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How To Do Shellac Nails

…The Right Way!

How To Do Shellac NailsHi, my name is Jocelyn and I am the local nail guru here at

…I have been doing Shellac ever since it came out back in 2010. Wow it has been that long?

There are two groups of people when it comes to Shellac.

You either love it or you hate it.

1. You love it because it really lasts for 2 weeks and it looks absolutely amazing.

2. You hate it because it doesn’t last for 2 weeks and looks terrible.

Let’s All Love It…Here Is The First Step

**Don’t Do These 3 Things When Applying Shellac!
These are the top 3 things to avoid when applying Shellac. You will wish you knew about these things yesterday! You can now skip the frustration that often happens from Shellac messing up or not lasting 2 weeks.
→ Click Here To Download My Free Top 3 Shellac Mistakes ←

The best way to prevent people from hating Shellac is to teach them the top 3 reasons why Shellac peels. Here is my link to my Top 3 Shellac Mistakes Case Study.

Download It, Read It, & Don’t Ever Do Them…Make Sure Nobody Does Those Mistakes On You Too!

1 Down…1,000s To Go. Let me know if any of these things were on your radar. I love to get this type of feedback.

How To Do Shellac Nails

Shellac Application Steps

We have gone through and listed each step to help you do Shellac. These steps are very important. Since Shellac is designed as a system it is crucial to follow each of the systems steps and to use all the appropriate Shellac products that come with they system.

Step 1: File Nails Into Shape.

Step 2: Remove Cuticles off of the Nails.

Step 3: Apply a Layer of Base Gel.

Step 4: Cure Each Hand for 10 Seconds.

Step 5: Apply the 1st Layer of Shellac TM.

Step 6: Cure Each Hand for 2 Minutes.

Step 7: Apply the 2nd Layer of Shellac TM.

Step8: Cure Each Hand for 2 Minutes.

Step 9: Apply Top Coat TM.

Step 10: Cure Each Hand for 2 Minutes.

Step 11: Wipe Each Nail With Alcohol to Remove Sticky Film.

I hope that this how to do Shellac Nails tutorial helps you do your own or others nails with Shellac! If you have any questions regarding the Shellac application process, please do not hesitate to ask using the form below.

Check Sidebar For More Shellac Related Pages

61 Responses to How To Do Shellac Nails

  1. Chase on April 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I was just curious to know what stores would carry shellac

  2. Kate on April 10, 2013 at 4:22 am

    I have did my first at home shellac polish at the weekend and its still looking great. I would like to change the colour for this weekend (I have got different colour shellac polishes) – do I have to take the whole lot off and start again or can I pain the new colour on top of the existing (if this is ok, are there any tricks to getting it right?

    • Rachael Pipe on April 15, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      I believe you need to remove the first colour. and start fresh

  3. Katty on April 8, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    What is the difference between what they call gel polish versus shellac polish?

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on April 9, 2013 at 1:10 pm


      Shellac is a hybrid gel polish. Gel polish takes longer to apply and takes filing down in order to remove. Shellac (a brand of CND) is quick to apply and requires zero filing.

      I hope this helps.

      ~Jocelyn (Nail Artist @ Polishpedia)

  4. Lolly P on April 8, 2013 at 11:41 am


    I don’t have any alcohol wipes to remove the sticky-ness at the end of the mani, is there anything else I can use? Non-Acetone nail varnish remover? Alcohol hand cleanser/gel….anything?!

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on April 8, 2013 at 11:50 am


      Try anything with a bunch of alcohol in it. I would think that the alcohol hand cleanser should work. Let me know if it does.

      ~Jocelyn (Nail Artist @ Polishpedia)

  5. BARB on April 7, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    hi i have the cnd shellac and lamp and have been trying on my own nails for now and i’ve noticed that sometimes the shellac peels right off completely the following day. what am i doing?

    also, sometimes when you apply the first or second coat of shellac polish it almost shrinks and runs away from the edges of the nail bed before i can even get it under a lamp! what am i doing wrong?

    the only thing i can think of is my base and top coat is a different brand than my polish. could changing that solve my problem do you think? or is my skin and nail too moisturized? i’ve read that your nail bed must be completely dry and free of any oils. is this true?

    • Rachael Pipe on April 15, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      hi! i noticed this happens to me on the “thick” colours.. Im thicking maybe its being applied to thick? or not enough base coat.. but i havent worked it out yet, thats why i steer clear of them and i buy the shimmer colours. it does NOT do it with them.

      • BARB on April 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm

        does yours peel right off the following day as well?

        • rachael on April 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm

          No no. I get 3weeks + with all mine..
          My mum gets 2-2.5 weeks til she’ll get maybe 1 nail chip and my neighbour.. but on me I get 3weeks easy with no chipping.. weird.

  6. grace on April 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Hi, I am a qualified mobile beautician and I want to buy UV lamp please can u tell me how many things I need to buy with UV lamp I mean base coat, top coat, UV colour coat and which remover I need to buy shell I use any nail polish remover. When I need to use alcohol. THANKS

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on April 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm

      Hello Grace,

      On our shellac supplies page you will find four lamps that you can buy for shellac nails. I have personally used the second lamp and the third lamp listed for Shellac and they have worked well. (as far as the lamp is concerned you can buy it right on our site).

      With the lamp you need to buy the Shellac base coat, top coat, colors, 99% alcohol (to remove the sticky layer at the end of the application process), and acetone (to remove the Shellac). You can use cotton balls and tin foil with the acetone for removal. CND sells wraps which work well but they are not 100% necessary.

