"It really does last two weeks. Some people, when they use a lighter color, can possibly even stretch it to three weeks," says Tiffany Mahnken, a stylist and nail technician at Concepts Styling Salon in Cape Girardeau. Each step of the manicure -- a base coat, two color coats and a top coat -- is cured underneath a small UV light to lock in shine and color and adhere the polish to the nail.
"It's like a mini-tanning bed, basically, but it's only for a couple minutes," says Danielle Cook, a stylist and nail technician at Belladona Salon & Spa in Cape Girardeau.
While Mahnken and Cook say some clients have expressed concern about exposing their fingertips to UV lights, it's not enough to do any damage -- only 10 seconds for the base coat, two minutes for each of the color coats and two minutes for the top coat.
"If you're concerned about it, applying a sunscreen to the hand is no problem at all," adds Mahnken.
Nails are completely dry at the end of a Shellac manicure -- no more ruining your nails as soon as you reach for your purse. And, as this writer can attest, the manicure does indeed remain intact despite days of typing on a keyboard, washing dishes and everyday mishaps that tend to damage a manicure.
"(Shellac) acts like a little shield for the nail -- it protects the nails and makes them grow longer and stronger. They also stay very shiny," says Cook.
Mahnken says what typically brings clients back to the salon is that after a couple weeks, they can see where their nails have grown out.
To remove a Shellac manicure, Cook recommends soaking small pads of cotton in acetone, wrapping them around each nail and wrapping foil on top to keep the pads in place. After five or 10 minutes, the polish will loosen up and fall off pretty easily, she says. If you have trouble, gently buff at the polish with a nail file or other nail tool until the polish comes off. Whatever you do, resist the urge to simply peel the polish off your nails, say Cook and Mahnken -- you'll end up taking a layer or two off your nail, leaving the surface flaky, bumpy and weak.
Fall/winter nail trends
> Dark reds
> Shorter, squared-off nails
> Ring finger manicures: Paint your ring fingers a different shade from the rest, or put glitter only on the ring finger.
> "Pin-spiration" -- Cook says clients are finding tons of manicure ideas on Pinterest and bringing printouts as examples.