Gel vs. shellac: Which is better?

gel nail polish

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The debate here is which is better, gel nail polish or shellac nail polish. Gel manicures benefit those with weaker nails and last just that little bit longer than Shellac. However, it is a lot harder to remove gel nail polish. Shellac is a thinner polish, so if you want to give your nails more space to “breathe’ and have sturdy natural nail beds, this one’s for you. Here well go into more detail on what the difference between the two is and which one will be best for your own personal use.

If you’re looking for a manicure that lasts longer without having to redo, your best options for this would be to get  a gel or Shellac manicure. The difference between gel and Shellac are often found to be quite confusing, if not disregarded altogether and you may think there isn’t a difference between the two but there indeed is. In reality, there are quite a few differences between gel polish and Shellac polishes, from brands, application and the formula of the polishes. Here we will try to help you understand the difference between shellac and gel polishes and help you make the best decision when it comes down to making a choice.

Gel nail polish is a liquid gel which usually comes in a bottle or pot. The top coat is usually applied to seal the gel polish and add a finish, such as shine or matte appearance. Gel top coats must also be cured under a LED/UV lamp.

The difference between gel and shellac nail polish isn’t going to blow your mind, but nonetheless, there is one major difference. Put simply, a shellac nail manicure is a semi-permanent polish, while gel is a semi-permanent gel. Shellac nail polish is thinner than gel, so generally shellac nails tend to start to ‘break down’ around two weeks. Gel nails will last a little bit longer, generally up to three weeks.

Another difference between the two is the removal of  the gel and shellac polish. For the gel polish you first need to break the bond between the gel and your actual nail. Then very, very gently, buff the nail. This will break the gel’s seal. Next, cut out ten pieces of cotton pad, one for each nail, and soak in acetone nail varnish remover. Cut out ten pieces of tin foil. Pop each cotton pad piece on top of a nail, then cover with one of the tin foil pieces, twisting at the top. Yes, it’s a process but it’s how it has to be done.

The amount of differences between gel polish and shellac polish is shockingly surprising. You all have to be aware that one manicure may work for some, but it may not work for others. Differences in your nail health and nail types can have different reactions to gel and Shellac. The best thing you can do is try both to see which one you like better. The outcome is that having Shellac nails or gel nails is a year-round winner. So you really can’t go wrong with either. In the end it’s all about personal preference. Everyone will end up going with what they feel is best for them.


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