5 Best Shellac Starter Kits

A shellac starter kit will let you create flawless nails. Shellac gel nail polish is a fun, affordable, and easy-to-use alternative to builder gels or acrylic nails, and shellac nail kits contain everything to make nail polish application a breeze.

Here are the best shellac starter kits plus some advice on how to select and use them.

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Top 3 shellac starter kit picks

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ModelonesModelones Gel Nail Polish Kit with U V Light 48W...Nude 11-free gel nail polish kit with a powerful lamp.CHECK ON AMAZON
ModelonesModelones Gel Nail Polish Set, 36 Pcs Colors 7ML...A huge palette of 36 polish colors.CHECK ON AMAZON
MEFAMEFA Gel Nail Polish with Light Pink Nude Gel...Portable set with a compact foldable lamp.CHECK ON AMAZON

Best shellac starter kit reviews

Modelones Gel Nail Polish Kit With A UV Light

Modelones Gel Nail Polish Kit with U V Light 48W...

BUY NOW ON AMAZON

Pros

Universal neutral colors

This shellac kit contains 7 gel nail polishes in universal nude colors.

Colors like these are the best ones to get for your starter kit because they will suit any outfit or occasion.

They are neutral and will be great both for office wear and for a special occasion.

They are also great for any nail length or shape.

Plus, this palette offers a range of hues suitable for all skin tones.

That’s why a set of nudes is a foolproof palette for a beginner.

After that, you can expand your polish collection by adding more colors.

Everything you need to get started

This shellac starter kit contains absolutely everything you need to start doing your own gel nails at home.

No need to go to a salon anymore.

You get basic neutral polishes, nail art supplies, tools, a UV lamp, a base coat, a top coat, and primer.

You may only need a few extra things, like a nail polish remover, but the core starter supplies and tools are covered.

Nail primer is included

This is one of the very few shellac and gel nail polish starter kits on the market that contains nail prep primer in addition to the base coat and top coat.

Most sets only offer the base and top coat and no other nail prep products.

Primer is necessary to help shellac and stay longer on your nails.

It’s like a double-sided scotch tape that makes the polish stick to the nail surface better.

So I really recommend you to use it for your shellac manicures.

The lamp is powerful and quick

This lamp has 48W of power.

This is a high power level, which lets you cure any gel nail polish, builder gel, or polygel quicker than lamps with lower power.

The lamp has a safe setting that prevents heat spikes

The lamp is pretty powerful and this kind of unit may cause heat spikes when you cure certain polish materials, like base coat and rubber base gel.

That’s why I always choose lamps that have a special low heat setting.

This lamp also has this setting.

You don’t need to use it with every polish because that will slow down the curing process.

But it’s superb for curing base coats and highly pigmented polishes safely.

The lamp fits all the fingers at once

This lamp is large enough to fit all 5 fingers at once.

Its LEDs are spaced evenly. There are no blind spots. So all the fingers will be cured evenly too.

Plus, the unit doesn’t have a bottom.

This lets you cure gel pedicures with it as well. You can fit all 5 toes inside the unit

Comes with nail art supplies

This shellac starter kit lets you also try your hand at nail art.

You get nail decals and nail rhinestones and sequins with this set.

Nail decals are super-easy to use and will instantly get you started in nail art.

The embellishments are also easy to place on your nails.

You can use the tweezers included in this starter kit for placing decals and embellishments on your nails. Just fix these nail art supplies in place with the enclosed top coat.

Long-lasting

The polishes are very long-lasting. I’ve tried several colors and have been able to wear them for 3-3.5 weeks.

11-free non-toxic polishes

According to Modelones, all the polishes are completely non-toxic and are free from the 11 most dangerous ingredients.

This is one of the highest safety grades of all nail polishes available on the market. That’s why the polish doesn’t have a strong toxic smell.

Most other polish brands are no more than 9 or 7-free.

Vegan and cruelty-free

The polishes are also fully vegan and cruelty-free.

Cons

The polishes take longer to cure

These polishes are well-pigmented. That’s why they take more time to cure than polishes from other brands, like Beetles, even with the 48W lamp, included in this set.

I usually use the 90 setting on this lamp to cure the brand’s own polishes.

The top coat may cause heat spikes

Don’t cure the top coat from this set with the full power setting, it may cause heat spikes.

Thankfully, the lamp has a low power setting that prevents heat spikes.

When I tried it with this top coat it worked like a charm.

No matte top coat included

Most shellac starter kits of this size contain a matte top coat in addition to the traditional glossy one.

However, this kit doesn’t have it.

