Shellac vs. Gel Nails

Brands and Colors

Gel polish is the general term for long-wear nail polish cured under a lamp. Both gel polish and Shellac are additions to a traditional salon manicure. Shellac is a brand by Creative Nail Design, or CND, and is called “Power Polish.” It is the original long-wear polish and comes in 61 colors.

Harmony Gelish, OPI Gels, and Essie Gels are other typical brands of gel polish. Gelish comes in 141 colors, OPI in 71 colors, and Essie in 36 colors.

Appearance and Cost

After either a gel manicure or Shellac application, nails appear natural and glossy. They maintain a freshly-manicured appearance for up to 14 days, depending on wear and tear. Nails with gel or Shellac are not as flexible as natural nails, but they do tend to be more flexible than acrylic nails.

Gel polish and Shellac cost extra in a salon. Salons may add up to 50 percent to the manicure price. Gel or Shellac manicures usually cost between $25 to $60.

This is a video by the makers of Shellac explaining why their product is better than other gel polish.


Nail technicians start with a manicure. They then roughen nail bed with a file or buffer. Next they dehydrate and clean the nail bed with alcohol then apply the base coat. All polish coats must be cured either under a UV or LED lamp for 30 seconds. After the base coat come two coats of color each cured under either a UV or LED lamp. Last comes the top coat, which is also cured under UV or LED lighting. Finally the nail tech removes a sticky film residue using alcohol.

The application process for Shellac is mostly the same. However, one key difference is the nail tech doesn’t roughen up the nail. The dehydration and cleaning with alcohol is the only preparation of the nail bed. Another key difference is that Shellac requires curing under a UV light for one minute.

Both gel polishes and Shellac smell mostly like nail polish. The best results for gel nails are obtained with a visit to the salon because of the special equipment and products.


For gel polish, nail techs remove the shine from the polish with a file. They then soak the nails in acetone for five to 10 minutes and scrape the polish away with a cuticle pusher. Some nail techs apply a cotton ball soaked in acetone directly to the nail and secure with aluminum foil.

Removing Shellac is mostly the same. However, nail techs don’t need to remove the shine of the polish. Also, CND makes remover wraps so that fingers don’t soak in acetone. Nails need to soak for approximately eight minutes.

Gel polish and Shellac are best removed by professionals, but there are always less expensive options as shown in this video.


During application, customers don’t need to wait for the nails to dry. They are ready after the final curing process. Both gel nails and Shellac result in dry cuticles from the dehydration process. Neither is suitable for weak or damaged nails. A key difference is that gel polish application requires roughing up the nail bed with a file, while Shellac does not.

During the life of the manicure, nails typically remain chip-free up to 14 days with both gel polish and Shellac. They both make the nails feel stronger. For both, as they grow out, a band between the color and the cuticle starts showing.

After removal, cuticles are dry from the use of acetone with both gel and Shellac. However, nails typically don’t feel as weak and thin after removal of Shellac as they do with gel polish.

  • Lunchtime Beauty Q&A –’s The Cut
  • Everything you need to know about gel nails – The Independent Florida Alligator
  • 5 things to know about shellac nails – Angie’s List
  • The Best Gel Nail Polish Brands – Nails & Polish
  • Gelish
  • OPI Professional
  • Essie

I ask myself a billion and one questions whenever I walk into a nail salon for an appointment. Should I do a nude color? What about a bold one? Should I go extraaa long? Should I do polish or gel? Wait, should I get shellac nails? What even are shellac nails? Actually, I didn’t know what shellac nails were until I worked in beauty, so I’m going to stop real quick and address what they are so you know too. Shellac is basically a gel-polish hybrid that launched a few years back, resulting in a long-lasting, super-glossy manicure. But don’t sweat it if you haven’t heard about it before (I just recently wrapped my brain around what exactly a dip powder manicure is)—I’m here to break down everything you need to know about shellac nails so you can school your friends/mom/cousin/whomever.

What are shellac nails?

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Shellac nails are a form of nail polish—there are more than 100 shades you can choose from at verified salons—developed and patented by nail guru Jan Arnold of Creative Nail Design (CND). The secret sauce of shellac nails is that they combine two types of polish—gel (so your mani lasts long) and traditional polish (which gives your nails shine and a nice pop of color). The formulas bind together when the teeny molecules (called monomers) and larger molecules (called polymers) it’s comprised of are exposed to LED light, creating a shellac effect—hence the term: shellac nails.

Here’s how it all works: You’ll need three coats of polish when you get a shellac manicure, two polish coats and one top coat, each of which will need to be cured between layers inside by putting your nails under an LED light. The result? Shiny nails that are long-lasting.

What is the difference between shellac and gel nails?

Think of shellac nails and gel nails as cousins—they’re in the same nail family, but there are a few differences:

1. They’re formulated differently.

Gel nails are made with, you guessed it, a liquid gel formula. It’s a mix of acrylic monomers that hardens under UV light, creating that smooth, glossy finish. As I mentioned before, shellac nails are made up of a combination of a gel polish formula and a traditional polish formula.

2. Gel nails do last a little bit longer.

Because shellac nails have traditional polish in their formula, they are a little bit more susceptible to chipping than gel nails are.

