CND Shellac – Your Questions Answered

If you’d like to know how to apply and remove shellac nail polish, we’ve published a step-by-step, easy to follow, photo tutorials on how to apply CND shellac nail polish and how to remove CND Shellac nail polish. The application and removal processes were done by a CND Education Ambassador.

shop cnd shellac nail polish

Since Esther’s Nail Center started offering CND Shellac, a lot of you have been asking about CND Shellac and our store  shipping policy. We try to put together all questions and answers into this post.

I am not an expert in CND Shellac or frequently use it. What I learned from other nail technicians or internet is what I use to answer these question. I’ll include links for references.

Questions and Answers about Shellac Nail Polish

Q: What CND Shellac colors are used for French Manicure?
A: For the white tip, use Shellac Cream Puff (opaque white) or Studio White (off-white).  For the natural pink, you may use Negligee, Clearly Pink or Romantique. Negligee and Cleary Pink are sheer. Romantique is a bit opaque.

Q: What does Shellac color look like?
A: Solessence has tonnes of photo swatches on CND Shellac nail polish and shellac layering. You have to do some searching to find what you want.  Here are some links to the Shellac nail polish swatches :

Q: Can I used normal nail polish thinner for CND Shellac?

A: According to CND, thinning the product is not recommended & thinner cannot be used without affecting the efficacy of the product. The Shellac may seem thicker in viscosity when cooler in the morning, as the room warms up to an average room temp it should go back to its normal preferred consistency. But if product becomes too thick to use, discard and replace with fresh product. Also it’s recommended to shake, shake and shake shellac prior to use for 30 seconds.  Here’s why (excerpt from Shellac blog on “Why do I need to shake the Shellac bottles?”) :

“If the bottle is not shaken prior to use, a disproportionate amount of solvent will be used as the brush is pulled through the top layer of solvent. Additionally, during use, more Solvent can evaporate out of the open bottle.  As more solvent is used, the formula becomes off balance and the thicker ingredients that settle to the bottom of the Shellac bottle are left. Overtime, this make Shellac seem thicker which makes it difficult to apply Shellac in thin layers and can lead to under curing and wrinkling.”

Q: Do you ship CND Shellac outside the US?
A: Yes, we ship CND Shellac products to outside the US except Acetone and Alcohol.

Q: Do I need a license to buy CND Shellac?
A: We don’t need a license to purchase Shellac. We’re open to professionals and consumers.


To read more about CND Shellac, I list some helpful links for references:

  • Shellac Q&A for Consumer, answers to your common question about Shellac.
  • CND Shellac French Manicure application and removal video tutorial

  • Shellac Blog, if the above are not enough.
  • CND Facebook, I am liking it! Pour out your complain and problem here.
  • Some cool videos on on pretty basic things like tricks how to apply Shellac Base Coat and Top coat, French manicure, how to use remover wraps, etc.
  • Video instruction on how to use CND Shellac UV Lamp



I’d like to quote what CND said in their News Update. I think it’s worth to read because many of us still have problems with Shellac application.

Lastly, allow us to reinforce some keys for successful use of Shellac:

1. Always use Shellac as a SYSTEM. Using Shellac Base Coat, Color Coat and Top Coat along with the CND (or Brisa) UV Lamp will provide perfect synergy for optimum wear.

a. Substituting any part of the system will result in diminished performance.

b. Substituting another lamp will result in insufficient cure, which reduces durability and length of wear. The UV output of the CND lamp is specifically calibrated to the system and Shellac formulas for proper cure.

2. Proper removal using the Shellac Remover Wraps will help keep your client’s nails gorgeous and healthy! Regular soaking in bowls of acetone or utilizing cotton & foil to remove Shellac will dry out and weaken the nail structure and overexpose the surrounding skin. The advantage of using the Shellac Remover Wraps includes the following:

a. The integrated cotton pad on the Wrap isolates the acetone to the nail plate…not the skin.

b. The plastic liner in the Wrap will help to hold in warmth that will accelerate removal.

c. Pulling the Wrap from the nail helps slide away the Shellac pieces for a tidy, meticulous removal.