Smallish bottles

The bottles in this kit are pretty small, only 6 ml each. This is less product than what’s included in the Beetles set.

Beetles Gel Nail Polish Kit With A UV Light

Beetles Gel Nail Polish Kit with U V Light 48W LED...

BUY NOW ON AMAZON

Pros

Versatile neutral shades

This set contains 6 colors, it’s a bit less than the Modelones shellac starter kit, which contains 7.

However, the colors are similar ones — nude pinks and shades of grey.

They are universal and are perfect for beginners.

Not only do they fit most occasions and outfits, but these colors also make application mistakes less obvious.

You can create matte nails with this kit

Unlike the Modelones kit, this set includes a matte gel top coat in addition to the traditional glossy gel top coat.

If you cover your nails with the matte top coat and cure it under the lamp you’ll get the velvety finish on your nails that’s currently so popular on social media.

So you get 12 looks in one 6-polish set because each polish looks different with a glossy and matte finish.

Powerful LED lamp included

Beetles LED lamp, like the Modelones one, has 48W of power for curing gel nail polish faster.

This lamp has 30 LEDs, no bottom, and wide construction.

It has no blind spots.

So this allows you to cure 5 fingers or toes at once and evenly.

Low power mode

This lamp also has a safe low power mode that prevents heat spikes.

The 120s button is the one that turns on the low power mode.

Fast-drying

These polishes cure faster than the Modelones ones.

The base coat takes only 30 seconds and other coats take 60 seconds to dry completely.

Nail art tools included

Even though this set contains no nail art embellishments, it does come with nail art brushes for painting your nails creatively.

Non-toxic and 9-free

Beetles is one of the most famous non-toxic gel nail polish manufacturers.

Their polishes are 9-free, which is also one of the highest safety levels in the nail industry.

They are also low-odor and SGS-certified to prove their safety.

Larger bottles

The bottles are substantially larger than the ones that come in Modelones sets.

Each bottle of Bettles polish contains 15 ml of product.

Cons

No primer or nail art supplies included

Unlike the Modelones kit, this set by Beetles doesn’t contain nail prep primer or nail embellishments.

So if you want to start doing your own nail art you may want to buy decals or sequins separately.

I also recommend buying nail primer anyway because it really increases the longevity of shellac nail polish.

The lamp is prone to causing heat spikes

This lamp is powerful and because of that, it causes heat spikes easily.

To eliminate these heat spikes, apply these polishes in thin layers only and use the low heat mode for the base coat

If you’re feeling heat spikes on other layers use lower power/longer curing time settings than you normally would.

Modelones Set, 36 Colors

Modelones Gel Nail Polish Set, 36 Pcs Colors 7ML...

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Pros

A huge selection of colors

This shellac nail starter kit contains a whopping 36 colors.

This is a perfect starter color palette that covers all the hues of the spectrum and includes neutrals, pastels, and glitters.

The set of polishes makes a great companion to another starter kit because it lets you expand the color palette of your polish collection.

All the polishes are opaque and vibrant

Each color is vibrant and very pigmented.

They become fully opaque with no streaks in 2 layers.

This is great for such a large selection.

Glitters are really packed with glitter and also look opaque in just 2 coats.

Giftable packaging

This entire set of polishes comes packaged in a beautiful orange gift box.

It’s the same shade of orange that Hermes and LV use on their packaging so this kit looks pretty luxurious and would make a nice gift.

Non-toxic, low-odor, vegan, cruelty-free

Cons

No other supplies, tools, or lamps included

This kit only contains tons of polish bottles but comes with no lamp, base coat, top coat, or other supplies or tools.

But if you already have a lamp this is a great starter kit to buy.

Small bottles

These bottles are smaller than those that are included in some other kits on this list because there are so many of them.

Each bottle contains only 7 ml of product, while, for example, the Beetles set comes with 15 ml bottles of polish.

MEFA Gel Nail Polish with Light Pink Nude Gel Polish Set

MEFA Gel Nail Polish with Light Pink Nude Gel...

BUY NOW ON AMAZON

Pros

Light pastel neutral colors

This is another great starter palette of 6 light pinks

You can find a shade to compliment any skin color.

Plus these colors look classy and will fit even the strictest dress code.

Portable kit with an ultra-compact lamp

This is a perfect starter kit for taking with you on a trip or for storing in a tight space.

It comes with a foldable mini lamp.

The lamp is teeny tiny and super-lightweight. It’s smaller than an iPhone when folded and can fit in your pocket.

Still, this unit is functional and cures all the polishes included. It even has a timer setting, although only one — 30s.

The lamp can be charged via USB, which is great for traveling too.

