By Catherine Copeland

There are many differences between a traditional manicure and a Shellac gel manicure. Many women have just now taken to the trend of getting Shellac manicures, which were released to the public in 2010. Women must look over the differences between the two manicures and decide which treatment is best for them.

There are several differences between a Shellac manicure and a traditional manicure.

Basic Manicure

A basic manicure involves several steps, and is finished by the application of a regular nail polish to the fingernails. First, the fingernails are shaped using files and other tools, and then the fingertips are soaked in warm water. After the soak, the cuticles are trimmed or pushed back. Hands and fingernails are then massaged with a hand cream, and the excess is wiped off with a towel. At this point, the base coat of nail polish and then the color can be applied. Nail polish should last for a couple days without chipping, as long as the person is careful.

French Manicure

A French manicure requires the same steps as a basic manicure, however the decorative element on the finished nails is different. After shaping the nails with files and various other tools, and trimming the cuticles, a French manicure design begins. Typically, a clear or sheer pink base coat is applied to the nail. Then, the very tip of the nail is painted a flat white color. French manicures are elegant manicures, and can last several days if the person is careful.

Acrylic Manicure

Another traditional manicure option is an acrylic manicure. In this manicure, acrylic nails are placed on the whole of a woman's fingernails. Acrylics can be made in various colors, as well as in French manicures. Acrylic nails are long-lasting manicures, and typically last four to six weeks before they need to be filled. The downside to acrylic manicures is they can be painful to remove, and they do significant damage to the natural fingernail.

Shellac Manicure

Shellac manicures were introduced in 2010 by Creative Nail Designs, and are a long-lasting alternative to traditional manicures. The idea behind a Shellac manicure is that the hybrid gel nail has the durability of an acrylic nail but will not damage the actual nail bed; additionally, the nail color will last longer than regular fingernail polish. A Shellac manicure typically lasts about 14 days, and the shield the hybrid gel creates allows weak, brittle nails to grow strong.