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Why Are My Shellac Nails Peeling Off?

Healthy Nails = Long Lasting Shellac Nails!

Hey ladies, I understand how frustrating it can be to have your Shellac peel. To help me know how to help you please go to my facebook page and share pics and how you did your shellac. I will respond with helpful hints and tips to get your shellac to stop peeling.

Here are some of the main reasons why Shellac Nails start peeling off.

1. They are applied incorrectly.
2. The product is bad, old, or was purchased from China and is not real.
3. The lamp light needs to be replaced or is broken.

But What if The Problem Still Persists?

We recommend taking a look at the health of your nails. Nails can really go through a rigorous beating throughout a normal day of a woman and you don’t have to sacrifice beautiful nails to make them healthy.

More Information About Shellac Nails Peeling Off

Whenever someone asks this question we immediately know the problem…well sort of. CND has announced various times that shellac is a professional nail salon product and the nail technicians must be trained to use it. Although this has been said many times there are women who are using shellac without the proper training.

Shellac Nails are meant to be applied by a trained professional and each step is very important. Please check the Step by Step Shellac Tutorial to see exactly what is going wrong.

Video Tutorial: Shellac Application
Compare the shellac application video to your shellac experience. It is so important that the process is done correctly.


If you have any other questions on why your shellac nails are peeling off?, please leave a comment below.

25 Responses to Why Are My Shellac Nails Peeling Off?

  1. Diane Passante on December 9, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    Bought a new led lamp 36 watt and purchased a Gelish starter kit.I switched to doing my nails on my own about a month ago. I follow the instructions to the letter and only get 5-6 days before the peeling starts. Can it be the lamp even though its brand new? Is there a better product to use. Also what is the difference between shellac & gel.

  2. Ava on February 28, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I’m having the same problem as the other ladies. I have been doing nails as a mobile nail technician since may, I was getting
    On fine till the last month, I had noticed my dark colours were wrinkling (which I know can happen if they aren’t applied thinly) so j changed the bulbs in my lamp! Since I’ve done that 3 ladies have said their nails have peeled, the thing that’s confusing me is that mine aren’t peeling & I’m doing the exact same procedure on mine?
    Would love some advice as I’ve lost some confidence now.
    Thks in advance

  3. mary on February 23, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    Hi im not a technician but im interesting to try this going to use cnd shellac..i must use primer?

  4. Isabella Robbins on December 16, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I’m not a nail tech but I do my own shellac nails. I started doing shellac because regular polish chips after one day, no matter what brand or base/top coats I use. My nails are hopeless. I can hardly get 3-4 days out of shellac though. Any suggestions? I have been doing the process right because I do my mothers and she gets up to 2 weeks with them.

    • Jasmine on February 5, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Peeling shellac nail polish can be quite frustrating, especially after taking the time to go through the entire process of applying them. There can be several reasons why your or your client’s shellac is peeling. These can range from application issues, to wear issues. If your shellac is peeling off, it is likely due to improper bonding between the nail bed and the base coat.

      Make sure that you follow all the steps in the CND process. If you use cuticle remover, make sure you properly clean the nail surface with soap and water of all chemical residue and natural oils. Also be sure to liberally wipe acetone or Scrub Fresh on the nail surface to not only remove impurities, but to remove any moisture from cleaning the nails. This will also dehydrate the nail so that proper adherence of the base coat can occur.

      Make sure that when you cure the nails, you use at least a 36W UV lamp. CND does not currently endorse using LED UV lamps to cure Shellac like you can with gel nails, so stick with traditional bulb lamps. If you are using a lower wattage lamp, you may have to add additional time to curing process. Additionally, if the bulbs are well used or old, although they may still turn on, their candlepower output will be heavily decreased, so you may need additional time to cure. Remember that curing is a chemical process, and although the nails may look “cured”, they may only be less than 100% cured through the full thickness of polish.

      Lastly, even if all application steps are followed precisely, differences in lifestyle will affect the longevity of the wear of CND shellac. People who put their hands in water or chemicals frequently may experience reduced longevity.

  5. Kass on June 25, 2013 at 4:33 am

    Hi there I have a client who is a hairdresser & I used to apply acrylics on her nails & they always lift, So we figured we would try gel polish but same thing, lifting always! She is my only client that has this problem, and I have a new lamp & still same problem. I’m at a loose end here as I dont know how to resolve this, and she loves having nails…only problem is they never last…. HELP = thank you!!

