How to Apply Shellac Nail Polish

This is the first article in a series on  CND Shellac application and removal. Read the second article about how to remove CND Shellac nail polish. This series is intended to help you do it yourself at home.

shop cnd shellac nail polish

Recently I was blessed to participate in a CND Shellac Workshop because I got ‘shellacked’ by an experienced CND Education Ambassador, Michele Huynh.

She did a demonstration on how to apply and remove CND Shellac nail polish.  Her application was flawless and removal was a breeze.  My nail (only one nail got done) looked great. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to know how long it would stay since my shellac was removed the same day…:-(..It had to, so I can show you all on how to remove Shellac.

How to Apply Shellac Nail Polish

1. File edge of the nail with 240-grit nail file, to shape the nail. With CND Shellac, you would never file your nail bed.

how to apply shellac nail polish file nail edge


2.  Push back and clean cuticles with cuticle pusher. Notice that this is a dry manicure.

how to apply shellac nail polish - push cuticle


how to apply shellac nail polish - push cuticle


3. Cut any hang nails or cuticle if necessary with cuticle nipper.

how to apply shellac nail polish - cut hang nails


4. Wipe clean nail with lint-free nail wipe soaked with CND Scrubfresh.

how to apply shellac nail polish - apply scrubfresh


5. Shake, shake vigorously the Shellac Base Coat so the ingredients mix well.

how to apply shellac nail polish - shake shellac base coat


6. Apply a thin coat of Shellac Nail Base Coat. The key to get a good result is to apply every layer thinly, said Michele.

how to apply shellac nail polish - apply shellac base coat


7. Cure under 36-watt Shellac UV Lamp for 10 seconds. Make sure your middle finger touch the end of the tunnel before starting the process.

how to apply shellac nail polish - cure under 36 watt uv lamp


8. Apply a thin layer of Shellac nail polish. In this case, I used Rock Royalty. And cure for 2 minutes under Shellac 36-watt UV lamp. To clean the messy polish application on the cuticle or skin, just use the wood cuticle stick to wipe clean. Do it before curing the polish.


9. Apply another thin layer of Shellac nail polish. And cure for 2 minutes. If necessary, you can apply an extra layer for dark coverage.

how to apply shellac nail polish - apply thin color


10. Apply a thin layer of Shellac Top Coat. And cure for 2 minutes.

how to apply shellac nail polish - apply thin top coat


11. Wipe clean the nail with lint-free nail wipe soaked with 99% Alcohol. It has to be 99% Alcohol. If less than 99% it won’t show the full shine. After wiping, the polish should be dry, hard and not tacky.

how to apply shellac nail polish - wipe alcohol


12. Apply and massage Solar cuticle oil on nails. And here’s  CND Shellac nail polish Rock Royalty.

cnd  shellac rock royalty

cnd  shellac rock royalty

shop cnd shellac nail polish

Tips on CND Shellac Application

I also asked her some questions I often heard regarding CND Shellac application. To keep it short, I’ll just post the answer below:

  • It’s not uncommon to hear customers complain about her nails getting dry after using CND Shellac. Michele suggests to use CND Solar Oil every day to combat this problem. If Solar Oil is used often, there shouldn’t be problem of dry or splitting nails.
  • Regarding nails that are not cured properly, check the bulbs. Perhaps one of the bulbs is out. Also on CND Shellac 36-watt UV lamp, you can press the Reset button to see how many hours left for the current bulbs. Also shake, shake shellac coats or polish to make sure the ingredients mix well.
  • Her choice for French Manicure is Cream Puff or Studio White (an off-white) for the white tip and Clearly Pink and Romantique (more opaque) for the pink. Here’s her French Manicure with Studio White and Clearly Pink.
    cnd shellac french manicure
  • Using less than 99% Alcohol won’t show the full shine of Shellac. Make sure when buying, you get only the 99% Alcohol.
  • For customers with weak or splitting nails who want to use Shellac nail polish, she advices to use Brisa Gel as a foundation before using Shellac. The purpose is to strengthen the nails before applying Shellac.