3. Gel nails are harder to remove.

When you’re removing your gel nails, you have to do a lot of scraping and filing down, which can give your real nails major wear and tear, making them a bit damaged and more fragile.

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How long do shellac nails last?

Shellac nails are suuuper long-lasting. They’ll last anywhere from 10 to 14 days (better than any traditional manicure). You don’t want to keep them on longer than two weeks though—by this time, your reals nail will have started to grow out and it’s not the cutest look.

How do I remove shellac nail polish?

You’ll want to go to a salon to get your shellac nails removed. It’s super quick—shellac nails can be removed by a manicurist in max 15 minutes because of a special remover made just for shellac polishes (no scraping included). The acetone-based remover breaks up the coating of your shellac nails into a bunch of tiny pieces, making it easy to remove. If you are in a pinch and can’t pop into a salon, follow these steps to get rid of your manicure:

  • Soak cotton pads with CND’s Offly Fast Remover (or acetone).
  • Place a cotton pad on each nail and wrap it around your nail with a piece of aluminum foil.
  • Wait 10 minutes, then twist off the aluminum foil and cotton pads.
  • Wipe your nails down again with the remover, and you’re good to go!

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Do shellac manicures ruin your nails?

If you go to a salon to get your shellac nails removed, no, you typically won’t leave with damaged nails. But if you decide to peel off your nails at home, it can also take off the top layers of your nail’s surface (ouch!), making it weak and brittle. Moral of the story: Whether you’re removing them in salon or at home, take the time to remove them properly. Don’t. Just. Peel. Them. Off!

Are shellac manicures safe?

Okay, so we all know that UV exposure isn’t good for you (it can cause skin cancer), and UV lamps are needed in the shellac manicure process to harden your nails. However, a recent study found that the risk from the UV lamps on your hands is minimal, so you don’t have to give up your salon trips. If it makes you feel better, though, you can smooth on a reef-safe SPF before you get your nails done to have 100 percent peace of mind.

This Drugstore Facial Sunscreen Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 30 $19.22 This Waterproof Facial Sunscreen Shiseido WetForce Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen SPF 50+ $36.00 This Chemical Facial Sunscreen Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 $34.00 This Physical Facial Sunscreen Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF 30 $34.00

The bottom line

If you’re trying to switch up your manicure, shellac nails are definitely worth the try. They’re long-lasting, cute AF, and as long as you get them removed properly, they won’t cause any major damage. What’s not to love?

Ama Kwarteng Ama Kwarteng is the Beauty Assistant at Cosmopolitan, covering all things hair, skin, makeup, for both print and digital.Photo: CND

Q: I usually like to get Shellac because I think it’s better for my nails, but my manicurist told me it’s the same as a gel manicure. What’s the difference?

A: Like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, these two are practically the same. All “gel” manicures — whether brand-name or not — have very similar technical properties: UV light cures and hardens the polish, which makes it last up to two weeks. The downside of this durability is that removing these varnishes requires an acetone finger-bath.

The one difference is that Shellac, created by nail-polish company CND, uses a formula they call a “Power Polish,” which is basically a blend of UV-cured and regular nail polish. Unlike other gel polishes that dry down to a thick, turtlelike shell on nails, Shellac paints on less goopy and appears a bit thinner, like your everyday manicure. The removal process for Shellac is also slightly different in that CND sells their own acetone wraps, which isolate the powerful remover to just the nail-bed area so you don’t have to entirely soak your fingertips in a bowl. This saves your fingers slightly, as acetone dries out nails and skin.

Whichever you choose, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the backs of hands prior to sticking them in a UV lamp, which emits harmful rays. Once you remove the polish, use nail oils and creams to keep your hands hydrated and healthy.

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  • How to do your own Shellac Gel Nail Polish at home

    We have all see the stories recently of a person getting HIV from a nail salon after getting her nails done. This is a sure way to not get infected with someone else’s germs.

    It’s so easy that even Matt, my hubby does it for me. He even will spend time with our two girls and do their nails when I’m gone just to pass the time. And my husband is the furthest from what you would think. When people seem surprised that he does my nails he just says, can you paint door trim? It’s about that hard. A steady hand and spending time with people you love is what it is all about. And you know its hard to paint your own nails with your non-dominant hand.

    How to paint your nails with Shellac Gel Nail Polish:

    First make sure your nails are shaped the way you want with the cuticles trimmed back. Then gently rub the nail file over the top of your nails. Not to take off any nail layers, but to gently roughen the surface to allow better sealing. You then rub your nails with the Cleanser liquid to clean the nails before applying the next coat. Next apply the pH Bond to the entire nail. There is no need to be careful if you get this on your skin, it is just to remove any oils and dry your nails to prep for the foundation. Next carefully apply the clear Foundation to just the nails as you would any polish. Once you are ready insert your nails into the UV light bank and wait a full two minutes while it cures. A tip is to make sure the foundation doesn’t pool up in the area where your nail meets the skin on the edges. Next apply the color you would like as the base color. A light pink makes a fun base for a French Tip. Or if you prefer the natural look with the tip you can leave the base alone with just the foundation there. Next in my case with French Tips, gently apply a light coat to the tips of your nails in a gentle arch. Be sure to apply it lightly. Too much and it will crackle in the UV light. If it does it shouldn’t matter too much one you apply the topcoat you won’t be able to see the crackles. Once you apply the tip color, use a small brush like a square tip brush is what we like to use. Dip the brush in rubbing alcohol, gently pat the extra alcohol off and wipe the nail from one side to the other to form the arch you like. Once you have the the color of the nail the way you like it, insert your nails under the UV light bank for another 2 minutes. Remember each time you apply a layer, no matter how small, before you apply another you need to cure it in the UV light bank for a full two minutes. After you have the color layers the way you like them, you apply the Top It Off Top Coat. After applying the Top It Off topcoat, cure your nails in the UV light bank for at least two minutes. After you are done curing the nails, gently rub the nails with tissue or a cotton ball with the Cleanser or some rubbing alcohol on it. This removes the sticky layer from the curing process and gives your nails a smooth feel. Next apply generously to the nail bed and cuticles the Nourish bottle. This is an oil based application that absorbs into your skin around the nail to help guard against the dryness from the lights and the pH Bond coat. Now you can enjoy your nails.

    To remove your old Gel Shellac nails, or artificial nails, you soak them in the Remover. You can purchase that or you can pick up some Acetone from your local DIY tool store like Home Depot or Lowes in the paint section. That is really all the Remover is but with some pretty coloring.

    SHANY UV Gel Light Nail Dryer, 36 Watts Pro Series on sale for as low as $34.85 PRICE DROP $29.95 free shipping options!

    Now you can do your own shellac gel nails at home. With the gel nail polish and this UV curing light you can save money and do your own nails at home! Why pay for someone else to do it when you can do it ! Now you can even do your friends or your little girls nails with out spending a fortune at a salon.

    I like to do clear, so this start kit is ideal for me…Gelish Basix Kit

    • Gelish pH Bond
    • Gelish Foundation
    • Gelish Top It Off
    • Gelish Nourish
    • Gelish Cleanser
    • Gelish Remover

    Not required but some people like to use a ROYAL NAILS ANTI UV GLOVES FOR UV LIGHT

    • One size fits most. 1-Pair
    • Machine-washable
    • gloves slip on and off easily.
    • Anti-UV Gloves protect hands from UV rays during gel treatments.

    If you like more colors this might be the best starter kit for you IBD Just Gel Polish Starter Kit

    • Easy to use
    • Do it yourself manicure
    • Includes top and base coat
    • 6 Colors
    • Must have for every salon or home!

    For more deals follow us on Pinterest!


    You can take advantage of FREE Shipping with Prime and get it in two days… remember you can try prime for FREE for 30 days.

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    Looking for More Online Deals? . Please note that Amazon prices tend to change often so prices may be higher or lower without notice.

    • DIY: CND shellac gel nails

      DIY: gel nails

      If you love the feeling of a professional shellac manicure from the salon but cannot afford to pay 30+ dollars every two weeks this article is for you! I have very basic nail painting skills from years of practice and strong desire to stop frivolously spending money on manicures that I chip immediately upon leaving the salon so I decided to research doing my own shellac nails at home. As it turns out, a self serve shellac manicure is no more difficult than a regular manicure and after a first time investment in the CND products anyone can have beautiful, strong, shiny nails!

      Through some research I discovered that CND products and UV lamp are available for personal purchase on from various retailers. I also discovered a list of the products necessary to complete the manicure, and information about the step-by-step procedure.

      Products required:

      1. UV Lamp, 36 watts or higher. Available on Amazon for $50-75.
      2. UV Base Coat by CND. Available on Amazon for approximately $12.
      3. UV Color Coat by CND. Available on Amazon for approximately $13.
      4. UV Top Coat by CND. Available on Amazon for approximately $12.

      Total Investment: $90-110. About the same as 3-4 manicures.

      Step-by-step procedure:

      1. Start with clean dry nails. Remove excess cuticles and file nails into desired shape.
      2. Swipe nails with nail polish remover to remove any oils and residue.
      3. Apply a thin layer of the UV base coat. Cure each hand in UV lamp for 10 seconds.
      4. Apply the first thin layer of the UV color coat. Cure each hand in UV lamp for 2 minutes.
      5. Apply the second thin layer and swipe nail tips with the UV color coat. Cure each hand 2 minutes.
      6. Apply a layer of the UV top coat to entire nail, swiping the applicator over the tips. Cure each hand 2 minutes.
      7. Wipe each nail with alcohol to remove sticky residual film.

      Review: The manicure looks and feels salon-quality and lasts approximately 2 weeks. Its definitely a worthwhile investment! With a small amount of practice and a little patience at-home shellac nails can be yours!

      Downside.. They stay shiny and chip free for about two weeks so you may get tired of the color if you have nail color ADD like myself. Happy shellac-ing everyone!


      Choosing a manicure you’ll still love to see on your fingertips two weeks post-appointment comes with a laundry list of choices: funky nail design or solid color? Round or squoval nail shape? And the most fraught manicure choice of them all: shellac nails vs. a gel manicure?

      Shellac nails and gel nails are crowd favorites for semi-permanent manicures. They’re both used by top nail artists and they’re both known for low-chip, long-lasting quality. But there’s a few minute differences that make shellac nails a better fit for some manicure lovers out there. Allow us to clear up the differences between shellac nails and gel nails—so you have one less thing to decide ahead of your next manicure.