    • kirstie on December 19, 2013 at 9:43 am

      The reason is because of her job. Nails break down in water, especially gel nails. Hairdressers have their hands in water a lot due to washing hair etc so its only natural that these nails wont last. Same as those that type a lot, typing breaks the seal with the gel resulting in service breakdown

  6. chie on June 6, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Hello, i am a nailtech just for 3 years and im doing shellac nail polish,in my previous country im doing it so often and no complain about my shellac and now i went 1 of a place in middle east and doing also a shellac nails..the problem is my client here is complaining why its cheapping easily in just 4 to 5 days,i did not change the procedure the way i doing it before,now i am wondering and worried of what mistake i did because its almost 5 client complaining about it, i did the research but still no clear answer i found.hope you can help me a lot about this and gave some tips of advice..thank you

  7. Melinda on March 12, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I have had the same issues as Vladimira, I hsve even bought several different lamps. Last lamp I bought was a CND lamp for $112. I have researched this and talked to numerous nail techs and no one has any answers. I have tried everything under the sun to keep this from happening. I did my own nails for a good 6-8 months with great results, now it doesnt last but a few days….NOTHING has changed with my technique, or otherwise. I have tried 3 different brands of polish also. I am at a loss……………….thanks

  8. Peggy on February 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    I just started DIY shellac nails. I bought CND polishes and a brand new Thermal Spa Professional U/V dryer. I follow all of the steps exactly and my polish starts peeling within a few days. Any other thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on February 11, 2013 at 9:12 am

      If you asked CND, they would say to use their lamp to make sure you get the desired results. I have used the Thermal Spa lamp and it has worked great for me. What are the steps you do?

      ~Jocelyn (Nail Artist @ Polishpedia)

    • Maya on March 20, 2013 at 7:57 am

      It is very important to first clean your nails with scrubfresh or a mixture of acetone and alcohol. Make sure you cap edges properly.
      Apply layers as thin as you can. Cure base for 30 sec. and all other coats for three minutes each.

  9. Donelle on February 10, 2013 at 4:00 am

    I have had various different types of gel nail polish including shellac a few times. I have had them done at various salons as well as a at home myself.
    The longest i have had them last without lifting or peeling is 4 days. I managed to get a week once…..but i had to it start to chip and lift so re-coated and reset again and only got a few extra days.
    It doesnt matter what i or the salon do it just wont last. I always follow these steps and have tried varying the setting procedure, i always ensure the ends are sealed too.
    Im at a loss as to what else to do.
    Any suggestions?

    • DeniseL on July 11, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      I have the same exact problem, which is why I’m here, to find answers. I’ve researched, watched videos, I scrub clean, use an acetone-based primer to remove oils, cap my tips, follow the CND Shellac directions to a T and have never, ever been able to make them last longer than 4-5 days before they start to peel up. I do the same exact procedure on my sister-in-law and she gets 2-3 weeks out of hers every single time. I hate it! Sooo frustrating. I turned to shellac because I couldn’t make regular polish stay on my nails for more than a day. Are some of us just more prone to having crappy nails? LOL!

  10. Jordan on February 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    It has absolutely nothing to do with the lamp. It’s because when they apply it, they accidentally get shellac on the skin around the nail. If they don’t wipe it off, this will cause the shellac to peel.

  11. Karina on December 19, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Also, what is the recommended wattage for the lamp?

  12. Karina on December 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    I also have been having the same problem. I have great Shellac products, but I think it might be my lamp. However, they’ve been peeling fairly quicker ever since I started DIYing my Shellac nails, not just a recent problem. I bought my lamp on eBay and I think it was a cheap one (or old to begin with), so I think it’s probably time to invest in a new lamp or new bulbs. Has anyone else had this problem? Once I work with a new lamp, I will report back!

  13. Jeany on December 10, 2012 at 3:00 am

    Just bought myself a shellac nail kit and done my first DIY shellac,but some look lumpy and 1 on of the nails the shellac looks very cracked. Please help

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on December 10, 2012 at 6:32 am

      Is it for sure Shellac. Sometimes people refer to Shellac as being any gel/polish uv polish system.

      Do your bottles say Shellac?

      Shellac needs to be applied in very thin layers. All the steps must be followed exactly.

  14. Vladimira on December 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    No I am not a nail tech, I just enjoy doing nails. I have been using the lamp every two weeks, and it was going great. I will try to replace the bulbs and hopefully it will work. Thank you for your advice.

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on December 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm

      You are welcome! Let us know if it fixes the problem.

      P.S. If you like to do nail art, please feel free to browse our DIY Nail Art pictures and video tutorials. We also send out a newsletter to all those interested in staying up to date. If you want to sign up just go to our Sign Up Page.


  15. Vladimira on December 5, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I have not change the bulbs since I got the lamp, it’s been a year. How often should I change them ?

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on December 5, 2012 at 3:33 pm


      It really depends on how often you have used them and the type of lamp. But if it has been a year that is most likely the problem. This happens often with nail techs. Shellac is going great and then all of a sudden it stop working right. I would bet that the reason you are experiencing poor results is that your bulbs need replaced.


      P.S. Are you a nail tech or a DIY manicurist?

  16. vladimira on December 5, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Hello, I have been using shellac nail polish kit for over a year with no problems and all of the sudden when i do my nails now, they start peeling off after couple days. I have even got a new nail polish along with new base and top coat. I didnt do my nails for while,because i was thinking they need to breath a little,(also using solar oil) hoping that it would help, but it did not. Plase help if you can , Thank you.

    • polishpedia
      polishpedia on December 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm


      When was the last time you changed out your bulbs in your lamp?

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