Versatile, long-lasting gel polish, offering 2+ weeks of high-shine wear, more than 160+ shades—a look for everyone, every need, every occasion …

CND Shellac: Everyone in the business knows it. Top nail pros make it their go-to system every day. Ever wonder what keeps the pros coming back?

The secret is in CND’s unique blend of art and science: art that enables full artistic expression, science that provides a superior client experience—from application to removal. Here’s the story …


CND Shellac blew the dust off the entire nail industry in 2010 by pioneering the gel polish category. Suddenly nail professionals could expand their service portfolio beyond shorter-wearing conventional polishes with the first-ever 14+ day wear high-shine gel polish with no dry-time. CND’s nail science insights developed both a product and a service that offered efficient service, beautiful results, exceptional wear time and exquisite care for the natural nail—proof of the company’s commitment to natural nail integrity.

CND Shellac invested more than five years of rigorous research and development into Shellac. CND chemists were determined to bust through the kind of issues that are associated with traditional nail polishes: problems like dulling, chipping, sheet marks and breakdown.

“Our mission was clear,” says CND Co-Founder and Style Director Jan Arnold. “To develop a product that retained the look and application of nail polish while possessing the durability and protective quality of a gel capable of lasting more than two weeks.”

“Shellac was developed for every need,” Jan reveals. “It coats the natural nail and offers superior protection because its breathable layers allow moisture and oxygen through the coating during wear, while allowing oil in for conditioning, as well as acetone for removal.” The result is a nail that is protected and coddled while offering the client a stylish accessory that dazzles with luminous shine.

“Before the invention of CND Shellac, nail artistry was novel and reserved for the daring or even for just a single occasion,” Jan adds. “But with Shellac, the top film left behind after curing acts as an adhering base for jewels, glitter and foil—and the layer can even hold embedded or encapsulated adornments.”

Put simply: “CND Shellac makes creative expression accessible for everyone.”

And that’s the CND mission: the brains behind this technology know that a pro’s creativity can flourish when it’s grounded in powerful, trustworthy products built with scientific rigor—whether the nail artist is delivering classic looks or edgy social-worthy builds.


When nail pros talk about CND, they use the word “system”—that’s because CND products are built to work together from start to finish, as a technology team. Just as CND Sculpting Powders pair up with CND Retention+Sculpting Liquid for powerful adhesion, CND Shellac lives its best life with the cutting-edge CND LED Lamp.

“Different steps in CND light-curable systems require varying amounts of light energy for proper curing,” explains Barbara Fogleman, Senior Director of North America Education at CND. The calibration of lamp with the gel polish layers is critical. The CND LED Lamp comes ready with pre-timed controls for base coat, color and top coat. “That makes it easy to maximize the energy levels for superior performance,” adds Barbara.

This technology assures that the CND LED Lamp delivers exactly the power your work needs—not the slightest bit more or less.

The lamp is designed to operate synergistically with the gel system. Expert formulator and chemist Jamie Welton, Director of CND Research and Development explains:

“Each button is precisely engineered to maximize the targeted formula it is curing. For instance, notice how certain buttons have a pulse flash? For example, with our topcoat button #3, this pulsation prior to full continuous light results in high gloss retention!” 

The CND LED Lamp represents the best science has to offer. Jamie Welton shares that the signature formula behind CND Shellac includes incredibly low-weight polymers called oligomers which react in a special way to the CND LED Lamp.

“They turn into a very tough abrasion-resistant solid film when exposed to the CND LED Lamp,” she says, adding that and when you turn on your CND LED Lamp, “it emits photons of carefully selected wavelengths of light—photons are tiny, tiny packets of energy.”

Photons pulsed from your CND LED Lamp react in a special way with the wet product they zoom through: way down at a molecular level, what used to be liquid is being rebuilt into a solid film.

Because each layer of CND Shellac is designed to cure seamlessly in the CND LED Lamp, the system has achieved a scientifically proved milestone by being recognized as “breathable,” in addition to its already-lengthy list of patented features.