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      @she_nelled_it with Mambo Beat and Naked Naïveté

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      The Polish

      The shellac nails vs. gel nails debate first comes down to the formula used for their similarly shiny, durable looks. Shellac nails are a patented form of polish from Creative Nail Design, with over 100 shades available at CDG-verified salons. Shellac polishes mix two types of nail coating: gel (for durability and nail protection) and traditional nail polish (for color and shine). The finished look errs on the natural side.

      On the other hand, gel nails are made with—you guessed it—liquid gel. It’s not exclusive to one polish distributor. Gel polishes are made with a mix of acrylic monomers and oligomers that harden under UV light to create a hard, glossy coat.

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      Our shades Forever Yours and a Bouquet of flowers, created by @nails_by_nicki 💐

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      The Timestamp

      If you’re looking for a long-lasting manicure, you can’t go wrong with either shellac or gel nails. Both manicure variations last between 10 and 14 days. But shellac nails are partially made with standard polish, so they’re more vulnerable to chipping than gel nails.

      The Removal

      Where shellac nails lost a half-point for chipping, they earn extra points back for a breezy removal process. Shellac nails can be removed with by a manicurist within five to fifteen minutes—without scraping, thanks to a special acetone-based remover made specifically for shellac polishes.

      Gel nails aren’t known for stress-free removal. Peeling off a gel manicure can do serious damage to the surface of your nails—so it’s more common to have gel nails removed at the salon via a good, long acetone soak and scrupulous filing.

      If you can’t make it into the salon for a professional removal, there are some at-home hacks for taking off a gel manicure. These DIY strategies, however, lose to shellac nails in a polish removal race.

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      The Takeaway

      Shellac nails and gel manicures have earned their shared reputation for long-lasting nail color. Choosing between the two comes down to precisely how often you’d like to switch up your nail design. We’ll let you be the judge on the cadence that’s best for you.

      Related Story

      Acrylic vs. Gel vs. Shellac Nails: What’s The Difference? Esha Saxena Hyderabd040-395603080 March 7, 2019

      Whether you love indulging in on-trend manicures or are entirely new to the nail game, there’s no denying the aesthetic benefits of a manicure. But, have you ever wondered what really is the difference among the bazillion options you see on the salon menu? There happens to be way too much choice (not that we’re complaining!), which can get quite confusing. Before your next trip to the salon, you need to know the difference between acrylic nails, gel nails, and shellac nails, so you can understand what you are getting yourself into. Read on to gain an insight into every type of manicure.

      What Are Acrylic Nails?

      Acrylic nails are done with a mix of liquid and powder monomer that’s rounded into a ball of dough, shaped onto your nails with a brush, and air-dried. When you’re getting acrylics, the nail technician usually fashions them into tips to achieve a more natural look. After this, each nail is shaped and painted with polish. If you want more length or are looking to change the shape of your nails, acrylics are ideal for you.

      Acrylic nails last about two weeks with proper care. Nail refills performed by a technician can make them last a few weeks longer.

      • Durable
      • Versatile
      • Uniformity in length and shape
      • Long-lasting
      • High maintenance
      • Dealing with the chemical odor while getting them done
      • Can damage your natural nails
      • Expensive

      What Are Gel Nails?

      Gel manicures promise chip-free, ultra-glossy nails for up to two weeks. Whether you have natural nails (short or long) or would like to get tips glued on first, gel manicures are for everyone. The technician starts off by applying a base coat that primes your nails for the gel. Then the gel polish is cured under a UV light. After each coat is painted on, you have to place your hand under the UV lamp for 30 seconds. Finally, a glossy topcoat and one minute under the light wraps up the process.

      • Shiny and glossy finish
      • No damage to the nail bed
      • No chemical odor while getting them done
      • Long-lasting
      • Quick drying time
      • No chips and smudges
      • Expensive
      • Exposure to UV rays

      But, the big question still remains…

      What Is The Difference Between Acrylic And Gel Nails?

      To put it plainly, acrylic is a mixture of liquid and powder, while gel is gel. Both these formulas can be made to match the shape of the nail or lengthen it. So, if you want longer or stronger nails, you can opt for either acrylic or gel extensions. However, gel nails are typically more flexible and can endure significantly more force than acrylics. They also cost around 15-20% more than acrylics.

      Now, you must be wondering where shellac polish fits into this picture. Here’s what you need to know.

      What Is Shellac Nail Polish?

      Shellac is a patented nail product by the company CND (Creative Nail Design). It is basically a hybrid of gel and regular nail polish. As it is like polish, it can’t be used to extend your nails. However, it does a great job at adding strength and durability. Shellac also happens to be a lot less damaging to nails when compared to traditional gels or acrylics.

      • Lasts for 14 days
      • Mirror finish
      • Long-staying
      • No drying time
      • Does not chip, peel, or fade
      • Free of formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP
      • UV exposure
      • Not meant for brittle or thin nails

      Here’s how shellac nail polish differs from gel nail polish.

