Holbrook Lawson is hard on a manicure.
"I have a very active lifestyle," she said, alluding to a love for hiking, biking and swimming, just to name a few.
Even though she's a low-maintenance kind of girl, "I'm probably a bit of a glutton," she said. "I love a pedicure."
But with all those hikes and bike rides, it's not a stretch to imagine she's had her share of chips and snags, right?
In the past, yes. But not since her manicurist has been using Shellac, a nail product from Creative Nail Design (CND) that boasts the durability of artificial nails but with a more natural look -- and healthier for your nails.
"Just about all my clients have switched to it," said Bonnie Williams, owner of Lifestyle Boutique at 3419 S. Peoria Ave. Two days a week, she does nails in the back of the shop where her husband also cuts hair.
It's been around a year or two, but it's a growing trend here, Naomi Huynh said. She and her husband, Dawson Nguyen, own Dawson Nails at 10846 S. Memorial Drive and in King's Landing, 9926 Riverside Parkway.
Many people are having their fake nails removed in favor of the Shellac treatment, which is applied to your natural nail, Huynh said. "They just love it."
The main draw to Shellac is that it's much more durable, Williams explained, and it lasts longer -- two weeks, usually. Three weeks isn't unheard of, though.
Another plus is that it lacks formaldehyde and toluene, vapors of which are dangerous for nail operators and clients, Williams said.
Basically, a nail tech will prep nails as usual -- clean them but no sanding -- and apply a base coat, Williams said. Then, you place them under a UV light for a couple of minutes before applying another coat, which is your color. "Bake" it again for a couple more minutes and, from the time you walk in until you walk out, you're done in 45 minutes -- and can dig around in your purse for car keys and not worry about scratching the polish.
It also strengthens nails, Williams and Huynh said. Lawson has noticed that herself in the past three months she's been having it done.
Most places called around town charge $30-$40 for Shellac. It's more than a regular manicure, but they last at least twice as long, salon operators reminded.
Fingernail polish remover won't remove it, Williams said, but soaking in acetone will. And when Shellac is removed, your normal, healthy nail is underneath -- unlike some of the horror stories you may have experienced with acrylics.
By the way, if you're concerned about the UV rays, use sunscreen. You should be doing that, anyway.
For places that offer shellac nails, visit
Try on that nail polish -- virtually Surprisingly, I've never worn nail polish.
But my favorite line of nail color is OPI, based on how it looks on friends and, of course, the fun names. My all-time fave: "I'm Not Really a Waitress."
Here's a fun link on OPI's website that helps you envision what you'd look like in certain shades, from the palest neutrals and prettiest pinks to deep-dark reds and blacks.
Just visit and click "try on this color" from the top tabs.
Nail tip Want to get more mileage out of your manicure? Pick a light color nail polish. That way, as it grows out, you won't notice the new growth as much.
Do-it-yourself hand massage Here is a hand massage you can try at home -- or anywhere and any time you need one, really -- from the Lance Armstrong Foundation's website, LiveStrong.com:
Step 1 : Rub lotion or massage oil into your hands before beginning the massage to cut down on friction.
Step 2 : Ease tension and loosen up muscles that tighten up in the palm of your hand by resting one hand, palm up, on the fingers of the opposite hand. With your thumb, make strong circular motions over the palm, pressing deeply to reach through the fat. Switch hands and repeat on the other hand.
Step 3 : Squeeze the fingers of one hand with the thumb and forefinger of the other hand. Start at the base of each finger and rub and press down as you slowly move toward the tip. Lightly tug the finger when you reach the tip. Repeat on each finger and then switch hands.
Step 4 : Hold another person's hand in your hands with your thumbs on the back of the hand. Using pressure, run your thumbs over the back of the hand from the base of the large knuckles towards the wrist. Lightly stroke the hand with your thumbs as you return to the knuckles. According to Nail Systems International, deep pressure should be directed toward the heart and light rubbing away from the heart.