Q&A #5 Why are there white spots on the natural nail?

Q: Why am I seeing white spots on the nails after removal of Shellac?

A: White spots on the nail after removal of Shellac is typically due to slight dehydration of the nails.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Clients should be using Solar Oil daily and repeatedly. This will help moisturize their natural nails and keep their natural flexibility. It will also help maintain the natural flexible feeling of Shellac.
  • Minimize exposure of acetone by using Shellac Wraps. Soaking the nails and fingertips in a bowl of acetone is excessive exposure to acetone.
  • Apply Shellac base coat thin. The thicker you use it the longer it will take to remove.
  • If your clients natural nails are overly dry, try a warm Solar Oil soak. Use an oil warmer or place small bowl of Solar Oil in a larger bowl of warm water.Put just enough Solar oil to cover the tips of the fingers. Soak for 5 min after application of Shellac
  • When dry spots are found on natural nail after Shellac removal, apply SolarOil and buff with 1200 grit buffer such as CND Koala Buffer.  In mild cases, Shellac can then be reapplied.  In more severe cases, the client should take a break from wearing Shellac for a few weeks.
  • To remove any residual Shellac use an orangewood stick to gently scrape the nail. Do not use metal or hard plastic. Improper scraping may cause damage to the top layer of natural nail, thus making the nails more prone to dehydration.
  • Immediately after Shellac removal, wash the client’s hand with plenty of water using mild soap. Strong soap or detergents are also sources of dehydration.
  • Do not buff the natural nail prior to application.  The top layer of the natural nail is normally more dense or less porous than the other layers and acts as a protecting layer, preventing solvents from penetrating the natural nail and causing excess dehydration.

228 Responses to “Q&A #5 Why are there white spots on the natural nail?”

  1. Sheri says:

    I love the shellac and have used it on tons of my clients. I have great luck and most can go 3 weeks but I have 2 clients that the nail bed has a brown stain. I don’t know why. The nails are not breaking, and I have them using oil. This has been going on for weeks and won’t go away. What is it? am I doing something. I do all my clients the same. Help!!!!

  2. Julia says:

    My salon has been doing Shellac for about 4 months now. We’ve been getting really great feedback from our guests. It’s a great service because I also do hair and while my guests color is processing or after their service, I am able to do a Shellac manicure for them. With each Shellac that I do, I learn more tips and tricks since there wasn’t any real literature with purchasing Shellac. I can say that removing any cuticle on the nail is important. Also cleaning off any mess on the cuticle/skin is very important before putting in CND lamp. I’ve been using Bond Aid by OPI which is a pH balancing product before application of Shellac. Is this the same kind of product as Scrub Fresh? Solar Oil is definitely key to helping hydration of the nails. We have small and large bottles of Solar Oil for retail for each Shellac customer. I do find that some of the darker colors are harder to apply (thin coats), is there a trick to this? I LOVE being able to mix and match to make unique colors for my guests! Shellac is a great product and I recommend it to all of my nail guests!

  3. Sheri,
    Shellac is much less likely to stain the natural nail compared with nail polish. If staining does occur, it is very likely due to improper cure. To prevent staining it is important that the basecoat and color coat are properly cured. Proper cure is achieved though the following:

    1. Use Shellac as a System.
    2. Use only the CND Lamp or Brisa Lamp for correct UV output and thorough cure (please note: wattage has no bearing on output).
    3. Make sure the CND Lamp bulbs are clean and replaced regularly.
    4. Apply Shellac in thin, even layers.

    I have heard of Bond Aid, but I do not know what its chemical properties are. ScrubFresh is a natural nail cleanser that temporarily dehydrates the nail and leaves behind germ fighting pathogens. Here is a video you may find helpful for getting thinner coats:

    Holly L Schippers
    CND Education Ambassador

  4. Sheri says:


    I do use the shellac system and follow the directions to the T. My CND lamp is new and works great. 95% of my customers have no problems at all. Most go past the two week period. Its just 2 ladies and every time when I remove the shellac they have brown spots on a couple of nails. I just don’t get it.

  5. Sherry's Heavenly Hands says:

    Hi I’m wondering is Shellac intended.for repeated use? Meaning continuous, should clients return every 2 weeks to get shellac?

  6. Sheri,
    Shellac is formulated with Acetone Soluble Polymers (tiny tunnels) making it removable in 10 minutes with pure acetone. These tiny tunnels allow the acetone to travel all the way down through the coating and finally down to the base layer where the acetone breaks down the “quick-release” polymers releasing Shellac from the natural nail without the use of files or buffers which can be extremely damaging to the natural nail.

    These tiny tunnels also make Shellac less chemically resistant than gels, liquid & powders or other enhancement products. Since you are doing everything right, it must be something they use regularly getting through the tiny tunnels. It could be anything from make-up (think liquids like foundation) to a cleaning product they use or a self tanner or some such thing with bronzers in it. Have them pay attention to anything they touch without gloves and they should be able to narrow it down.

    Holly L Schippers
    CND Education Ambassador

  7. Dawn Parks says:

    I have a few of my clients when I paint the color on after curing for the recommended time the first coat will shrink back from the tip of the nail. Sometimes after the second coat it will cover the tip, but sometimes not. What am I doing wrong? How can I prevent the shrinking? My clients love it, but I am frustrated with the shrinking! Please help! Thanks!

    • CND says:


      Are you shaking the bottle?
      The base coat needs to be applied thin, if too thick can sometimes cause that as well.

      Thank you

  8. Jen says:

    Sheri and Holly, thanks for the comments on the discoloration of the nails with removal of shellac. I too have a couple of clients with this problem and we were leaning toward the same conclusion, that it must have something to do with a product they are using. This will help me explain the “tunneling” to them and help to encourage them to pay attention to products being used as well as encouraging them to use their solar oil.

  9. Pam says:

    Will CND create an LED lamp in the future; or does the current lamp already have LED capabilities?

  10. Jen,
    You’re welcome :o)

  11. Pam,
    The current lamp is not LED. Who knows what the future holds, if it comes to pass I’m sure it will be posted.

    Holly L Schippers
    CND Education Ambassador

  12. Fina says:

    I have recently started using Shellac and I personally love the product. I am in a small rural town and I have convinced several of my clients to try this product out at a reduced price. It worked great for two of them and the other two, well, not so great. One of them is a nurse who washes her hands a lot but she does use Solar Oil daily. I noticed that she has vertical ridges in her nails and says she has had them all her life. The other client has dry but normal nail beds but says she cleans and is into “everything.” When she explained it sounded like normal housework that most of us mothers do. What could be going wrong? How can I fix this so that I can offer this service with confidence? Please help!

  13. Fina says:

    On the previous post, I did not state the specific problem. They both have had their Shellac peel off several nails but not all.

  14. Fina,
    The ridged nails may need a bit more diligence on cuticle work to be sure you are not leaving any behind in the ridges, also don’t fall into the temptation to buff the ridges out as this is damaging to the nails. The cleaning mom is much easier, she needs to wear gloves when exposed to chemicals including dishwater!

    Holly L Schippers
    CND Education Ambassador

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