      Shellac Nails Vs. Gel Nails – All You Need To Know

      While the processes for getting both manicures are similar, there are two significant differences between the two. The first one has to do with the formula. Shellac is a type of permanent nail polish (half gel-half polish), while gel polish is basically a gel in the form of polish. The second big difference is in the removal time. Shellac is faster and easier to remove than gel nails.

      How Do You Know Which Ones Are Right For You?

      In the end, all these manicures are going to give you beautiful, smooth, and long-lasting results. But if you have to pick, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve. Here are some pointers to help you make a decision:

      • If you want longer nails, acrylics are your best bet.
      • If you want stronger nails and a long-lasting mani, gel or Shellac is the way to go as it will give you chip-free, durable nails.
      • Shellac works best if you want the most natural finish.

      Since your nails provide important clues to your overall health, it is essential to take care of them just as much as you look after your skin and hair. For the best results, make sure you go to a well-trained technician and a reputed nail salon to get your manicure.

      That was our take on acrylic versus gel nail polish. Which manicure are you looking forward to getting? Let us know in the comments section below.

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      Esha Saxena

      Esha Saxena is a writer, journalist, and a full-time wallflower. She holds a Master’s degree in Media and Mass Communication and firmly believes that makeup is nothing less than art. Combining her love for writing with her passion for makeup, she brings to you reviews, techniques, and her ever-growing knowledge on this form of art. In her spare time, she loves reading, listening to obscure indie bands, and writing poetry – all of this while being a crazy dog lady.

      Hey, Bella’s! Since I’ve been practicing and playing around with Acrylic. I wanted to do a blog post on the differences between Acrylic, Hard Gel, and Shellac.

      In the nail world, it’s getting a bit overwhelming for me, and I’m sure for other new techs out there can relate. There’s so many different products, brands, and non-stop new stuff entering the market. So, I did some research and asked professional nail techs to help me out with this blog post.

      Hard Gel and Acrylic

      Hard Gel and Acrylic have a few things in common.

      ♥ Hard Gel and Acrylic are both artificial nails, in other words, fake nails!

      ♥ They belong in the same Acrylic familia – under subfamilies such as acrylate and methacrylate.

      ♥ They are applied to the natural nail and can be used to extend the length and do different shapes.

      ♥ Can be built either thin or thick, whatever your client prefers.

      ♥ Can be used just for overlays.

      ♥ They can be mixed together, and be used for nail art.

      ♥ They look the same. If applied correctly.

      Hard Gel

      ♥ Hard Gel comes in a thick or thin goopy consistency. like syrup.

      ♥ It’s a 2 part system but it’s mixed into the same container.

      ♥ It’s applied with a gel brush that has a Taklon (stiff brush) and is cured (dried) under a LED/UV lamp.

      ♥ When working with gel, make sure you avoid bright lights above you or even sunlight going through the window towards the product because it will harden, which will be a total waste! So be very careful.

      ♥ It sticks to everything.

      ♥ The type of acrylic it contains is called Acrylates.

      ♥ The only way to remove it is by filing it off.


      ♥ Acrylic comes in a powder (polymer) and liquid (monomer) form.

      ♥ It’s a 2 part system, but different than with the gel, it’s in separate containers. When the powder and liquid are mixed together it becomes Acrylic which looks like a bead.

      ♥ It cures while you work with it, so you need to be quick when applying it, so no need for a LED/UV LAMP.

      ♥ It has a strong odor to it so make sure you have some ventilation system installed in the salon or have a window open

      ♥ The type of Acrylic it contains is called Methacrylates.

      ♥ To remove it you can soak it in acetone for 20 mins.

      Hard Gel vs Acrylic

      Here is a table of the differences between Hard gel vs Acrylic Nails.

      HARD GEL


      Is prep work the same way?



      Do they apply the same way?

      Nope. Different technique in applying the product.

      Nope. Different technique in applying the product

      Is the package the same?

      Nope. The package is made to prevent any light shining on them.

      Nope, the liquid comes in a bottle and the powder in any container

      Are they Flexible?

      Yes, even though you can only file them off when having them removed.

      Nope. It’s more tricky to work with and is more of a solid/hard surface when dried.

      Are they easy to file and shape?

      Yes, minimum filing.

      No. Lots of heavy-handed filing and buffing.

      How do they look and feel?

      Strong, lightweight and natural, when its cured it has a shiny gloss to it.

      Heavy and thick depending on how much you put on, when its dry it, its matte. That’s why at the end you need to apply top coat.

      Do they have a strong odour?

      Nope. But just because you don’t smell it doesn’t mean there are no fumes in the room.

      Harsh fumes from the liquid. You smell it right away.

      Is it easy to remove?

      Nope. It needs to be filed off. Yes, it can be soaked off in acetone.

      Are they easy to repair?

      Nope. You will need to go back to the salon and have a professional fix it.

      According to the other sites – Yes, you can get away with it by applying some nail glue to it BUT youtuber Talia Sander said: “she doesn’t recommend it, as you are just trapping bacteria under the nail”

      How are they cured?

      Under a LED/UV lamp.

      By air.

      Are they the same price?

      Expensive, the products are expensive to buy and because it needs a lamp to cure.

      Depending on the brand you buy and the location you live.


      Do they use the same brush?

      Nope. It needs to be more of a stiff brush.