3. Shake, shake, and shake! Vigorously shake every bottle before use to effectively blend all ingredients.

4. Apply in thin, even coats and seal the edge of the nail for best wear and to prevent wrinkling.

5. Proper cure is critical to your success with Shellac:

a. Don’t let your lamp bulbs run out! To avoid interruption in your Shellac or Brisa Gel services, make sure you regularly check the time remaining on your lamp bulbs. Go to to view the CND in minutes Lamp Set-up Video for a reminder of these full instructions. ( Not doing so could result in your lamp shutting off during a service! Paying attention to bulb usage will ensure your lamp continues to provide optimum output to cure your Shellac and Brisa products completely.

b. Remove all film from the lamp. Before using your lamp for the first time, remove all blue film from inside the lamp. Including the bottom FOOT TRAY.

c. Place hands properly in the lamp. Make sure nails are positioned in the highest output area, which is below the center of the bulbs.

d. Lay the hand flat on the tray…and be sure the client doesn’t ‘clench’ the tray with their fingers.


All CND Shellac nail polish, shellac uv lamp, wraps and other products are available at Check us out!

shop cnd shellac nail polish


#1 Erica W on 02.08.12 at 2:29 am

I’ve done everything like CND says but am having problems with the shellac lifting and peeling. what could be the cause for that? I am not using a CND lamp but a 45 watt Thermal Spa Gel Nail Lamp. really don’t think that should be the prob. Help??

#2 LINDAWILLMS on 03.09.12 at 11:19 pm


#3 Mobiledesignerbeauty on 03.12.12 at 9:55 pm

The tips of my shellac nails are totally worn off is only been 6 days. What am I doing wrong??? Please help thank u. E

#4 Dodiesmedd on 03.23.12 at 12:27 am

does shellac contain and acrylic?

#5 Dragonfly1472000 on 04.12.12 at 7:56 pm

what is the solution that the stylist uses to remove the shellac, acetone or isopropol alcohol.  They took it from a stored and seald jug, I could not see the label fast enough.  They poured it into a bowl, and placed that in a bowl of water.  Then I placed all my fingers in it.  Very warm to almost to hot to keep them in after a few minutes.  I like my nails very much, I washed after they removed everything, I watched them take the used soultion and contain it to be discarded later.  It makes me nervous, they covered the bowl with a towel so I know there had to be vapors even if I could not smell them.  It got cold in the salon so they cranked up the heater.  Halfway trhough my treatment I was so sleepy!  When I got home I took a “nap” and woke up two hours later and even at that I had to force myself to wake – unusual for me – might there be a correlation?  If they are using hazardous practices I need to know!

#6 Ishrogers on 05.21.12 at 7:51 am

Ihave a client that would like a fun funky french, does anybody have any ideas? Cream puff and clearly pinl are what i used last. She liked it but i think she wants something more fun!!!!

#7 admin on 05.23.12 at 4:09 pm

Perhaps adding glitters like zillionaire or mother of pearl. Or use different color instead of white.

#8 Maria___4 on 07.01.12 at 1:31 am

clients must use solar oil twice a day!

#9 Maria___4 on 07.01.12 at 1:35 am

cnd said that bottles must be shaken vigorously and the caps cleaned, closed thigtly and not placed in direct sun. all that helps. there is no thinner sorry. clients must use solar oil. i tell my clients. u must use solar oil everyday cuz ur nails need moisture, shellac protects ur nail but the nail needs the solar oil vitamins tomake them stronger…n ull see a difference.

#10 Meghan on 08.19.12 at 4:12 pm

After my daughter and I have been getting shellac manis for a couple of months (and loved them) we decided to purchase all the equipment and do it ourselves. I am in for over $200 for the base coat, top coat, 3 colors, the CND UV lamp (states that it is for shellac and brisa gel), and acetone. We did our nails this weekend and they are very tacky. We followed the directions very closely. The only alteration was to extend the curing time with each coat as they were not cured at all after the specified time. I am ready to throw it out teh window!
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

#11 Thresa on 08.29.12 at 11:37 pm

It may be your light. If any of the gel polishes are applied too thick, it won’t cure well. Also have you used a lint-free wipe with 99% alcohol to wipe the surface of the nail AFTER the top coat has been cured to remove the tackiness? Shellac is supposed to be applied very thin, you should be able to practically see through the layers. After base, 2 colors and a top coat, you should remove the sticky layer with alcohol on a lint free wipe. Hope it helps

#12 Patsy on 10.25.12 at 8:06 am

The pulling in from the cuticle is usually caused because there is oil, moisturizer or lotion on the fingers. The soaps I used for shellac have no moisturizers in them. I use a cleaning spray and a dry brush to scrub the nails clean of cuticle debri or dust, before applying my last wipe of pure acetone, then apply a naill dehydrator then base coat and so on.

#13 Patsy on 10.25.12 at 8:09 am

Nas99 or can be bought anywhere where they sell 99% isopropyl alcohol. It’s all the same, different packaging.

