Q:

What is shellac made from?

A:

Quick Answer

Shellac is made from secretions of the female lac insect called lac resin. The resin is dried into flakes of yellow, orange or red. They can also be bleached white.

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Full Answer

The flakes of shellac are dissolved in alcohol and used as a shiny varnish. Shellac is also used in sealing wax and candies.

The lac insect is a type of scale insect native to southeast Asia and India, where it is parasitic on trees. These insects gather by the thousands on the twigs and branches of these trees and feed on the sap. The resin they excrete is partially to protect themselves from their enemies.

Female lac insects lay hundreds of eggs, then die. The eggs hatch into larvae that move in swarms to feed on new branches. Farmers deliberately move larvae from one tree to another in order to cultivate shellac.

Workers collect a crude material called sticklac from the trees, grind it between stones and wash it to remove the pigment. It's then called seedlac. Seedlac is put into bags that filter out impurities. After this, the lac, which is warm and supple, is stretched out into sheets. The sheets dry and are broken into the flakes that are dissolved in alcohol.

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Related Questions

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    How do you do shellac nails?

    A:

    To apply shellac nail polish, buff and clean nails before applying shellac base coat, two coats of shellac color polish and a UV top coat. Each layer of polish should be cured under a UV lamp before applying the next. Wipe nail surfaces with alcohol to set the finish.

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    What is the difference between gel nails and shellac?

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    Shellac by CND is a specific brand of gel nail polish. All Shellac brand polishes are gel nail polish, but not all gel nail polishes are Shellac.

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    Is Shellac bad for your nails?

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    Shellac polish can be damaging to your nails. If you have nails that are already weakened, splitting or have any previous damage from nail treatments, Shellac can damage them further.

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    What is a Shellac manicure?

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    Shellac is a specific brand name from the CND company, and manicures bearing the Shellac name use a special formula called Power Polish, which blends ultraviolet light and regular nail polish. A Shellac manicure is essentially the same as all other gel manicures.

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