      Nope. It has to be a Kolinsky sable hair (natural hair)

      How Long do they last?

      2 – 3 weeks

      2 -3 weeks

      At the end do they look the same?

      Yes, you can’t tell the difference.

      Yes, you can’t tell the difference.

      What is Hard Gel and Soft Gel?

      So, there are two types of Gel – Hard Gel and Soft Gel.

      ♥ Hard Gel is called “Hard” because its strong enough to build a nail extension (as you have read all about it above).

      ♥Soft Gel you can’t build a nail extension. It’s too liquidy and not thick or strong enough to hold the extension. It’s only used to be painted on the Natural nail, Hard Gel nails or on Acrylic nails. But, just like the Acrylic, it can be soaked off in acetone for 15 mins.

      Shellac Nails and Gel Polish Nails

      Sooo, Shellac nails and Gel Polish nails? This is where it all gets really really confusing with clients. “Shellac” is very well known as a Gel manicure because that term has been used in salons for a long time, but we live in a world where there’s always new products coming into the market that have been improved and are better than the other brands. So, different companies have brought in a product called gel polish.

      You may think they both are the same but they contain different ingredients.

      The difference between the two is Shellac contains part normal nail polish and part gel mixed together (therefore its semi-permanent polish), while gel polish contains just gel (so it’s a semi-permanent gel).

      What are Shellac nails?

      ♥ Shellac is a BRAND NAME, I repeat, it’s a BRAND NAME created by Creative Nail Design (CND). So, for example, OPI Gel polish, Essie etc is like Shellac.

      ♥ Shellac has a thinner consistency to it than Gel Polish. It can only be cured under a UV Lamp or the CND LED lamp.

      ♥ The process of applying it is the same as nail varnish but it needs to cure under a Lamp in between layers. For example base coat – cure – colour – cure – colour – cure – top coat – cure – done.

      ♥ It lasts up to 2 weeks (14 days)

      What is a Shellac Manicure?

      A Shellac Manicure is Shellac painted only on the natural nails. So, the technician will do your dry cuticle work, shape it neatly, and paint on the natural nail.

      What is Gel Polish?

      ♥ Gel polishes are The Gel Bottle, Gelish, Madam Glam, Gel II and so on. These brands all have gel in them.

      ♥ They have a thick consistency, so applying it’s a bit tricky as your layers need to be thin. It’s the same process of apply shellac except it can be cured under any LED/UV lamp (depending on the manufacturer’s instructions of course).

      ♥ It lasts up to 2 -3 weeks.

      ♥ Each company brand has a slight difference in using the products, so always read the instructions on how to apply it and what’s the best LED/UV lamp for them.

      ♥ If you want to know how to apply gel polish, I have written a blog post called How to apply gel polish at home or if you want to know how to remove gel polish

      Sapphire Nails

      Shellac vs Gel Polish

      Here is a table of the differences between Shellac vs Gel Polish.


      Gel Polish

      What are they?

      Contains part regular nail polish and part gel mixed together (therefore its semi-permanent polish)

      Contains just gel (so it’s a semi-permanent gel)

      Are the process of applying the same?

      Sort of, the only thing is different you don’t buff the nail.

      The nail needs to have no trace of oils and dead skin on the natural nails otherwise it will lift.

      Glossy finish and natural.

      Glossy finish and natural.

      How do you remove?

      Apply pure acetone on a cotton pad, place it on the nail and wrap the foil around your fingers.

      Buff off the shine and apply pure acetone on a cotton pad, place it on the nail and wrap the foil around your fingers.

      How long do they last for?

      2 weeks

      2 or 3 weeks

      Do you have to wait for it to dry?

      Nope, its cured under a UV/ CND LED lamp

      Nope, its cured under a UV/LED lamp

      Do they cost the same service?

      Nope, about £20 – £25 but more expensive to buy the product

      Nope, about £20 – £25

      How do they look like?

      It comes in a bottle It comes in a bottle

      Advantages and disadvantages of Acrylic, Hard Gel and Shellac

      So, now you know the difference between Acrylic, Hard Gel, and Shellac. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each of them

      Sarah’s Nail Secrets

      Advantages and disadvantages of Acrylic



      ♥ Easy Removal.

      ♥ Create beautiful designs.

      ♥ It’s suitable for anyone that has brittle and weak nails.

      ♥ Its a great way for someone to prevent them from biting their nails.

      ♥ It lasts up to 2-3 weeks.

      ♥ If one of your nails break you can sort of repair it at home with nail glue

      ♥ You will always have pretty nails on.

      ♥ Perfect for special occasions like weddings.

      ♥ It’s strong

      ♥ If it’s not removed properly, it can damage your natural nails.

      ♥ If you accidentally bang your nail, it can damage your natural nail.

      ♥ If not looked after properly with regular infill appointments it can start to lift and water or dirt can get trapped and cause a fungal or bacterial infection.

      ♥ Someone can easily get an allergic reaction because of strong chemicals that are in the liquid.

      ♥ Has strong odour.

      ♥ Difficult to master.

      Advantages and disadvantages of Hard Gel

      Celina Ryden

      ♥ You don’t need to wait for it to dry.

      ♥ Create beautiful designs.

      ♥ You can hide your natural nail imperfections.

