CND Shellac is the gel manicure on everyone’s lips (and nails) at the moment - but how do you prevent it from wrecking your nails? We sought the help of a pro to find out...

High shine, minimal dry-time, no chips, long-lasting and low maintenance - it’s no wonder that Shellac  is one of today’s most in-demand beauty treatments.

Giving traditional nail polishes a serious run for their money, the service provides the type of high end and, more importantly, super-fast results that fit perfectly into the hectic schedule of today’s time-short woman. However, not all Shellac manicures and pedicures are created equal and with demand higher than ever, it becomes more important than ever to put your nails in the right hands. We asked top fashion and celebrity manicurist and  GTG Expert Marian Newman  to provide her top tips for her ultimate Shellac dos and don’ts to ensure your double digits dodge a dodgy service.

1. Do book in for the real thing

While Shellac has become somewhat of an umbrella term for all gel manicures, it is important to distinguish its status as a separate treatment in its own right - a service created by nail brand, CND. “First of all make sure it’s a genuine CND Shellac!” says Marian. “The term has become a bit of a generic term. Many salons say they are providing a ‘shellac’ but it isn’t. There are also a LOT of ‘rip offs’. The genuine product is very specific in its application and removal.”

So how do you separate fact from fabrication? “A true CND Shellac is the one that uses the complete system. This means the nail preparation, the CND Shellac products (base coat, colour and top coat) plus, and most importantly, the genuine CND Shellac UV lamp. This is crucial to an effective service.”

2. Don’t neglect your nails beforehand

“CND Shellac (and any type of gel polish) is most successful on healthy nails,” says Marian. “Using a good nail oil before and during is the best way to look after natural nails. CND recommends its SolarOil  as it penetrates the Shellac.”

MORE GLOSS: The Gloss Report - 35 day creams reviewed

3. Do check your technician’s credentials

When it comes to qualifications, what skill set should your manicurist possess? “A nail professional that has actually completed a CND Shellac training course,” says Marian. “They will be proud to display their certificate and a genuine nail pro will also do their best to educate their client by explaining what they are doing and the reasons. They will also put a great emphasis on home care, (using SolarOil daily, not picking and returning for removal in 2-3 weeks and no longer).”

4. Don’t skimp on correct Shellac removal

In terms of damage prevention, be cautious that your nail technician doesn’t cause any unnecessary harm to your nail bed both before and after application. “A correct application will NEVER buff the natural nail!” warns Marian. “It isn’t necessary and is key to the success of a true CND Shellac application.”

She adds, “The correct UV lamp is also key for a proper cure of the product. For removal, it should be very fast and, most important of all, no tool should be used after the wrap has been removed. If any tool is used to remove any remaining product then there is a very high incidence of damage. This is the most common cause of nail damage - there is no need for this! If any product is still on the nail, then a cotton pad soaked in remover should be used just like polish removal.”

If you have had a bad Shellac experience though, don’t despair. A restorative oil provides the most useful of helping hands. “If there has been a bad removal, then SolarOil will be the very best remedy,” advises Marian. “But there is no need for any damage if a good nail pro applies it and it is removed properly.”

MORE GLOSS: The Gloss Report - creamy cleansers reviewed

5. Do abide by the 2 week rule

“The optimum time between CND Shellac manicures is 2 weeks,” says Marian. “However, slow growing nails can go up to 3 weeks. The main reason is that after 2 weeks the Shellac starts to take a little bit longer to remove as it continues to harden. A 2 week mani should remove in 5 minutes, meaning less time for both the client and salon. Some nails don’t like the removal process that takes 15 minutes and over. Also 2 weeks provides minimal nail growth, so the gap at the base is unnoticeable.”

In terms of a break, Marian says provided nails are given regular hydration and proper removal is adhered to, how often you get them re-done is entirely in your hands. “There is no reason for a break unless due to choice,” she says. “Nails don't breathe nor do they need a break from any type of coating. Just remember to use oil daily.”

Follow Ayesha on  Twitter  and  Instagram .