My verdict: SNS nails (the 'new' Shellac)
If you want nail polish that lasts more than 2 weeks, then this stuff is for you.
SNS - signature nail systems - is actually a powder. A gel nail polish base is applied to your nail and then it's dipped in a pink setting powder. This is done twice before moving on to the colour stage. Between each powder dip, a gel polish is applied because the powder needs something to stick to. You can also opt for a French mani.
The process is repeated, your nails are buffed to remove any unevenness, then a top coat goes on for some shine and you're done. The whole process took about an hour and my nails felt hard but looked really natural.
You don't have to put your hands under any potentially damaging UV lights like you do with gel or Shellac which is half gel, half normal nail polish. It’s the UV lights that cure the polish and bind it to the nail bed.
UV lamps can cause damage to your skin and weaken your nails. Some salons have non UV lights and others provide fingerless gloves for skin protection.
With SNS there are also no chemicals in the powder unlike with acrylics that use chemical monomers and polymers.
My SNS lasted just under three weeks. I was very impressed having tried acrylic, gel and Shellac in the past. I also don't do my own nails much because in a couple of days they're chipped and you have to start all over again. In a world where most of us (definitely me) are time poor, it's great to know our nail polish/powder will last a while.
For me that's where the benefits end. I went back to the place I had SNS done to get it removed after I had a few chips. My nails were soaked for about 10 minutes in acetone which is known to weaken nails causing them to peel. After that, much to my dismay, the electric nail file came out to get rid of what the acetone couldn't get off. My nails were then buffed to get anything still left over, before they were painted with a clear polish and I was sent on my way.
The temptation might be there to peel the SNS off but this will take a layer of your nail off with it. You don’t actually have to return to a salon to get it taken off because you can soak it off yourself and using a nail buffer will be better than the electric nail file.
Obviously after almost three weeks my nails were nice and long but so weak I had to cut them all the way down. My nails are now paper thin and super bendable. They look awful with big white spots all over them.
It's always recommended you have strong nails before getting any kind of manicure involving gel, acrylic or Shellac because weakening is a known risk. This is why you should also give your nails a break between these manicures. I have never had strong nails because I used to bite them but I always want to try new things.
I would go for SNS again if I had a really special occasion but not for a while because I am now on the nail hardeners.