      ♥ It can extend the length of the nail.

      ♥It’s flexible.

      ♥Low odour.

      ♥ Perfect for someone that has sensitive nails.

      ♥ Self-levelling.

      ♥ Easier to master than acrylic.

      ♥ Looks natural.

      ♥ Heat spike from the LED/UV Lamp.

      ♥ Go for infills every 2 – 3 weeks.

      ♥ Difficult to remove.

      ♥More expensive.

      Advantages and Disadvantage of Shellac or Gel Polish nails.

      ♥ No waiting around for it to get fully dry.

      ♥ Stronger nails.

      ♥Hide imperfections that the nail may have.

      ♥ It helps your nails grow.

      ♥ It lasts up to 2 – 3 weeks if you look after them.

      ♥Can add glitter or art to them.

      ♥ Always have beautiful nails.

      ♥ You will need to go to a salon to have it removed and colour redoing every 2 weeks.

      ♥ It may chip if you bang your nails onto something.

      ♥ If not removed properly it can damage your natural nail.

      So, there you have it! All you need to know about Acrylic, Hard Gel, Gel Polish, and Shellac. I hope this didn’t confuse you all too much and helped you have a basic understanding of what each product is and what they’re meant to do. If you have reached all the way to the end of this blog, thank you so much for reading.

      Chow Bella’s!

      There’s no better way to treat yo self then by splurging on a luxurious gel manicure. A little nail art, a few rhinestones, and an on-trend hue give you the same boost of confidence as a spot-on outfit or a really good hair day. Unlike those things, which only last a day or so, a solid gel manicure can last you up to four weeks, if you play your cards right.

      You’re probably asking yourself “HOW? My nails usually chip after three days!” Well, thanks to the quick-dry formula, the application process is quicker than regular nail polish and lasts four times as long. That means you’ll have weeks to enjoy your beautiful nail art.

      Related Story

      Before you head to the salon, read these top tips from NYC-based celebrity nail artist Miss Pop. She’s done manicures on all the hottest celebs, from Gigi Hadid and Ariana Grande to Lucy Hale. Ahead, she spills all her expert tips and tricks for getting the best possible gel manicure and how to make it last extra long. Here’s everything you need to know before getting a gel manicure.

      1. Gel and acrylic are completely different.

      Acrylic nails are made with a powder dipped in solvent. “They’re essentially used to lengthen the nail or provide a stronger top layer over the natural nail,” explains Miss Pop. Think: the crazy-long coffin nails Kylie Jenner is obsessed with.

      View this post on Instagram

      French Drip😍💗💗💗✨

      A post shared by Kylie ✨ (@kyliejenner) on Aug 20, 2019 at 5:17pm PDT

      Sometimes acrylic nails come in colors, but usually they’re clear or natural-toned. Gels, on the other hand, come in nail polish shades, and are made hard by being cured under a UV or LED lamp.

      2. Look into different polishes to see which ingredients you feel most comfortable with.

      Believe it or not, there are some polishes on the market that are known as “healthier” when it comes to gel manicures. For example, OPI’s GelColor ProHealth Base and Top Coat promises healthier nails and up to 14 days without a single chipped tip in sight.

      GelColor Gel Nail Polish 3-Pc Set OPI $44.95

      A lot of salons now offer this polish, but call ahead to see if they carry the gel variety, as well. The base coat and topcoat can be used with any of OPI’s over 140 gel colors.

      3. Your nails don’t actually need to “breathe.”

      Many people worry about getting gels because they fear their nails won’t be able to “breathe,” but nails are actually dead to begin with. The whole idea is a myth, but it is kind of cute to imagine your little nails with micro-nostrils.

      Related Story

      4. Gels weaken your nail beds, but it’s mostly because of the removal process.

      Now that we’ve gotten past the “breathing” myth, let’s talk about what parts of your nails actually do need TLC. Your nail beds and cuticles are what’s most important — they’re made of living tissue, which is why you need to be careful during the application and removal process. DON’T rip them off. Get gels removed at a salon safely (it usually costs around $10-$20) or remove them yourself at home with acetone, tin foil, cotton balls, and a nail file.

      Super Nail Pure Acetone, 16 fl. oz. Super Nail $12.82

      5. Actually watch your manicurist take off the polish.

      I know, I know. It’s so tempting to just zone off and watch whatever random show they have playing on the salon TV, but be sure to keep an eye on what the nail technician is up to.

      Related Story

      Make sure the manicurist is removing your gels carefully. “No one should be scraping your nail bed aggressively. The product should just crumble off,” says Miss Pop.

      6. You can remove gels at home safely.

      If you want to save money and a trip to the salon, you can take gels off yourself. You just have to be extra careful.

      Here’s how to do it:

      1. Get a bottle of 100 percent acetone or a gel remover (it’s less harsh than pure acetone).
      2. Place a cotton ball soaked in the remover on top of your nail.
      3. Wrap each nail in tinfoil.

      Depending on your gel, this can take 15 minutes to an hour. When the gel is crumbling or sliding off, gently use a rubber-ended cuticle pusher to clean the gel off of your nail bed (do not file or scrape!).