Finally, take a look at these photos on Shellac colors and products that were used.

I noticed using pump bottles like these make application process less messy and easier.

shellac nail products used

CND Shellac Moonlight Roses over Asphalt. Michele was sporting this color. If you like this color, take a look at other photos above. Those purple nails are hers.

cnd shellac asphalt moonlight roses

That pretty red nail is Red Baroness. Two coats with a Top Coat.

cnd shellac red baroness

You can get all these products at Esther’s Nail Center. We have all new CND Shellac Fall 2011 colors in-stock. Check us out.

Reverse French Manicure

I  love to see this tutorial for Reverse French Manicure from The Cherry Blossom Girl blog, because it’s so classy, chic, seems easy and the photos are beautiful. So I think you should check it out. I put the final photo here so you can see what I am talking about.

Classy Reverse French Manicure

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

Black Lace Nail Design

Simple and elegant black lace nail art design, yet very easy. This is a combination of black tip French Manicure with lace nail stickers to create alluring nail art design.

Even though this look is super easy to apply, I’m incredibly enamored with it and it ends up looking pretty intricate. I think these black lace French tips have a lot of detail to them and the overall look is pretty and alluring.

Black Lace Nail Sticker Design

Like I said, it’s a simple look to achieve. I used French manicure guideline stickers to apply my black tips, placed my lace nail stickers and sealed them in with a topcoat to finish.

Lace Nail Sticker

I only used two lines for all ten of my nails, so one $2.99 pack really goes a long way. They’re 3D stickers which mean the black is slightly “bubbled up” to give them more of a lace-like appearance when they’re on your nails. This gives an interesting texture to the overall look. Each row is one long strip, so you can trim them to the perfect width and mix and match the different lace designs.

Black Lace Nail Art Designs

These black lace nail stickers were sent to me by the always friendly Esther’s Nail Center, so a big thank you to them for their kindness. (Their nail stickers are all 20% off right now until 8/31/2010.)

Here’s a closeup so you can see the texture of the stickers.

I love this look a lot! Maybe it’s not so summery but I don’t mind; these are my favorite nail stickers at the moment. What do you think of my quick and easy black lace nails?

Photos and design are provided by Asami from Nails by Asami blog. The 3D Lace Nail Sticker featured here is available at 3D Nail Sticker section.

Simple July 4th Nail Designs

Hello! I hope everyone has fun this Fourth of July weekend. I have three U.S. Independence Day inspired nail designs for you. All three are of an easy difficulty level so everyone can wear something cute for the fourth.

I used these Nail Art polishes by Adorée to make the flag stripes design. I used the white to draw out the stripes, and the blue to make a clean tip line; I then layered over a coat of glitter polish on top of the blue tip to add a bit of glitter. These Nail Art polishes have long, thin striper brushes that are ideal for drawing out straight lines and stripes. These were sent to me by the always friendly Esther’s Nail Center.

For the third Fourth of July design, start with a white creme base using white nail polish, such as Adoree Pure White #150.

Draw out a red line near the tip of your nail. This “Red Eye” has a bit of a gold flash that I like, you can see it in the next picture.

Repeat the process on the rest of your nails.

Next, using blue, draw out a similar line below the red. This is a fairly quick nail design to do, even though you’re decorating every nail. It doesn’t take very long to make a stripe on each finger.

Easy stars and stripes!

Don’t forget to add topcoat to fully cover the pointy edges of the stars so they don’t catch on your clothing.

Thank you to Esther’s Nail Center for kindly sending me the three Nail Art by Adoree polishes I used in this post. They offer many different colors, some creme, some glitter and some with different colored flash like “Red Eye” shown here. They each cost $6 or can be purchased in bundles for a cheaper price.

Nail Art Design We Like

These are simple yet elegant nail art designs. The tools needed are dotting tool or Nail Art by Adoree, crystal rhinestones in different sizes and sheer glitter nail polish like Adoree #237 Ice Mist.

