CND Shellac Step By Step Instruction + Nail Art


CND Shellac™ is the original and only Power Polish service, with 14+ days of superior color. New, patent-pending UV3 Technology combines the ease of nail polish with the performance of gels. A true innovation in chip-free, extended wear nail color.

Today we’ll be sharing a step-by-step tutorial on how the CND Shellac™ system works. In this post you’ll learn how the application process works, from start to finish! Let’s take a look…


Natural Nail Prep

  • Shape your nails with a nail file.
  • Push back your cuticles.
  • Wash and sanitize your hands.
  • Clean nail plate and remove excess oils.

Phoenix Beauty Lounge Tips: Starting with a clean surface will make sure the Shellac polish stays on for the full 14 days. These steps are important to make your manicure long-lasting and flawless! Use a lint free wipe to clean your nail plate and be very gentle when handling your cuticles.


CND Shellac UV Base Coat Application

Phoenix Beauty Lounge Tips: The thinner the better! This is key with gels. Unlike nail polish where you can add a more generous layer, with CND Shellac you want to apply very thin layers. This will ensure correct application. The CND Shellac Base Coat only needs to be cured for 10 seconds, so keep that in mind. Even though UV lamps are NOT harmful to the skin, there’s no need for unnecessary prolonged exposure.


CND Shellac UV Color coat application

  • Apply one thin coat of CND Shellac Color. We are using CND Shellac Cocoa.
  • Cure under UV lamp for 2 minutes.
  • Apply a second coat of CND Shellac Color.
  • Cure under UV lamp for 2 minutes.

Phoenix Beauty Lounge Tips: Your color also needs to be applied in thin layers. When applied correctly, it will look semi-sheer. Don’t worry, this evens out after the second coat. The color is cured for 2 minutes. Apply color to one hand at a time. If you are working on someone else, you can continue painting while one of the hands is under the UV lamp.


CND Shellac UV Top Coat Application

  • Apply one thin layer of CND Shellac UV Top Coat.
  • Cure under UV lamp for 2 minutes.
  • Remove top film with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol.
  • Apply cuticle oil to all fingers.

Phoenix Beauty Lounge Tips: To ensure maximum wear, you need to apply a UV gel top coat. This will make your nails look extremely shiny! Make sure to cap the free edge of the nails to make them last even longer. Once you are finished, CND Shellac will be strong and hard from curing. No need to worry about denting your fresh manicure! Remove the sticky inhibition layer with a lint free wipe and 99% Isopropyl Alcohol. Make sure to add some nourishing cuticle oil to the nails when you’re finished. Your nails will look stunning!


Shellac manicures don’t have to be just solid colour. In this example we added a cute leopard nail art accent finger to CND Shellac Cocoa. We used OPI Oy-Another Polish Joke and a black nail art striper for the accent nail. A great way to add a playful touch to a nude manicure! A tutorial for simple leopard nails will be featured on our blog soon, so make sure to check back!

CND Shellac is a great choice if you want your nails looking flawless for two weeks and not worry about chipping. It’s a high quality product and you can tell! The CND Shellac system won’t disappoint.

For more in-depth CND Shellac Application tips, please read our article here:

Find the full CND Shellac system available for purchase with us at Phoenix Beauty Lounge. Happy polishing!

10 thoughts on “CND Shellac Step By Step Instruction + Nail Art

    • Yep, Shellac does not require any bonders. It’s highly recommended that you dehydrate your nail plate with CND Scrub Fresh or any similar product that removes oil, water and bacteria from the nails before you apply CND Shellac to avoid lifting or bacterial growth underneath the gel, and to promote better adhesion to the natural nail. But that’s a step that’s recommended for all gel services regardless of brand name, it’s more of a sanitary step than anything else. All nail salons should do that to their clients, and same goes for personal use. This hygienic step is very important. But for CND Shellac there’s no bonder product necessary. Hope this helps 😉

  1. After a week of my shellac Manicure, I want to add another coat. Can I just apply the polish lamp for 2 minutes then top coat ?

    • Hey Maria,

      Thank you for your question. Yes, it should be fine to refresh your gel with a new coat after a week of wear. Please use rubbing alcohol to wipe the nails before you do that to remove any oil, dirt or bacteria and then just go ahead without base coat. I would recommend using thin coats, so it looks more natural and is easy to cure with UV light. Hope it helps! 🙂 Thank you and take care, Liliana

  2. My nails chip after just one day. I have followed everything but it just doesn’t seem to work. Any ideas? I push back my cuticles, file my nails, clean them with acetone. Apply a think layer of base coat, cure for 10 seconds under the lamp (CND lamp), apply one coat of CND nail polish cure for 2 minutes, apply another coat and cure for 2 minutes, apply top coat and cure for 2 minutes. Wipe with acetone. Nails look wonderful, but the next day they start to chip at the end of my nails. I even paint underneath the nail.

    • Hello Tina, Thank you for your question. It’s hard to tell “long-distance” withough seeing what you do, but try painting all layers in thin coats. Sometimes if the gel coat is too thick, UV light has difficulty penetrating through all the layers and it’s not cured properly. As my Shellac educator once said: “If you’re seeing something streaky, you’re doing something good.” Which means that the thinner the coats, the better the results. The coverage will build eventually, but the quality of cure is much better this way. Hope it helps! 🙂 Thank you and take care, Liliana

  3. What can I do for those tough clients that it doesn’t want to stay on for. I have double checked the proper application.,

  4. I have always gone to the salon for my nails and just recently trying to learn how to do this. My first question will be does it matter if it’s a led lamp or if it’s a uv lamp? After reading so may different posts not on here I am confused if lamps make a difference. Will it matter if my alcohol percentage is only 91%? My nails seem to be chipping after 5 days of wear. I am determined to get this right.

    • Hello Lynette and thank you for your question. The type of lamp does matter since some brands of gels can be cured with UV lamp only and some with UV/LED. Please read the labels on the bottles and purchase only brands that work with the type of lamp you own. The only thing a less percentage pure alcohol is doing is just be less efficient with regards to removing sticky residue from the finished nail. It doesn’t affect time of wear and 91% should be good enough. Also I highly recommend checking out my article regarding trouble shooting – I wrote it based on years of experience

      Please see if you can implement any of these suggestions and let me know if there’s any improvement! With gels, like with anything else, there’s a bit of a learning curve, but once you handle it – you should not be having trouble at all 🙂 Only fun! Good luck!

      Thank you and take care,

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