Shellac Manicures at Southwest Day Spa (and a FUN Giveaway!)

Shellac Manicures at Southwest Day Spa (and a FUN Giveaway!)

Getting a manicure is typically my go-to way of treating myself. But lately, I’ve found myself doing my own nails at home because after I spend good money to get them done, they almost always seem to chip in no time at all. Doing dishes, craft projects, and basically just living life, perfectly painted digits are always a target to be destroyed! My biggest pet peeve is when I get a manicure right before a vacation and it chips just a couple days into the trip. I’ve been known to sometimes even purchase the color just so I can have it as backup while away since I hate chipped nails.

I recently started a new job (working from home!) as a Marketing Coordinator for Southwest Day Spa in Brookline, located right at the St. Mary’s T stop on the C Line. As part of the new gig, I’m required to have some treatments done so I’ll know how to better market them. Tough life 😉

My first treatment was this past Friday for a shellac manicure. This manicure is all the rage now in the beauty world because of it’s chip-free, no dry time formula. Imagine having polish on for up to 14 days without it chipping? And you don’t even have to sit around and wait for it to dry (my least favorite part about manicures!). Sounds kind of perfect, right?

So at this point, you’re probably wondering how this all works!

First, the spa manicurist will shape your nails as they normally would. Then a single layer of the clear UV base coat is applied. Then the color coat is applied followed by the final coat which is a single layer of the top coat. After each coat you insert your nails into the UV lamp (below) for a handful of seconds to allow each coat to set.



When the top coat has set you’re pretty much all done! When my manicure was finished, Lana (who is hilarious!), the spa manicurist who did them, took a wet piece of gauze and wiped each of my nails individually. I’m not going to lie, my heart just about dropped because I thought they were going to smudge. But the polish didn’t budge and I became a quick believer of this process!

Southwest offers a nice variety of colors by CND (Creative Nail Design) the leader in this process, from darks to lights, mattes, and more metallic finishes.


Whenever I have a difficult time deciding on colors, or just feel like being a little different, I’ll pick two colors 😉 The dark color almost translates as black in the photo but it’s actually called Fedora and is a deep, deep mahogany/brownish/with a bit of plum. The pink is called Tutti Frutti. Delicious.



My roommate, Liza, also came with me to get a mani. She did a French manicure but with black polish instead of the traditional white. We’re unique 😉


Some of the lovely ladies from Southwest including the owner, Levina (second from the left).


It’s been a few days since my manicure and I’ve assembled an entire order of bridal shower invitations which includes hundreds of pieces of sticky adhesives, done a few loads of dishes, showered, done errands etc. and my nails haven’t chipped and still look as glossy and perfect as they did on Friday. This might be my newest obsession!

And now for a FUN GIVEAWAY for the local readers:

Leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite nail polish brand or favorite nail polish color, by Friday February 4th at 11:59pm EST, for a chance to win a Complimentary Shellac Manicure ($30 value) at Southwest Day Spa to be redeemed in the month of February. Good Luck!


Have you tried a shellac manicure yet? What are your thoughts?


75 Responses to "Shellac Manicures at Southwest Day Spa (and a FUN Giveaway!)"

  1. I want to try this so bad!! My mom just started getting this done every few weeks and she loves it. This makes getting a manicure so much more worth it 🙂 I don’t do my own nails a lot (because the chipping drives me nuts) but OPI is usually my go-to brand.

  2. Ann says:

    I have been very tempted to try shellac manicures. I completely agree with you, it’s rare that I make it through a day without chipping my nails, and a manicure doesn’t come close to lasting through a week long vacation. Essi is my favorite brand, the quality is great, and I like the small bottles because I never use up polish before it gets thick and old.

  3. I LOVE OPI La-Positively Hot, or Bubble Bath!

  4. rebeccaj says:

    Um, are they open right now because I’m ready to go, haha.
    I’m loving everything Essie. Seriously, they can do no wrong.

  5. Lara says:

    I have a red OPI color that I love – “I’m not really a waitress”, but recently I’ve been picking up fun colors at Sephora.

    I’m excited to hear about this spa – it’s right down the street from work and would be a convenient lunchtime detour.

  6. Shannon says:

    i usually go for neutral colors, but i’m loving the looks of that black french manicure! i really should pamper my hands and feet more 😉

  7. Lauren B. says:

    I just love my OPI – and although I had actually never had red nails before, I got my last manicure in Big Apple Red and fell in love! Great review – can’t wait to try Shellac at some point!

  8. I lovelovelove OPI. Lincoln Park After Dark is my favorite color!

  9. I have to agree with some other comments – Lincoln Park After Dark all the way!

  10. Karen says:

    I’m not brand picky but I do stick to dark purples, navies, etc. I haven’t done a light nail in years.

    I do chip a lot and never get them professionally done anymore. This is definitely catching my eye.

  11. That’s awesome! Congrats on the new gig!

  12. Danielle says:

    Personally I love a good Red, it makes me feel like someone out 40’s. I have been obsessed with priod drama’s lately.