Source: Nail and design by Kakimoto Arms 2009 Winter Nail Book.

Pre-designed Nail Tips

Pre-designed Nail Tips

Just arrived – Professional quality pre-designed nail tips for quick nail application. Also great for french manicure. Actual nail tips are prettier than shown on the photos. The glitter is very fine one with rainbow colors. There are 5-size tips, 20 ct for each size. Comes in a clear plastic compartment. Limited quantity. We have planned to bring more new designs in the future. Available at the Nail Art section.

How to use false nail tips for your french manicure:

  1. Nails should be thoroughly cleaned and existing polish should be removed.
  2. Use buffer and buff top of natural nail.
  3. Choose the proper size of nail for each finger.
  4. Apply 1/2 drop of nail glue down the center of the natural nail and spread it.
  5. Place nail tip over natural nail and press down.
  6. Trim nail tips to your designed length.
  7. Add on overlay of your choice. Gently file the edge so the nail tip is even with your own nail.


  1. Do not apply on infected, weak or damaged nails.
  2. Do not expose to heat or flame.
  3. Leave a space between the cuticle and the nail tip
  4. Keep out of reach of children.

Nail Art Tutorial: Starry Night Nails

French Manicure with Adoree

This design is of easy difficulty, and doesn’t take very long to apply. There are several different ways you can wear this Starry Night look, depending on the supplies you have available and the length of your nails. This is a cute look for going out in the evenings and it looks especially good on cool skin tone. Alternatively, you can substitute black nail polish for blue and still get the starry night look if you prefer something a little darker.

All this design entails is applying your blue nail polish, adhering your stars, and coating everything with a clear topcoat so it’s ideal if you’re just starting out with nail art. You will need two nail polishes to create this look, (as well as some stars which we will discuss later in this post.) Pictured are the Adorée’s “Ice Mist #237” and “Harbour Blue #162“.

French Manicure with Adoree

Begin by placing your French manicure guideline stickers. Gently rub the stickers against your nails to ensure there are no air bubbles that could lead to a smeared edge upon removal. Wrap the free-edge of the stickers around your fingertips to prevent them from getting caught in your wet polish while you wait for it to dry. Do not remove your guideline stickers until your colored tips are almost completely dry. Pictured is two coats of Adorée’s “Harbour Blue #162.” (Adorée nail polishes are formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP free like OPI and Zoya.) Choose a navy or dark blue for this manicure, as any light blue paired with stars won’t result in a nighttime-themed look.

French Manicure with Adoree

Swipe on one coat of a glittery clear, or nude-tinted clear polish, something suited to French manicures. I prefer to use a glittery clear for this particular look as I think it adds to the star theme, but if you prefer you can use a traditional French manicure nude instead. Pictured is Adorée’s “Ice Mist #237” which contains very small pieces of blue, green and orange glitter. Using a glittery clear over colored tips is an easy way to turn a regular French manicure into something more interesting.

French Manicure with Adoree

Coat one finger with your French manicure shade, and while your polish is still wet adhere your stars. Then coat your next finger, and attach your stars. Feel free to leave a few nails without any stars to keep this look from going overboard. What can you use as stars? Fortunately, star-shaped nail deco items are pretty easy to find. You can use star-shaped rhinestones like I have, or you can use star confetti which comes in many colors. If you can’t find star-shaped confetti, gemstones, try nail stickers.

You need not place stars on every finger, and it’s best if you don’t place them in identical spots in order to add variety. In general, it’s best to keep your stars to one or two per nail, and place them low to overlap the border of your French tip. Placing them there will draw more attention to them than if you were to set them near the top where your polish is clear.

French Manicure with Adoree

As the final step to this look, seal in your stars with a clear topcoat.

French Manicure with Adoree

All items needed are available at, your online source for DIY home manicure & pedicure supplies and nail-related information. Featuring Non Toxic, Safer Nail Polish, Nail Art and Nail Treatment, FREE from Formaldehyde, Toluene & DBP.  Design and tutorial are provided by Asami from Nails by Asami blog.

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