There are SO many shellac hacks out there and so many that I’ve tried (although not all of them, because brands are all coming out with their own versions lately). What I’ve found in many of them though, both the store bought version and the at home hack, is that while they last longer than most polishes (the plus!) they are also quite thick and gloppy and take too long to dry (the negative). I like treating myself to a legit salon shellac for a couple of main reasons… they last forever (2+ weeks is forever in nail polish world!) and I know that when I walk out of the salon, my nails will be completely dry which translates to no smudges or mess-ups. What I don’t like is the money out of pocket every two weeks (okay mine usually last three weeks, although they look pretty haggard by then) or the damage it can do to my nails, which means I leave my nails natural and give them time to breathe in between manicures.
There has to be a compromise between them all right? Right now, I’m trying out the UNT Sun Envy Gel Effect polish and top coat and so far I’ve been pleased with the results. No chipping the first few days. This DIY at home shellac hack is lasting up to about a week with very minimal chipping (and that was after a full day of house cleaning, including scrubbing down bathrooms and kitchen!). So while it may not last the full two weeks that a more expensive in-salon shellac would give, this polish doesn’t need to soak off and can be done at home… easily.
What I really wanted to find in at at home gel polish option, was one that would dry quickly. This step is important to me because it’s the reason I usually have such a hard time painting my nails at home as of late. With three kids, there is always someone needing me and always something that comes up and I need to use my hands. Even in the evenings once the kids are in bed, I’ve tried different polishes, at home and DIY shellac options, many of which just took too long to dry, leaving me headed off to bed trying not to touch anything and still waking up to those pesky dents or smudges. And then on top of it? Just a couple of days later, if it even lasted that long, the dreaded chip or peeling! So not what I was looking for.
With UNT, and something I haven’t found yet in other home gel polishes or shellac hacks, is that it actually dries quickly… and it’s still lasting me a week with the color formula that bonds the lacquer and nail surface. Together with the Sun Envy Top Coat, a patented formula from Europe that cures with just natural light, it maintains that lacquer for the gel effect without using a lamp or UV light. Once exposed to light, the combination of color and top hardens to smooth shine that’s scratch and dent resistant.
Right now I’m on day 6, with very minimal chipping. I’d say that’s a pretty successful at home shellac hack!
A few tips for creating a smooth polished nail that lasts:
1// Lightly buff the nail with a file and/or use nail polish remover to clean the nail. This removes debris and oils and allows the lacquer to adhere better to the nail.
2// Use light coats of polish, both for the color and the top coat. I prefer to use three very light coats of color over 1-2 coats that are slathered on thick. It allows the color to dry more thoroughly and quickly… by the time I get to the last nail, I can go right back to the first nail for the next coat (yes it dries that quickly!). This also helps to reduce peeling. I’ve found that thicker polish, or one that’s globbed on, tends to peel a lot faster.
3// When applying top coat, cover the nail and run the brush over the tip of the nail. This seals in the edge, the part of the nail that is always in contact with different surfaces, and helps to keep your manicure lasting longer.
4// Double up on the top coat… but again, do it lightly! Apply one-two light coats of top coat after your polish is dry, and then give the top coat ample time to dry. When I tried this polish, I used light coats so that by the time I got to the last nail, I could start again from the beginning… and then I just watched a DVRd show while I allowed it all to dry thoroughly. It left me with no messes, dents or scratches.
If you want any of these products out for yourself, enter coupon code UNT10OFF at checkout to receive 10% off your purchase at shopunt.com through 10/31! For even more information and special offers, giveaways, and sampling opportunities make sure to follow UNT on Facebook!
Now I just need to get some more colors in shades of deep fall neutrals…
Have you tried some at home gel polishes or shellac hacks? How did they work out for you? I’d love to hear what did and didn’t work for you in the comments below!
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