional and the result will be more predictable.That’s why we buy a base, a few favorite colours and a finish from the same manufacturer. You can buy both matte and glossy finishes to diversify your design. It is not necessary to take an expensive and promoted brand, you can choose a budget, but quality brand.
  • Degreaser and primer, shellac remover – these liquids are inexpensive and last very long.
  • Consumables: cotton pads, nail files, orange sticks, nail polish remover. You will also need a soft polisher to remove grease from the plates and buff, lint-free cloths, and a variety of designs.

Perhaps that’s enough for now, you can get down to your first manicure. Everything you need is listed here. And if you want to buy paints, brushes, dots for painting, sequins, décor and other design materials, you will solve all this step by step. This is as you delve deeper into the nail theme.


Let’s take a step-by-step look at exactly how shellac should be applied to your nails at home. Make sure the lamp and the consumables set are conveniently located and won’t interfere with your activities.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them.
  • Then you need to do an uncut manicure.
  • Smooth the surface of the nail plate with a soft buff, removing the top layer of grease.
  • Use a special liquid to degrease the nail plate. This is very important because it is the presence of a greasy film and lack of thorough treatment that are the most common causes of the coating peeling off. Do everything step by step and without rushing.v
  • Now in order is the application of primer for better adhesion to the natural surface.
  • The base should be applied to the nails in a thin layer, drying each nail in a lamp. Be sure to thoroughly coat the ends and sides of the nail, as this will prolong the life of the coating.
  • Apply a second, coloured layer and dry as well. When applying coloured coats, you do not need to seal the plates.
  • If you want to achieve a richer colour, apply a second layer of colour. At this point, you can make a design. Dry everything in a lamp.
  • Apply a clear glossy top coat, the so-called “finish,” and dry. A ready-made shellac set may not contain a finishing coat, but be careful, it is a must. Sometimes there is a matte finish, it has no gloss – for some designs it is more suitable.
  • If you have any sticky layer, use a degreaser to remove it and oil the cuticle. That’s all – your new shiny manicure and design using shellac is ready. For more information on how to make a shellac French, see below.

How To Do A Lunar Manicure Shellac

This beautiful design is very popular now. It can be done with lacquer, gel, acrylic, and, of course, shellac. And the shellac coating in this case has its own nuances.

  • This type of manicure looks most advantageous on oval shaped nails. But if your shape is not like that, do not worry – with the right application shellac coating can decorate any nails.
  • To beautifully and evenly highlight the hole with a contrasting gel polish, you must first use stencils. Subsequently, when the eye has already been trained, you can make the hole with a brush. The design should be as even as possible.
  • Before gluing the stencil strips, remove the adhesive layer from the surface of the plate and dry it.
  • You can buy a ready-made set with the necessary materials for lunar and French manicure shellac. A separate purchase will be a lamp and consumables.
  • Do everything in stages, without rushing.

How To Remove Shellac At Home

Within 2 weeks, or maybe sooner, it becomes necessary to remove the old coating. How to remove shellac from the nails, step by step instructions:

  • Prepare a set of cotton disks and ordinary foil. Each disk should be divided into two or four parts, and the foil should be torn into strips 6-7 cm long and 2-3 cm wide.
  • Apply the gel nail polish remover to the discs one by one and wrap the nail plate in these “blankets”. It is correct to do it as tightly as possible.
  • The instructions then suggest covering each plate in foil. This will create the conditions for matt or glossy shellac to be removed from the nails quickly and without residue.
  • After all the nails are “packed” in foil, you should wait a little – 5-7 minutes.
  • After the allotted time, remove the foil and discs one at a time and use an orange wand to scrape off the rest of the coating. If done correctly, the coating comes off easily.
  • The remains of the coating can be removed by lightly going over the nails with a fine abrasive buff or polisher.
  • Degrease the surface and either apply a new coat or apply a special matte finish nail polish, and after it has dried, rub nail oil into the cuticle.


As in any other decorative technique, shellac also has a few pitfalls of which you should be aware:

  • It is necessary to comply with the technology.
  • Keep your nails in the lamp for at least 2 minutes. In less time, shellac may not fully cure, leading to peeling. But it’s not good to hold too long, either. Usually there is a 2-minute timer on the lamp, so you should use it as a guide. The matte shade of the coating indicates that the shellac has dried out.
  • Properly seal the ends and when applying clear base and finish.
  • If you feel a burning sensation when drying your nails, the plate is too sensitive to temperature changes. You may have traumatized your nails or removed the shellac without liquid. Too thick coverage can also cause a burning sensation. If you feel such burning, take your hand out of the lamp immediately, and after 2-3 seconds, put it back in. So, step by step, you will dry your nails better, and there will be no discomfort. The lamp itself, by the way, has nothing to do with it.
  • Regular pharmacy bandages can replace lint-free wipes. The point here is that wipes and bandages will not leave lint on your nails, as cotton disks. And the absence of various such fine dirt and provides the best results in the work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *