Picking a manicure that’ll be beautiful on your fingers for a long time after the appointment comes with so many choices: bright or neutral colours? Square or round shaped nails? And most importantly: shellac nails vs gel nails?
Shellac and gel manicures are among people’s favourites and they’re both semi-permanent manicure options. They are both used by nail artists and they’re known for their low-chip and long-lasting quality. Although the two are similar in so many ways, there are tiny differences that make one type of nails better for manicure lovers. This review will clear up these differences so that you can pick one option with a clear mind.
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What are Shellac Nails?
These are nails that are created using special in-salon nail polish. The nail polish was developed and released by Creative Nail Design, which is a popular nail polish brand. The product is half-gel and half-regular polish, so shellac combines the benefits of these two by-products. For example, the short dry time, colour, easy removal, shine and long-lasting results. These two formulas bind together during the manufacturing process. Tiny molecules (monomers) and larger molecules (polymers) are exposed to LED light thus creating the shellac effect.
How is Shellac Manicure done?
As nails experts explain it, the process is quite similar to that of gel polish application. The nail artist starts with cleaning your nail, and then applies a base coat, followed by two coats of your preferred colour and a topcoat. In between the different layers of polish, the artist will cure the nails using LED light. This process results in a shiny, long-lasting finish that needs no dry time.
Is Shellac Manicure good for my nails?
The safety of shellac manicure depends on several factors such as who does your nails and how they are removed. If you go to get a shellac manicure done by a professional nail tech your nails are safe. The application and removal processes require trained hands and that’s why you shouldn’t do shellac manicures on your own. Doing shellac manicures on your own could damage your nails. The removal process is especially technical because, if not done well, you risk taking off the top layer of your nail surface. This will make your nail weak and brittle. A nail tech will remove the shellac polish with precise caution without damaging your nail.
What is a gel manicure?
Gel manicure is also known as a hard gel. Unlike shellac polish, it’s not a one brand product and so many companies produce gel polish. It’s made of acrylic monomers and oligomers that are bound together by placing them under UV light. Gel polish is similar to shellac but the main variances are that the former can be sculpted and shaped into whichever shape you want, the finish is thicker and glossier than shellac.
Is gel manicure bad for my nails?
Just like shellac manicure, gel manicure is totally safe if applied and removed by an experienced nail technician. However, many people tend to notice a little nail peeling and brittleness a few days post-removal. The best way to avoid this is by keeping your nails hydrated by applying cuticle oil and hand cream.
Shellac nails vs gel nails – is it just about time?
Nail polish has been in existence for more than 3000 years, and big changes have come with the introduction of gel and shellac. Brands are coming up with diverse polishes and it’s expected that better options are yet to come. Gel polish was created by Gelish who came up with gel polish in a bottle. With time, other companies picked up this idea and started producing no-chip polishes that can last several weeks. Since then, gel polish became many people’s favourite polish of choice.
Later on, shellac was introduced and it’s more of a gel polish step-up. Shellac is simply regular polish mixed with gel polish. In short, shellac’s developer took the best characteristics of gel (the colour and no-chipping) and the benefits of regular polish (shine and ease).
What are the differences between Gel and Shellac manicures?
Shellac and gel nails are almost sisters – in the sense that they have so many similarities and one is derived from the other. No wonder people tend to get the two confused. Here are a few variations that’ll help you differentiate between the two:
The formulation process is different
Gel polish is made using a gel formula that’s a combination of acrylic monomers and oligomers that can harden under UV light. When hard, gel polish creates a smooth, glossy finish. For shellac polish, the formulation involves combining gel polish and regular polish. Thus, shellac polish is thinner than gel.
Gel manicure lasts longer than shellac manicure
One disadvantage of shellac polish is that it doesn’t last as long as gel polish. That’s because it has a regular polish mix in the formula. Also, shellac is more susceptible to chipping unlike gel, but both of them can last much longer than the traditional polish.
Gel manicure is harder to remove
Trained nail techs can remove both shellac and gel polish without causing any damage to your nails. But, removing gel polish has proven to be more difficult. The nail tech has to scrap and file down a lot before the polish comes off. This can be time-consuming and the process is a little rough on your nails. That’s why gel is more prone to damaging your nails.
It’s also about the colour
Apart from the formulation and removal processes, shellac and gel differ in the element of colour. For most people, the joy of having your nails done is being able to choose different colours from time to time. Colour is also important if you want to indulge in complex designs. Gel polish is available in much more colours compared to shellac. Gel polish has a spectrum of more than 400 shades while shellac has about 130 shades. So, with gel, you have plenty of colours to choose from.
Shellac vs gel
First, it’s evident that both gel and shellac polishes are a great choice. The two options look fabulous on anyone’s nails and they last longer than the regular polish. On average they last for about 10-14 days, but gel might go all the way to 3 weeks. When you start choosing between the two, it comes down to weighing the advantages of shellac nails and the advantages of gel nails.
Shellac has its benefits from the gel content, but remember there’s also regular polish in it, too. As a result, shellac polish can chip more easily than gel polish. But, on the brighter side, shellac polish is easier to remove. A nail tech can actually remove your shellac polish within minutes and there’s no harsh scraping or using any acetone remover. Removing gel polish is more difficult. There’s a lot of soaking, filing and this can cause damage to your nails.
Does treatment cost differ between shellac and gel?
In terms of application, the costs of both shellac and gel polish are the same. Shellac and gel manicure involves a UV curing process. With the two options, you’ll still feel pampered and your nails will be beautiful. However, the removal cost might differ a little with gel polish costing more because the removal process is more complex.
What else should I know about shellac and gel manicure?
One thing you should know about having shellac or gel nails is that your nail beds don’t breathe since they have a coating on top of them. Science says that your nails are already dead, but your nail bed and cuticles are alive. So, caring for them is very important. That’s why it’s recommended instead of ripping off the polish at home, head to a nail shop for a professional removal process. This will save you from damaging your nails because poor removal makes them weak and brittle.
Can I do shellac or gel at home?
We strongly discourage you from doing shellac or gel manicures at home. Gel isn’t easy to get right, and in case you apply it wrongly, you’ll have to start the removal process which is hectic. When it comes to shellac, it’s a similar story. The official shellac products are in-salon only and getting one for your home use is nearly impossible. Instead of going through all this hassle simply visit a nail salon to get your nails done.
It’s also easy for you to damage your cuticles and the skin around during the removal process. You should only have your polish removed by a professional nail tech that will get it right. In short, for both the application and removal of shellac and gel polish always go to a nail salon to get it done!
How can I find a nail shop near me?
There are so many nail shops around but you want to find one that’s near you and does a perfect job. It’s very simple! Visit the Booksy website or download our app and search for a nail shop near you. Once you have found a nail shop you can even go ahead and book an appointment through the app or site within a few minutes. The good news is that Booksy is easy-to-use and you’ll easily find a nail shop near you!