      I hope this answers your questions.


      Jocelyn (Nail Artist @ Polishpedia)

  7. chloe anne on March 29, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Do you have to use a special shellac nail varnish or can you just use any brand from any shop

  8. Erenia on March 23, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    If the color is sticky what I can do?

    • Toe on March 28, 2013 at 11:54 pm

      use 77% or 99% alcohol on a paper towel and wipe over the nail to remove the stickiness

    • chloe anne on March 29, 2013 at 7:12 am

      if the colour is still sticky then put it under the lamp for another 10 secs or wipe it down again with a cotton bud

  9. Hazel fairbrother on March 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I have recently started doing shellac and been told to apply layers
    Very thin. I used the ‘rubble’ coloured shellac and it looked a bit see-threw
    Stil after 2 colour coats like the alcohol was wiping some of the colour off
    Should this happen.

    • Toe on March 28, 2013 at 11:55 pm

      how long are you curing it for? and what light system are you curing with? UV or LED?

      2min on UV.. believe LED don’t do much curing for shellac.

    • chloe anne on March 29, 2013 at 7:12 am


  10. Loni on March 1, 2013 at 3:36 am

    We didn’t know how to take it off so we watched a video on goggle and we used a cotton ball soaked in aceatone then put it on the nail and wrapped it with tin foil and let it sit for 10 min. And bam it worked,and is much cheaper then the wraps they sell…..

    • chloe anne on March 29, 2013 at 7:13 am

      and thankyou for the tip i just tried it and it is amazing

  11. jill on February 20, 2013 at 9:30 pm

    I am wondering what I did wrong, I followed all the steps but when I was done my nails were still not dry, so when you touch them you get fingerprints in your nails. Do I need a lamp with a fan?

    • jye on March 8, 2013 at 6:03 am

      You need to wipe with alcohol wipes to remove the stickiness of the nail polish.

      • Toe on March 29, 2013 at 12:01 am

        do not use cotton ball or “fluffy” cotton products… the fiber will stick to the polish… cheap alternative are paper towel.

  12. Jeany on February 18, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I don’t want a colour on my nails, so can I just apply top coat on top of base coat?

    • Toe on March 28, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      yes you can

    • chloe anne on March 29, 2013 at 7:14 am


  13. Claire on January 27, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Do u need the UV lamp in order to do the shellac nails? Or can they dry on their own?

    • Meagan on February 27, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      You need a uv lamp

    • chloe anne on March 29, 2013 at 7:14 am

      you do need the lamp

  14. mandy press on January 27, 2013 at 10:23 am

    i was wondering if it is ok to use acetone free nail varnish remover to get rid of the stick at the end x x get

    • linda'alexander'lamb on February 4, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      do you use acetone free nail varn at the end of applying shellac tks

  15. Mari on January 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Can I use the base and top shellac coat and between use another brand of color nail, like sally hansen?

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on January 18, 2013 at 9:55 am


      The entire system needs to be used together. If you use another polish in between, then the two week durability won’t happen.

      ~Jocelyn (Nail Artist @ Polishpedia)

    • Toe on March 29, 2013 at 12:03 am

      it can work…. we do a OPI base coat(non gel), plus non gel polish( OPI, ESSIE, China Glaze) and then do a Gel top coat.

      • Shelly on April 1, 2013 at 12:15 pm

        So you wouldn’t use the uv light to cure the regular base and the regular color, but you would to cure the gel top coat right?

  16. Josephine L. on December 21, 2012 at 1:26 am

    I live in France and am interested in learning how to do Shellac nails. How do I proceed? I am currently on holiday in Australia. Are there courses available here and what is the cost and the duration? Are these products available in France? Thks

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on January 18, 2013 at 9:56 am

      I would contact CND directly. They are for sale in france and they would know more about this. Let me know how it goes.

      ~Jocelyn (Nail Artist @ Polishpedia)

    • Toe on March 28, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      research, research and more research….. if you wanted to get all the color plus the lamp, it would run you around 600 to 800

  17. Marie Constance on December 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Im a qualified beauty therapist and nail technician. Can i buy Shelac products without doing training? and how much is it to buy the UV machine?

    • Jocelyn
      Jocelyn on December 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm


      Yes you can buy them without doing training. CND highly recommends that you receive training and I believe they give more credibility to CND trained nail technicians. If you go to our shop menu bar you will be able to find the lamp, it has a price that should be current. Let me know if you have any other questions. Glad to help. 🙂

      ~Jocelyn (Nail Artist @ Polishpedia)

  18. Marie Constance on December 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I am a qualified beauty therapist and nail technician. Could i just buy the shelac products or do i have to do a specific course? and how much is the UV machine?

    • Toe on March 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm

      120ish for the machine… n o training needed… internet is our trainer… and fellow users are our support!

  19. emma on December 9, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    can i use nail varnish remover as the alcohol?

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on December 10, 2012 at 6:30 am

      No. You need to use the alcohol to remove the sticky layer.

  20. Jay on November 30, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Hi I’m soon finishing my level 3 nail course I was wondering to use the shellac products if you was required to do a course or if you could simply go ahead and buy the products. I have previously used the polish pro by nsi and was looking into other makes of uv gel polish many thanks jay smith

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on November 30, 2012 at 6:46 am


      Good job at soon finishing your level 3 nail course! CND recommends that you become trained but it is not required. If you are trained, they do give you a higher recommendation.

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