Best Gel Top Coat: CND Shellac XPRESS 5 review

CND Shellac XPRESS 5 Top Coat

The product description for the CND Shellac XPRESS 5 Top Coat for shellac gel polish touts:

  • Effortless, glide-on application
  • 14+ days of high-performance wear
  • Stunning crystal shine
  • Incredible 5-minute removal
  • No damage to nails
  • 5 star customer reviews

Too good to be true, right? No… all true!! This top coat is nothing short of a game changer! As much as I love my shellac gel polishes; the ability to easily remove them has required a lot of time, trial and error to find inexpensive, efficient tools and products to make the whole process easier. This top coat is by far the best I have ever tried…and the last one I will try…it’s THAT GOOD!! And worth every penny you will spend on a top coat.

The Science Behind How it Works


As stated in the video, prepare nails with one layer of CND base coat and 2 layers of CND Shellac color coat applied thinly and cured. The first thing that I noticed when applying the CND Shellac EXPRESS 5 top coat was that it was thinner than the original CND Shellac top coat I have used for years. It goes on nice and smooth with great coverage.


CND product sheet recommends that the XPRESS 5 Top Coat should be cured for 1 minute in the CND LED Lamp or 2 minutes in the CND UV Lamp (soon to be phased out). Both lamp types will produce the same results with wear, shine and removal. I use my Royal Nails UV 54w lamp and generally cure my nails for 60-90 seconds and have consistently good results. After curing, be sure to use a lint-free pad and 99% Isopropyl Alcohol to remove the top film. Using less than 99% will not sufficiently remove this layer and may result in cloudiness or dullness.


This is where CND knocks it out of the park. I was skeptical at first because for years I have had to sit for 15-20 minutes or more letting my nails soak waiting for the gel to dissolve. After lightly buffing all nails to break the shine (except for 2 nails for control purposes), I used a small amount of acetone in my NailMates, inserted all my nails and hit the timer on my phone to see if it really worked.

Okay, so I have not necessary been described as the most patient of people sometimes, and this time was an example. At 3 minutes, I just had to check. And sure enough…the polish was already lifting off on it’s own! By 5 minutes, I was just wiping it off with a paper towel and barely had to use my cuticle pusher to remove the residual polish. Notice I didn’t mention if the nails I referred to were the buffed or not buffed…they both came off equally easy!! Seriously, give it a try!

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