#14 Laurie on 12.23.12 at 10:20 pm

You have to apply shellac away from any type of UV light because that is what cures the shellac. The best way is to apply it in an area where no sunlight can come in.

#15 Dee on 04.06.13 at 7:08 pm

I use regular color nail polish with Shellac topcoat. I wait at least an hour for the regular polish to cure, before adding the Shellac topcoat and then the uv lamp. Realize the regular nail polish still requires traditional drying time before adding another layer regardless of the polish type. To protect my nails, I will continue to use regular base coat/ridge filler because it dries quicker. I hope this helps

#16 Jess on 09.15.13 at 3:53 pm

Hi can I use the base coat followed by top coat, curing in between, to just get a clear look?

#17 thresa on 09.17.13 at 9:58 am

Sure you can do that.

#18 Casually_Observant on 11.06.13 at 8:06 pm

I am not a salon owner, however I have been doing nails (all types) for nearly 30 years. I have been using the Shellac products for almost 2 years. If base, color or top coat starts to get a little thick, I use a few drops of pure acetone and shake well. The product is refreshed and there is no change in strength or longevity after this. Don’t toss a perfectly good bottle. Try acetone and see if this doesn’t fix it for you!

#19 Casually_Observant on 11.06.13 at 8:10 pm

I am in the US and have found 91% alcohol at Walmart stores for a very reasonable price. The 99% is not found anywhere in my area. Surprisingly, the 91% and the 70% Isopropyl Alcohol work just fine for me for finishing up a Shellac manicure. I see no difference between them in the final result.

#20 Casually_Observant on 11.06.13 at 8:12 pm

Check inside and see if a bulb or two is out. If one of the bulbs has accidently been bumped, the bulb may have come loose. Make sure all bulbs are tight and lighting up. If not, that may be your problem.

#21 carly on 03.10.14 at 7:38 pm

I just got a new cnd shellac lamp and was told to remove all of the blue film before I used the lamp, otherwise the blue film will also cure to the lamp. Well I forgot to take the blue film offthe Iinside of the lamp before I used it. Did I ruin my lamp?

#22 Becky on 05.20.15 at 5:44 am

Hello,, I just have one quick question,
Do I have to have a license to apply Shellac Polish to friends that come to my house?? they love the way I do my nails so they come to my house so I can paint their nails and do designs on them,, but they pay me to do it, do I need a license to apply shellac at my own home??

#23 admin on 05.20.15 at 10:54 am

It depends on the state where you live. For example California law requires all barbering, cosmetology (including skin care and nail care), and electrolysis services done for a fee to be performed by a State-licensed operator in a State-licensed salon or barbershop, or by a student in an approved school. State law bans, for example: Haircuts at a work site.
Facials, skin care, or other services at bridal parties or spa parties.Cosmetology services at a hotel.
Anyone providing barbering or cosmetology services in an unlicensed location may be subject to a $1,000 fine.

#24 Susan on 09.03.15 at 6:13 am

Hi. I just did my shellac with the whole CND process at home for the first time. I don’t wear my nails very long at all but they are feeling a little weaker than when I had the process done at the salon. I’m guessing that maybe I should have used two coats of the clearly pink color instead of one. Rather than removing and applying everything again could I do a coat of the clearly pink over my top coat then cure and apply the top coat again and cure? Looking for a quick fix.

#25 Karen Walker on 10.20.15 at 9:58 am

I just purchased a CND UV lamp and 20 CND shellac colours. Expensive here in Australia! Anyway, I want my nails to look opaque, and I find that doing thin layers, they just look streaky and messy. I’m doing all the right steps. I just did my nails about an hour ago and I put the first colour coat on thin and the second colour coat a bit thicker, so it’s opaque. I’m wearing Cake Pop and it’s still a bit messy. Help please.

#26 admin on 11.09.15 at 10:32 pm

Hi Karen, you may want to use 3 thin coats to cover the streak. Practice makes perfect 🙂

#27 pat on 04.27.16 at 5:59 pm

What happens when your bulbs didn’t cure nails? Do you have to take it all off, and start all over again with another lamp

#28 patty on 05.29.17 at 5:18 pm

Hello I would like to know can you do two coats of base coat for difficult peeling nails before the two color coats and top coat?

#29 Bridget on 10.11.18 at 4:01 am

Hie I want to buy shellac gelish am looking for their contact but am finding it difficult please help

#30 admin on 11.07.18 at 8:15 pm

Hi Bridget, you can buy them at or click the SHOP menu above. Thank you.

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