      Cuticle Stick OPI $3.95

      7. Keep your nail beds hydrated.

      Miss Pop recommends using cuticle oil and moisturizer. “Even if you don’t have a gel mani, those products will help your nails stay healthy and strong, not to mention stave off hangnails,” she told Seventeen.

      8. UV radiation can be dangerous to your health.

      “Those purple-colored lights that help your nails dry are actually UV lights,” explains Miss Pop. “Conventional wisdom says unnecessary exposure to UV rays is bad for you, but they have been part of salon services forever.”

      Luckily, there have been huge improvements in gel technology, and many brands have converted to LED curing, which doesn’t have the side effects UV rays have on your skin.

      SUNUV SUN2C 48W LED UV nail Lamp with 4 Timer Setting,Senor For Gel Nails and Toe Nail Curing SUNUV $39.99

      Ask your salon for that option. If you love your UV lamp for drying, put on sunscreen before – just in case.

      9. At-home gel kits DO work.

      Well, kind of. Brands like Sally Hanson, Ciate, and Kiss make at-home kits now with tiny little LED lamps. Try them out if you want to save money on your weekly manis.

      Salon Pro Gel Starter Kit Sally Hansen $48.91

      At-home gel kits last a bit longer than a regular manicure — maybe 10 days — but are definitely not salon quality. You have to follow the instructions to the last detail and have a pretty steady hand to get a perfect gel nail.

      10. Gels cost anywhere from $35 to $120.

      How much you’re going to pay for a gel mani really depends on where you live, but also what kind of look you want. Basic one-color gel manis start around $35, which is more than a regular mani, but it also lasts twice as long. If you want crazy celeb-level nail art, it could end up costing up to $100 or more – and that’s not including the 20% tip.

      11. Gels generally last 2-3 weeks.

      The best part about gel manis is how long they last. If you have a bunch of events coming up back to back like prom, internship interviews, and family vacays, gels can be the perfect solution. They last about two full weeks with zero chipping – four if you’re really careful with your nails.

      Related Story

      12. Watch out for “toxic trio” ingredients.

      Some polishes include potential cancer-causing chemicals like dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde. Read the ingredients label on the polish bottle or on the company’s website to avoid them.

      13. Cuticles trims can put you at risk for infection.

      Most salons don’t cut cuticles anymore, but you should still ask your technician about it before she starts on your nails. Don’t increase your risk of infection by getting your cuticles cut – just ask to have them pushed back, instead.

      Related Story Elizabeth Denton I’m Liz, the fashion and beauty girl at

      Tina’s Natural Nails

      Since 1998, Tina’s Natural Nails has served the Rochester community as a premier provider of waxing and nail services. We’re proud to be locally-owned and -operated. We offer a wide range of services with a focus on pampering our customers and helping them relax. Come see how we can nourish and restore your natural vitality today!

      Learn More

      Hi, my name is Amanda.

      I have been a duly licensed cosmetologist since 2015. I am super excited to expand my services to nail care, and returning to the salon life after being a stay at home mom for while. I have 5 children whom are involved in dance, sports and scouts.. so I understand the importance of making time to pamper yourself. My husband is on his 17th year of service with the US Army, so thank you to others who serve and the family who stands beside them. I look forward to joining Tina and helping you all have some you time!

      20% Off for First-Time Customers! *Mention Website Ad

      Treat Yourself at Tina’s in Rochester, NY

      If you’re looking for a full-service nail salon in Rochester, NY, you’ve come to the right place. Tina’s Natural Nails guarantees your satisfaction with all our services, whether you’re stopping by for a gel manicure or spending the day with us for a beautiful full set of acrylic or gel nails, luxurious pedicure and waxing from head to toe! Our friendly and professional staff is here to help you look beautiful and feel great. The local community has trusted us for decades to provide reasonably priced, sanitary, and comfortable nail services. And, we don’t just offer a fine selection of services—we treat you like the individual person you are! We welcome your style and tastes, and always aim to leave you feeling unique and stylish.

      We offer full sets of gel and acrylic nails with 200 colors in the acrylic line. We have over 100 colors for the gel manicure to tease your every whim. We also offer nail repair, nail polishing, head-to-toe waxing for men and women, pedicures and manicures in Rochester, NY. We caress, massage, and moisturize your hands to make your skin look and feel its best! Our caring touch will make you feel comfortable, relaxed and beautiful. Satisfied customers return to us because we’re simply the best nail salon in the Rochester area. We tailor our services to you, whether you want a delicate and feminine pink nail polish or a Brazilian wax. Here’s why you should choose Tina’s Natural Nails:

      • We’re licensed providers of appearance enhancement.
      • We hold specialty licenses for waxing and nails.
      • Tina has taught with Nail System International for ten years.
      • We guarantee you’ll be satisfied with our work every time.
      • We offer year-round appointments to ensure your spot stays safe.

      Set Up an Appointment Today!

      You deserve to pamper yourself. From nail services to mani-pedis, Tina’s Natural Nails does it all. Call us today at 585-721-8155.

      Contact Us

      Areas Served

      Providing professional nail and waxing services to the following area:

      • Rochester, NY
      • Gates, NY
      • Henrietta, NY
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      • Caledonia, NY
      • Chili, NY
      • Monroe County, NY
      • Spencerport, NY
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      Shellac gel nail polish

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