And it’s not just any nail lamp that will deliver results like this. The fact is, CND LED Lamp produces the complete cure necessary to assure proper adhesion, toughness and wearability of all CND light-curable nail systems when used according to recommended exposure times.

The big picture: the CND LED Lamp is a powerful partner and a critical ingredient in the CND Shellac system, delivering beautiful, long-lasting looks. As if that wasn’t enough, it’s also a time-saver.

“The lamp is designed to be energy-efficient,” says Barbara Fogleman, “which not only saves energy but also speeds up the curing process. That results in a faster service, benefitting both the nail professional and the client by saving valuable time.”


Can a gel polish breathe? The reason CND Shellac has been recognized by scientists as breathable is because of the unique partnership of layers of gel polish and lamp during curing.

“Having a coating that is scientifically vetted to be permeable/breathable like ours  means the coatings allows water and oxygen to migrate through the coating to the natural nail,” explains Jamie Welton, CND Director of Research and Development.

Each layer of CND Shellac is formulated to cure seamlessly in the CND LED Lamp, with solid materials designed to adhere to the nail while the solvents ease out. This innovative process leaves microscopic tunnels throughout the coating. This is what’s meant by “breathing:” oxygen and moisture escape through these tunnels, allowing health-boosting care products like Solar Oil to reach the natural nail once the gel polish has been applied. During the removal process, these same tunnels allow acetone to work quickly and safely for a damage-free, client-pleasing  removal—at an average of only 10 minutes, depending on the Shellac Top Coat selected.


You know the service doesn’t end when the client walks out the door. The removal experience is key to client returns. And when CND says start to finish, they mean it: the CND team of tools supports the artist from initial application all the way to clean, damage-free removal, delivering the best client experience at every stage.

“I love Shellac because, beyond its obvious and stunning benefits, its flawless and damage-free removal process is truly miraculous,” Jan Arnold says. The game-changer for the entire nail industry came when CND scientists deployed the system’s breathability to allow for a flawless “butterfly” removal in just 10 minutes, all without any damage to the nails.

Jan explains: “With CND Shellac, there’s no need to guess. The removal process is straight-forward and fool-proof. As the acetone gently travels from the topmost layer down to when the acetone polymers are located at the base layer, the entire coating releases effortlessly, much like a butterfly gracefully taking flight.

“There’s no need for harsh scraping or filing on the natural nail, ensuring that the nails remain healthy and unscathed,” she adds.


CND Shellac Certification

CND Shellac Certified Nail Professionals worldwide have the confidence to guarantee their service because they rely on the complete CND Shellac System, which consists of what the company dubs “The 4 Essentials for Success.”

  • CND Shellac Base Coat, which not only ensures resilient adhesion for more than two weeks, but also features quick-release polymers crucial for effortless “butterfly” removal. Its two-in-one real-world performance ensures both longevity and flawless removal.

  • CND Shellac Color Coat, gorgeous two-coat color coverage that’s complete. And when it’s applied thinly, the color cures beautifully without wrinkling or imperfections.

  • CND Shellac Top Coat, formulated to deliver durable shine, quick removal, and a top film capable of holding nail art, enhancements, and special effects.

  • The essential that brings it all to life: the CND LED Lamp, the vital component for achieving the perfect cure, superlative wear, and stress-free removal. Each layer’s ingredients are precisely calibrated to match the light input from its own button on the lamp to ensure a perfect cure every time. No under-curing. No over-curing. Just consistent, high-quality performance that delights clients and builds repeat business.


Thousands of nail pros and clients agree that this is the system that’s right for today. Every choice the professional makes counts. Every service the client receives impacts the nail pros’ reputation. It makes sense to choose a proven, trusted gel nail system when so much is on the line.

For the time-crunched professional, CND Shellac provides fast, reliable results while allowing the extra dimension of creativity for the art and enhancements so important today. The system delivers fabulous, high-intensity nails that wear beautifully while protecting the natural nail. That’s work you’ll be proud of. And that’s work that wins loyal clients.

Beauty, business, brains—what could be better?

Learn how you can equip your business with ground-breaking CND Shellac system technology at



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