It’s the logical evolution in manicures.  Like a standard polish but more durable and longer lasting.  Up to 3 weeks for some folks, and at least two weeks of fairly flawless shine for most.  It just may well put an end to both acrylics, gels and regular polish manicures in the next year or so.

Pioneered by CND (Creative Nail Design) and applied in Charlotte at the three POLISHED NAIR BARS, shellac is the newest hybrid polish, not a gel (less nail damage risk, but with gel’s long lasting attributes) and not simply a polish (although it acts a lot like a Polish Super Hero.  ShellacMan to the rescue).

CND explains the “science” behind Shellacâ„¢ as “a patent-pending formulation of solvents, monomers and polymers…why Shellacâ„¢ goes on like polish, wears like gel and removes in minutes. It is also hypo-allergenic and 3-FREE… containing no formaldehyde, toluene or DBP.”  “Like any quality polish application, the Shellacâ„¢  system features a Base Coat, Color Coat and Top Coat. Together with a UV Lamp, they comprise the breakthrough in resilient color that remains flawless for two weeks and removes in 10 minutes.”

Last week, I got a complimentaryShellacâ„¢ at the Polished Nail Bar & Spa on South Blvd in South End.  (Also one in Myers Park and one on Fairview by Phillips Place).  The salon is big and roomy – 18 pedicure chairs for their 16 nail technicians.  And two manicure bars.  Literally, bars.  Women were sipping complimentary Chardonnay everywhere I looked.  At 2 pm in the afternoon – Party on moms.

But I digress.  So far, my shellac is all it’s cracked up to be.  It took no time, 45 minutes door to door.  The application was a breeze – the only differences between this and a regular manicure (other than the price of $45 vs $15) were a brief & gentle buffing on each nail to prepare the surface and the required UV Lamp drying.   (Normally, I would NEVER sunlamp in any capacity, so next time I am wearing sunblock).

It is wearing very well.  I chose a pale for my Shellac, though the technician explained that many women choose a dark, since shellac’s no chipping, shine-lasting formula guarantees a dark will wear well.  I would think it would be GREAT for a french manicure, but I don’t do french.   Per CND,  I should notice a “line of demarcation” in a week or so, as the natural nail grows away from the cuticle.  The pale color I selected will help mitigate this.  They recommended a 14 day re-application or salon removal, as the adhesion will increase over time, making the removal process with drying acetone a little more lengthy.

I highly recommend you try Shellacâ„¢ if you love manicures but hate the upkeep or are a manicure-a-week kind of girl.  In the long run, it should save you some $$ and as long as you don’t pick or peel, your nails will be fine.  Here’s a link to the CND website where all the shellac salons in Charlotte are listed.  I did enjoy my visit to Polished and will be going back there for mine.  Polished was voted Best of Best (nail salon) by Charlotte Magazine 2007,2008,2009,2010, Best Nail Salon by Elevate Magazine 2007, 2008,2009,2010 and Best Mani/Pedi by The Charlotte Observer. Plus, there’s wine.


MINX Nails are made of a thin flexible film that, when heated,  affixes to your nails.  Sparkly metallics, personalized graphics and photo-quality designs are the hallmark of Minx.  Beloved by celebs and superstars, Minx allows for completely customized nails –  featuring the exact pattern and colors of a gown or even a favorite photo.  Minx are the absolute go-to for those metallic nails you see in the mags.  They’re Minx, trust me.  That pristine mirror finish is not achieved with a metallic nail polish, so don’t bother trying.

Because Minx’s flexible polymer is applied to nails, like a warm sticker that’s blowdried on, they are a mess free, chemical free  alternative to nail polish, shellacs, gels and tips.  Here’s some info we’ve culled about Minx:

Like shellac, a basic manicure comes first and your nail must be clean of oils, etc.  The Minx are heated under a lamp or hair dryer to make them flexible and warm the adhesive, and then your nail tech will press the Minx coatings onto each nail.   They often use a hair dryer after application, to seal the coatings to your nails.  Finally, a Minx glass nail file is used to remove the excess.

What makes Minx different from the nail stickers you can buy in the store is the quality of material, adhesive AND application.  Again, these are not for DIYers.  These are definitely a step up, in result, and in price ($50-$80 per Minx-ing).  Plus, Minx technicians offer over 100 different patterns to choose from,  and Minx can create custom designs for you.  You can even have your favorite photos turned into a Minx nail coating.  Like these Royal Wedding Minx nails that Katy Perry supposedly rocked.  I kid you not.  It takes all kinds you know.

We’ve read about a few drawback to Minx:

  1. No matter how much you file, the edges are never truly smooth.
  2. On acrylic tips, they start lifting after a couple days.
  3. The line at the cuticle is rounded so they won’t match every nail shape.
  4. They are pricey.


If you want to try Minx for yourself, Polished Nail Salons also offer them, or you can look for a salon using the Minx Salon Finder on the website. If you’re looking for a small, personal salon experience, try EM by Design, Elizabeth Mayes little studio in the Sola Salons at Southpark.