So Your Shellac Has Started Peeling Off, Here's What to Do

Shannon Peter

We've all been there: You spend ages working out exactly which Shellac nail polish colour will go with your autumn wardrobe (although, we've got your back on the autumn nail topic too), but then just a few days later, you take a look down at your keyboard, ready to marvel at your fine fingertips and notice that something isn't right. Right there, at the tip of your forefinger on your right hand, your Shellac has started to peel. Nightmare.

First, you'll go through a phase of denial, pretending that everything is fine, but then a huge wave of utter disappointment comes crashing over you when you realise it won't be long before the rest of your nails follow suit and start flaking away too. And then, if you're anything like us, stage three is full of temptation to pick, peel and bite the polish back down to the bare nail. As if you didn't know already, that isn't a good idea. Keep scrolling to find out exactly how to fix peeling Shellac. 



If you like nothing more than picking at a two-week-old Shellac manicure, let this be a warning to you. According to nail expert and session manicurist, Cherrie Snow, "Our nails are made up of about 25 layers of keratinised skin cells, and peeling off gels will take off those top protective layers, causing the nail to become thinner, weaker and uneven." But it gets worse—jeopardising the strength of your nails in this way can lead to white spots and stress breaks and then the bumpy, flaky nails you're left with can then also affect the wear of your future manis. 

So in short: If you do notice your manicure has started to peel, do not start picking, however tempting that may be. Instead, reach for a bottle of top coat. Apply a thin layer over the top of the polish and seal in the edge by painting over the tip of the nail. This will help your manicure hold out until you can get to the salon to have the gels removed. 

As with many things, prevention is far better than attempting a cure. Snow recommends wearing gloves when washing up and cleaning, as well as avoiding opening boxes or cans (good luck if you're a Diet Coke addict) to increase the longevity of your gel manicure.

"Always apply hand cream after EVERY hand wash and regularly massage cuticle oil over the gelled nail to encourage flexibility and prevent chipping," she adds. It's also worth considering the brand of gel. Snow uses Bio Sculpture Gel, which doesn't require any primers, bonders or harsh buffing to get it off. Perfect. 

Explore: Nail Polish

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