Learn Something New: The Many Uses of Shellac


Shellac nail polish comes in hundreds of beautiful shades and finishes, offering a beautiful seamless finish to any manicure or nail design. Its high-gloss effect and durability make it a perfect polish for nails. But did you know that there are hundreds of uses for this product across various trades, from cosmetology to industrial production? Here is a brief breakdown of the history and many uses of shellac.


First of All, What Is It?


The word “shellac” comes from the words shell + lac. Shellac resin is sourced from tiny parasitic female lac bugs, or Laccifer lacca, which secrete what is called sticklac after ingesting the sap from a tree in Thailand. To extract shellac, tree bark is shaved right off the various trees that the lac bug infests, after which it is heated over a fire to remove the bark shavings and any remaining lack bugs. This process liquifies the resin so it can then be dried, broken into flakes or pucks, and sold. The manufacturer mixes these shellac flakes with an alcohol-based product to liquify it. Natural shellac colour ranges from yellow to brown, depending on the colour of the sap.


In Use Today


Harvesting lac resin is a centuries-old process and one of its original uses was as a decorative wood varnish. Varnishing shellac is still in heavy use today, however, shellac is used in the production of many products. Its bright, shiny finish, malleability, and UV-resistance are all sought-properties. It is also used as a natural form of plastic. And guess what? It’s also edible!


As an Edible Product


It’s weird to think that a wood varnish can also be ingested. In the pharmaceutical industry, it’s used to facilitate drug absorption, and in the food industry, it is used as a food additive to apples and citrus fruit to make them waxy. Shellac is also added to confectioner’s glaze to give hard candies and chocolate that distinct shininess. The edible products are acidic. Do not consume anything that isn’t food-grade, as it is very poisonous.


The Uses Are Neverending


As we said, it’s is a wonder ingredient. From nail polish to fruit wax, there are many diverse and historical uses for this product. The following is just an example of all the goods this natural substance helps to produce:


  • ·       India ink
  • ·       Jelly beans
  • ·       Fireworks
  • ·       Felt hats
  • ·       Handlebar tape
  • ·       Cotton dye
  • ·       Odour-blocker products
  • ·       Gramophone records
  • ·       Glue


In Cosmetics


As a nail polish, shellac leaves a flawless, shiny finish that dries much faster and lasts much longer than regular polish. But it is not a vegan product. If you’re a vegan, we understand and appreciate your beliefs. That’s why we also offer 100% vegan bio gel nail manicures, so you can enjoy a cruelty-free manicure. Book your appointment today.