Nails are hot this season, but before you step into the salon, you'll want to know what the latest nail trends are all about. We chat with CND Research and Development chemist Chad Conger about the differences between the nail technologies behind Calgel, Minx and Shellac.
Q & ACND Research & Development Chemist, Chad Conger
Q: What is the technology behind the popular nail trends, CalGel, Minx and Shellac?
In CalGel, you have a more traditional soak-able gel manicure. The product itself is in a pot and applied with a brush and the application is more traditional. You need to remove the shiny top layer of the natural nail—with buffing—to promote adhesion. Removal is similar to traditional soak-able gels as they suggest first filing the top of the gel to break the seal.
Minx technology is very similar to the material that is used to "wrap" cars in advertising. They use a vinyl film with an adhesive that softens when it's heated [a Minx heat lamp must be used to heat the film in order for a manicure that will last 4-8 days. heating with a blow-dryer creates a manicure that lasts only hours or a day]. As it cools, the film adheres to the natural nail.
Shellac is a fusion of enamel technology, gel technology, and new technology that allows a polish-like application, gel-like wear, and an easy 10 minute removal. Three-free solvent custom blends allow for smooth, easy application. The use of monomers and oligomers, like those used in gels, contribute to the 14+ day adhesion. But the thing that sets Shellac apart is the use of new polymer technology that allows Shellac to be removed easily in 10 minutes, without the need to file the top coat.
Q: How are the removal processes of each one different?
The removal processes are very different. Like I mentioned before, with CalGel, you have to file the product and then apply an acetone-soaked cotton ball to your nail and cover with foil. And even after filing, the process can get drawn out. Minx is a very different process since you heat each nail, just like you applied it, and then break the seal along the edge to remove it. Finally, Shellac removal is very simple. You saturate the pad on a Shellac wrap with acetone, secure the wrap tightly around the finger, wait ten minutes, then remove the wrap and flake away any left-over debris with an orange wood stick.
Q: What would you consider the pros and cons of each nail trend?
CalGel - This is a more like a traditional gel and will be more durable and less removable. Pros: It is a soak-able gel so it will tend to last longer and can be used for sculpting. Cons: You have to file the natural nail during application and during removal and removal takes longer than Minx or Shellac.
Minx - This is a thin plastic overlay that is geared towards fashion prints. Pros: You can get more intricate patterns and it's easy to change styles. Cons: Wear is similar to a normal manicure (around one week) but the service is more expensive than a regular salon manicure.
Shellac: This is a fusion of enamel, gel, and new technologies that allows for women with great nails to wear them natural and gives weaker nails strength so they can grow. Pros: Application/removal do not require any filing so there is no damage to the natural nail. Allows for the look of perfect polish for 14 days and removes easily in 10 minutes. Cons: This system is geared towards those who want to be able to wear one style for 2 weeks, so it may not be for the person who wants to change their color every 3 days.
Q: Is CalGel, Minx or Shellac better for certain special occasions?
I would say these products are for different consumers. CalGel is a gel so it is going to be more geared for long-term wear and/or extensions. Minx is a much more temporary product geared towards those who want more freedom to wear bright patterns and are willing to have them re-done after a week or so. Shellac appeals to those women who want to wear color worry-free—for two weeks without chipping—while adding a little strength to their natural nails.