In my first ever review for Sassy I was sent to The Feel Good Factor to try a Shellac manicure. The spa, right smack in the centre of Wyndham Street is surprisingly serene and evokes a Turkish bath with its bronze basins, soothing music and multi-coloured tiles. The service was top notch too: Helen Barker, the Spa Director, greeted all her clients by name which I thought was a wonderful, personal touch. My manicurist Tiffany was bubbly, friendly and spoke perfect English.
The Feel Good Factor is one of the first spas in Hong Kong to provide Shellac, which is a product that lies somewhere between traditional nail polish and UV gel. The manicure I tried was no ordinary paint job: Shellac is made from a resin secreted by the female lac bug and is, according to Wikipedia, a tough all-natural primer, odour-blocker, stain, and high-gloss varnish. Unlike gel nails, there is no need to file down your natural nail or chemically thin them. While the thought of deliberately thinning my nails in order to have gel applied on top is anathema to me, I have, since embarking on this review, heard many horror stories of nails being irreversibly damaged from using gel. Ladies, it’s time to convert to Shellac!
The process is relatively straightforward. Tiffany explained that the the UV light which ‘cures’ the colour ensures that after a few layers the resin hardens and becomes chip resistant for up to 2 weeks (mine would have lasted longer, if I hadn’t removed it in order to write this!). My favourite part? There was no chemical smell. Nothing. Nada.
Almost immediately after my manicure I hopped into a taxi, opening the door without shielding my fingers from contact. No need to flap my fingers about, I thought, if I’m putting Shellac through its paces. Over the next two weeks I cooked, cleaned, typed on a keyboard, flipped open bottle caps and went about my usual business. I was determined to test out claims that Shellac won’t chip, as far as healthy nails are concerned.
I was not disappointed.
The most impressive aspect has to be the fact that the colour remained vibrant even after two weeks. The glossiness had not diminished in the slightest and in pictures it looked almost perfect. If you have slow-growing nails, you might even be able to fool others into thinking you had just stepped out of a beauty salon.
As it is my nails grow at a ridiculously fast pace so the tell-tale half moon appeared after a week, although if I had chosen a lighter tone it would not have been as obvious. The trick, according to online sources, is to opt for a darker tip and lighter base. This chimes with what Helen suggests, which is to mix around colours until you get the hue you want – another selling point for Shellac. Feelgoodfactor has brought in a good selection of colours and will no doubt be expanding their collection further once savvy Hong Kong ladies cotton on to this.
The best way to remove Shellac is by visiting the spa – it takes 10 minutes to remove – but it is also possible to do it yourself at home by soaking cotton pads in nail polish remover and wrapping it around each fingertip with aluminium foil. It doesn’t remove every scrap of polish though so unless you are pressed for time I’d recommend leaving it to the pros.
The Feel Good Factor charges 400HKD for a Shellac manicure. Call 2530 0610 to book an appointment.
Reporting by Sassy Beauty Blogger, Danielle Yong