  13. Wish I lived in Boston so I could win! I got a shellac manicure for my wedding and honeymoon and it lasted really well. The only thing I didn’t love was that it is hard to get it removed.

  14. Simply Life says:

    I love OPI polishes – great giveaway!

  15. Joanne says:

    I think what I need in my life is a day at the spa. Love that when you’re indecisive, you just go for both colors!

  16. Jackie says:

    I love Essie’s colors, especially the soft pink/peachy ones!

  17. I’m pretty brand loyal to OPI (have about 50 bottles) but my two favorite colors by far are Matched Luggage (which is discontinued, SAD), a pearly white, and Lincoln Park After Dark which is a really really dark purple.

    I would love to try a shellac manicure!

  18. I’ve heard some great things about shellac manicures. I’ve actually been doing the opposite and treating myself to a manicure a month with weekly color changes for some self-pampering. My favorite nailpolish brand is OPI!

  19. tbella says:

    OOh I always wanted to try a shellac mani! Normally I’m an OPI girl, but Mary Kay has been releasing ltd. ed nail colors and they’re actually really awesome!

  20. megabrooke says:

    oh my goodness! i need to try this! my nails allllways chip after a mani, and like you, i’ve taken to just doing them myself at home. mind if i ask how much this goes for?
    i like “lincoln park after dark” or “we’ll always have paris” (mostly for the name!) by opi! also, love playing around with the opi website where you can try on all the different shades!

  21. Shannon says:

    I love OPI and I usually go with something darker, like Russian Navy or Lincoln Park After Dark. I love Essie in the summer though, the bright pinks and reds are great!

  22. Katie says:

    I too am an OPI fan, Bastille My Heart (a rich burgundy) is definitely my favorite, it’s good for all seasons! I’ve heard so many good things about Shallac, thanks for the review =)

  23. Like many others, I am a big OPI fan. Even their neutral polishes have great names like “Mimosas for the Mr.and Mrs!”

  24. Jen says:

    My favorite nail polish of the moment is Essie Smokin’ Hot!

  25. Daisy says:

    OPI for sure. I like Essie a lot but I have more OPI, specifically the OPI for Sephora so I’d have to give it to them. Sally Hansen is my fave drug store brand though 🙂

    I haven’t tried shellac but I like to consider myself up with the latest nail trends, so i must soon!!

  26. Katrina says:

    I’m an Essie girl, but I’d love to give the shellac-ing a try!

  27. Beverly says:

    I have never heard of shellac manicure and now I have to try it. I am a Essie girl and my daily go to color is Sugar Daddy and I love Rockstar Skinny for the toes.

  28. Sharlene says:

    Oh I wish I could actually go and have a manicure done but I’m soooo far away. My favorite nail polish is Sally Hansen though.

  29. Lexi says:

    My sister is in Boston, so if I happen to win, I will give it to her, and win best sister of the year award 🙂

    I am loving Essie’s Tea and Crumpets. It’s a lovely light brown color, and the name of my blog! Also, there is a lip gloss with the same name, so of course, I have both!

  30. Rose S. says:

    I loveeeee OPI and Essie! I think Essie Flirty Fuscia might be my favorite because who doesn’t love hot pink! But Lincoln Park after dark is a close second!

  31. Emily murphy says:

    Love opi! Manicures are my favorite thing to do!

  32. kimz says:

    OPI’s St Petersburgundy. Love it love it love it.

  33. Monique says:

    i am currently rocking some seriously chipped nails! I could def use one of these. Im a pink lover so i think i would dig a hot flambouyant pink! LOVE IT

  34. Katie says:

    sounds wonderful! i’ll be making my appointment there very soon!

  35. beth says:

    My favorite nail polish color varies with the season. Right now I’m really into Essie’s “fishnet stocking” which is a great red color. Normally my manis only last a few days because as a physical therapist I work with my hands a lot and am constantly washing them. I have to select a day to have a manicure when I know I’m not going to be at work for several days in a row. I’ve been pondering the shellac idea for a while…. sounds like I should try it!

  36. tracey says:

    I love OPI’s You Don’t Know Jaques! I’ve tried the OPI gel mani and love the staying power but don’t love how dry and brittle my nails are after it comes off. But the Shellac seems more gentle.

  37. I love OPI and M2M nailpolish, though it is a little pricey!

  38. Alana says:

    Ooh definitely OPI for Sephora’s meet me for drinks!

  39. Brie says:

    My favorite color is Opi’s “Read My Palm.” It’s a very cool jade green color. I love any dark shades, too!

  40. Kim K says:

    Love OPI…. (so funny that everyone loves Opi too!) my coworkers have had the shellac treatment and LOVE it.

  41. Rachel says:

    ooh! I’m a loyal OPI user – currently loving Louvre me Louvre me not!

  42. janel says:

    What a fun new gig! I love Opi but my latest fav is Sally Hansen’s “cement” grey polish color.

  43. Elizabeth says:

    I love dutch tulips & bubble bath by OPI. Haven’t tried a shellac manicure yet but my sister has & says she won’t go back to regular manicures.

