You asked

I've heard about shellac. How long does it really last? Can it damage your nails?

Shellac is a nail coating that is applied like your average nail polish but has the look and lasting effects of a gel manicure. The product is thin and fluid however, it is cured in a way that gives it greater durability and strength.
 
A nail technician will apply the polish to your nails and set it under a UV lamp for a few minutes. Once your hand is removed from the lamp, there is zero dry time and your polish is set for two weeks without the risk of dulling, smudging, or chipping.
 
Many people are concerned with whether shellac will damage their nail beds, which is a valid concern. To remove shellac, the nail technician will place little pads soaked in acetone solution over each nail for 10 minutes and simply wipe the colour away. No drilling or filing is required so your nails remain healthy and undamaged. In many cases women have even noticed a remarkable improvement in the condition of the nail. 

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