Great for dipping your toes in gel manicures

This kit includes a tiny lamp and small polish bottles.

It’s great for trying your hand at doing your own gel nails without making a commitment or investing in a more powerful unit or loads of supplies.

Opaque and pigmented polishes

These polishes are so highly-pigmented and well-formulated that it only takes 2 coats to make your nails opaque.

Nude pinks are usually known for turning out streaky but MEFA polishes go on very smoothly.

Non-toxic and low-odor

Cons

The lamp is a low-power unit

It’s just a 6W lamp so it may take you a lot more time to cure your nails with this unit than with a larger lamp.

On the other hand, it’s not prone to causing heat spikes.

The lamp is very small and doesn’t fit all fingers

Since the lamp is so small and compact, you won’t be able to fit your entire hand inside it at once.

So curing all your fingers will take more time.

Not many tools or supplies included

In addition to the nail polishes and the lamp, this kit only includes one nail file, a base coat, and a top coat.

Very small bottles

This compact and portable kit has the smallest bottles on this list. They are just 5 ml each.

Candy Lover Gel Nail Polish Kit With A 36W Lamp

Gel Nail Polish Kit with 36W Lamp - Candy Lover...

BUY NOW ON AMAZON

Pros

Many colors

The kit contains 12 different hues, including one glitter polish.

So it’s larger than other shellac starter kits with a lamp on this list.

Cute pastel color palette

The colors are very pretty. Most of them are pastels, but there are also several deep classy shades for contrast.

The kit comes with a convenient carrying case

This is the only kit on this list that has a convenient plastic case for storing and carrying this shellac starter kit.

To be honest, there are very few kits that come with a storage box on the market.

The box is spacious and all the polishes easily fit inside it.

You can organize all the supplies inside with the help of a removable 4-compartment tray.

Plus the case has a handle for carrying it.

And it comes in a cute bubblegum pink color.

After all the polishes rub out, you’ll still have the case.

So you can either use it for storing new polishes or for keeping some other stuff like sewing supplies and tools.

Comes with hand care supplies

In addition to all the manicure supplies and tools, this set contains moisturizing gloves and cuticle oil.

Includes a matte top coat

Environmentally friendly, non-toxic, and low odor polishes made from natural resin

Cons

The lamp is less powerful than Beetles and Modelones lamps

This lamp has 36W of power, whereas Beetles and Modelones lamps are 48W units.

That’s why this lamp works slightly slower.

However, this is a very nice wattage that still cures any nail polish fast.

The polishes are pretty sheer

These polishes aren’t as pigmented as the ones that are made by Modelones or Beetles. You may need an extra third coat to make them look opaque.

What does a beginner need to look for in a shellac starter kit?

Best Shellac Starter Kit

Polishes

Obviously, the most important thing in a kit is shellac polishes.

Choose the colors and effects that you personally like or, for example, buy a set of universal nudes that will serve as a great base for any nail design.

The polishes must be easy to apply and long-lasting.

Base coat and top coat

These two products are indispensable.

The base coat is necessary for the polish to actually stick to your nails and to keep the nail plate from yellowing and peeling.

The top coat protects the polish layer from the negative impact on the environment.

UV lamp

It’s great when a starter kit includes a UV lamp.

Without it, shellac will never dry.

Every shellac works best with the lamp from the same manufacturer as the polish.

The more powerful the lamp is the faster the polish will cure. However, watch out for heat spikes and look for a lamp with a low power setting that will help you prevent them.

Some kits come with portable lamps. They are great for travel and small spaces. But they’re not powerful and will take longer to dry your polish. You’ll have to be patient.

Nail art supplies

Some stickers, glitters, rhinestones thrown in with the kit will help you up your manicure game and create unique designs on your nails.

Dehydrator and primer

These two products greatly improve the longevity of your polish by pepping the nail plate.

Tips on how to apply shellac nail polishes

  1. Prep the nails

Some people miss this important step. However, if you do start prepping your nails before applying shellac you’ll really see the difference. The polish will stay on a lot longer.

You should at the very least cleanse the nail plate with Isopropyl Alcohol or nail cleanser liquid. Then use dehydrator and primer.

  1. Base coat

The base coat is a bonding agent between the nail plate and shellac polish, plus it protects the natural nail. Use one coat of it. Cure it under a UV lamp.

  1. Apply 2 layers of shellac polish

If the polish is sheer add a third layer. Cure each layer before you apply the next one.

  1. Top coat

Apply one layer of top coat and cure it. The best base coat and top coat for any shellac polish are the ones that are manufactured by the same brand. That’s why these two products are often included in shellac starter kits.

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