Gel vs shellac: what’s the difference between gel and shellac manicure?

You may have heard about traditional manicures like gel and acrylics manicure. Also, you must have researched the latest trends for instance; dip powder nails. But, if you have heard about shellac nails and considered it as the same traditional manicure, then it’s time to provide you with some information.


Does it deserve the fame that it has? Absolutely yes! We have tried it ourselves. We have also talked to Jan-Arnold, who is the co-founder and style director of Creative Nail Design (CND), to get on this latest manicure service. So, if you are planning for a nail appointment, you may find the shellac manicure completely perfect for you!

To know what’s the difference between gel and shellac manicure, continue reading the article.

Some important points to know about shellac manicures

  • One should not confuse it with gel manicures, as shellac manicure is its own brand.
  • The durability of a shellac manicure is that it can stay more than 14 days.
  • To dry shellac manicure, LED drying light uses UV rays to perform the procedure.
  • You will need to approach “ONLY” a professional for the removal of a shellac manicure.
  • If you have weak or breakable nails, then don’t go for such a type of manicure.

Meet Jan-Arnold, she is the co-founder of CND as well as the style director. Jan is a nail freak as well as an extreme follower of fashion. She brought the trend of nail fashion on the ramp. Marc Jacobs and Jason Wu are on the list of Jan-Arnold.

What are shellac nails?

Jan-Arnold says that shellac manicure is the combination of high-quality properties of gel (for wear and keeping the nails safe) as well as the high-quality polish properties (for beautiful color and shine).

Shellac manicure is a patented system. This manicure consists of 3 coats. Branded base coat, color coat, and last but not the least, topcoat, which is the most loved step by every nail-art lover. It gives a variety of shades for the different tastes of different people.

This manicure is performed with the help of a special lamp consisting of LED lights. Therefore, it doesn’t take much time to dry.

The process starts when ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths strike the molecules. These molecules are called Photoinitiators in the gel formula. Then, the molecules activate them. The correct sticking, wear, and removal are assured when the formula of the product is particularly calibrated to the light energy output of the LED lamp.

She also says that these features are pioneering which were made possible with an in-depth R&D system and technology. This technology has roots in aerospace polymer coatings as well as with 13 patents. She also says that it’s not almost impossible, yet extremely difficult.

What’s the difference between gel and shellac manicure?

Both of these manicures have a slight difference between them. However, Shellac manicure is better than gel manicure. The fact is, that semi-permanent gel is used in gel manicures to paint your nails. On the other hand, semi-permanent polish is used in shellac manicures to color your nails. We can’t deny the fact that gel manicure consists of a variety of colors to get on your nails, but still, there are many shades in shellac manicure to try.

Jay Arnold says that shellac manicure’s way of removal is different from gel or gel polish. She also says that when you get acetone-based remover applied to your nails, the coating breaks down. And that’s how it gets off your nails without leaving any mark of removal.

We pretty sure, now you know what’s the difference between gel and shellac manicure.

What is the durability of shellac manicure?

Arnold says that a manicure that is applied by the correct CND shellac procedure provides its users with more than 14 days of great service, shine, and easy wear. She also adds that they guarantee you long-lasting results without any peels. You can keep doing your house chores like dishwashing, and this manicure will last for a very long time.

This manicure lasts for a long time but still, there are a few chemicals that can ruin it. So it’s better to first wear gloves, and then start doing other cleaning tasks and chores; which require physical force.

How expensive are shellac manicures?

The prices for shellac manicures are different. Just make a mind to keep your budget between 40 dollars to 60 dollars, if you wish to get a salon service.

Is it safe to have a shellac manicure?

Always keep it in your mind that any manicure that uses a LED lamp that throws out UV light just like CND does to keep the skin of your hands safe. It is made possible with the help of SPF to make sure that it doesn’t deliver any harm or fast-aging. If you have concerns about this, then the CND tells its users to apply sunscreen cream 20 minutes before getting their service.

What is the procedure for the removal of shellac manicures?

It must feel like fun to peel your manicure, but never do this as it can damage the top layers of your nails. However, if you want to get it done, travel to a salon. It nearly takes 15 minutes to remove the nail job.

It’s consistent as shellac is made with a unique formula that creates small microscopic tunnels around the coating. It is done when it is removed under the CND LED lamp. When it comes to the removal of shellac manicure, the acetone goes through these small tunnels to the layer of the surface of the nail. After that, it takes off the manicure. It doesn’t leave any particles nor forcefully pulls out the coating harshly from the nails.

Final word

Arnold says that if you want to have a perfect shellac manicure, you will first have to make sure that the nail professional you are going to is reliable.

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