Shellac sista: A nail biter’s trip to Dublin’s most luxurious nail salon


I always wanted nice, long nails.

Not talons, but nails that actually reached the end of my finger and looked shiny and polished; nails I wasn't embarrassed for people to see when I was showing them rings on my fingers. 

Nails kinda like Molly Ringwald's elegant dusty-rose ones in The Breakfast Club.

Alas, my fondness for chewing my own nails off at any given opportunity since I could chew has left me with fingers that I hide at any given chance.

That is, until I got them done at the Salon at The Shelbourne Hotel.

The Shelbourne is such a gorgeous place to begin with, and the Salon oozes opulence. 

I was greeted by Rani, possibly the friendliest woman on the planet, who made me feel right at home straight away.  

I sat in the salon surrounded by stunning blooms and people getting blow-dries and pedicures and to get the vibe of how fancy this salon is – there was an Eiffel Tower of macaroons beside me.

My nail technician, Maria, arrived and looked at my bitten nails but thankfully, they didn't bother her at all and she set to work on them.

I was getting CND Shellac so the first thing Maria did was shape my nails with a file.

This was miraculous – by actually shaping them and then – step two of pushing back the cuticles, my nails looked longer already.

Now, I am embarrassingly bad with pain (I can't even pluck my own eyebrows) so the pain I felt at getting the cuticles pushed back and later, the excess skin around my nail beds removed, probably wouldn't be that painful for most people. 

(My editor even said she enjoyed the sensation – ehhh, no.)

The nails were then sanitised and the excess oils on them gotten rid of – so the Shellac would stick.

Then, Maria applied a layer of the CND Shellac Base Coat and after each layer was applied, I put my hand under a UV lamp for 10 or so seconds.

I chose the shade Negligee, which was a barely-there pink and Maria set to work coating it on. 

The UV lamp dried them and the third coat to be applied was the top coat, followed by drying it under the UV lamp. 


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All the while this is happening, Maria regularly checks to see if I'm OK and if it hurts and Rani arrives with a glass of champers for me to sip on.

The whole experience was so relaxing and my nails are beautiful – for a girl who doesn't have much of them.

While I was there, I was surrounded by women who had come in groups and I have to say, it's a perf place to bring someone as a gift.

You can opt for a few different packages – there's the Corporate Couture one, ideal for those who have busy working days.

You get a blow-dry of choice, make-up application and buff and polish.

If you want to go all-out, I'd recommend The Hollywood Legends package which is where you can get a luxurious blow-dry and manicure while having a glass of chilled champagne.

Coming up to Mother's Day, it would be an ideal day of pampering for you and your mum. 


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The Salon itself is absolutely stunning – open seven days a week, it's a haven of calm with cream interior that just oozes glamour. 

It has the ultimate pampering facilities for hair and beauty connoisseurs and a highly trained team of experts in the fields of hairdressing and beauty services including luxury manicures, pedicures and facials.

The Salon also offers express facial treatments, by the world-renowned brands Elemis – something you should definitely try. 

If you're heading somewhere important early, the Shelbourne Breakfast Club Executive Blow-Dry is for you. 

It will give you an amazing blow-dry in minimum time, along with a gorgeous pastry and a tea or coffee. 

In short, the Salon at The Shelbourne is something everyone should experience. 

My own experience has shown me that with the right treatment, you can clean up your nails – no matter what shape they're in – and have them looking FAB.

The Shellac should stay for two weeks – and in that time there won't be a single nibble because I'll be heading to Maria for another treatment, that's for sure.