  44. Jen K says:

    I like dark colors like Royal Rajah Ruby from OPI.

  45. Darcy says:

    OPI’s Russian Navy!

  46. Judith says:

    best giveaway! i always use OPI when i get pedis. i think the color i like is called “leavin on a jet plane” or something. dark gray with glittery sparkles. love it.

  47. kym says:

    I am dying to try the shellac manicures!! I love OPI You Don’t Know Jacque!

  48. Elizabeth says:

    My best friend from home has been raving about Shellac manicures and I’ve been dying to give it a whirl. I basically live in Essie Ballet Slipper (boooring, I know).

  49. Taryn says:

    Ahh fun giveaway! I haven’t had a manicure in ages… and I love OPI!

  50. Kelley says:

    I love ESSIE in pomegranite for my toes and a simple, filed french for my fingers!

  51. Linda says:

    I love OPI-in Malaga Wine—Shellac sounds amazing!!

  52. Adrienne says:

    I love OPI Sweetheart- it is my standby!

  53. I like dark purple colors and I usually go with OPI

  54. Kelly says:

    Wow I’ve never even heard of this, but I also get annoyed by chipping so it sounds great. I love french manicures or any shade of pink 🙂

  55. kim says:

    I am obsessed with Shellac manicures. I am loving being able to have color not chip for 2 weeks. I just wish they would start offering more colors. My favorite color before Shellac was Essie Mademoiselle because when it chipped it didn’t look horrifying.

  56. Lauren says:

    I have heard about these shellac manicures but have yet to try them. I love OPI’s Funky Dunkey from the Shrek collection. It’s so bright and pretty but not overly loud.

  57. Julie Q says:

    I’ve always wanted to try the shellac! And I’m loving both the ones you and your roomie got. Okay, enough sucking up haha, my fav color of the moment is Essie’s Platinum di Playa (since its fool proof for me doing my nails myself as of late)

  58. Caity says:

    I love both OPI and Essie, but my ultimate favorite is OPI Bubble Bath it is the perfect neutral nail polish with a little bit of pink!

  59. Katie says:

    I’ve heard all good things about this manicure and would love to try it out! My favorite shade–especially in winter–is a deep navy.

  60. I have not tried shellac yet… I usually go with OPI nail polish.

  61. kay says:

    i had a shellac manicure done this summer when i had two weddings to attend two weekends in a row.. it lasted great! however, one of my all time favorite nail colors is cajun shrimp by opi. so bright & fun!

  62. Jill says:

    Essie Minimalistic…can’t wait to try the shellac!

  63. melanie says:

    i’m in desperate need of a manicure and this sounds perfect! i’m on a constant hunt for the perfect red. it’s out there somewhere!

  64. Erin says:

    Love shellac and currently doing the Opi Axxium (similiar to shellac).. and Opi Tropical Punch is what I’m craving in these crappy snowy months!

  65. Kate says:

    I just discovered the Shellac manicure a couple months ago and immediately fell in love! I’m a nurse, so I work with my hands all day, and with the reg manicures, I was lucky if they lasted me thru one shift…but the shellac is great. Just also discovered Nars, Bad Influence when I do my own nails at home…it’s a great color that goes with anything.

  66. Michelle says:

    OPI Live from NY…it’s OPI

  67. sandy says:

    i love opi’s lincoln park after dark.

  68. Germaine says:

    I love “Not Really a Waitress” by OPI.. but I usually go for a french manicure.. so clean and natural looking. 🙂

  69. LegallyBrunette says:

    I normally just get a pedicure because regular manicures are wasted on me after just a few days, when they start to chip and peel. I love Essie Bermuda Shorts for my toesies, but am looking to mix it up a bit in anticipation of a (rapidly, I hope) approaching spring!

  70. Amanda says:

    So I’m a relatively new reader to We are not martha and I really like your blog- I read your post and just got back from a fantastic pedi at Southwest Day Spa. I’m definitel interested in trying the shellac mani as i never get manis unless it’s a big even b/c they chip so easily:) I don’t usually do pedis in the winter either but i had a trip tomm and your post totally reminded me I needed to do something about my frigid toes:) Oh and I love OPI’s colors:)

  71. Des says:

    do they do shellac pedis here?!?!

  72. DebbieK says:

    Looks awesome! I love OPI: Nice Color, Eh?

  73. Melissa says:

    I am obsessed with OPI’s You Don’t Know Jaques right now. It’s a perfect combo of gray, taupe, and brown and I think it goes with everything!

  74. Christal says:

    My spa just started doing the CND Shellac nails and its an instant hit! IBD also just came out with Gelac nails and they work just as well and have more colors… 2-3 weeks with NO CHIPPING! I have been doing nails for 30 years and Im so glad they finally came out with this product. If anyone is in the LA or Long Beach area stop by The SkinSpa and try them out!

  75. I got this done a few months back and it was awesome. I loved that my nails were dry right away and that they lasted for almost 2 weeks. Taking the nail polish off was another story… so gross. I would totally do this again though… I only wish the price was more reasonable! PS – your new gig sounds awesome!

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