Jessica Isaac/Demand Media

The common frustration that comes with a regular nail polish manicure is that it usually does not last longer than a few days. Nail products such as gel manicures and Shellac offer a solution to this issue, with promises of chip-free and scratch-free nails for two weeks or longer. While both gel manicures and Shellac promise beautiful nails for a longer period, they have their differences as well.


Jessica Isaac/Demand Media

Gel manicure is a type of manicure that uses a coat of gel applied on the nails, with regular polish on top. The use of UV light to cure the gel allows the manicure to last longer. Shellac is a technology invented by Creative Nail Design (CND). It is similar to regular nail polish, but also uses UV light in between coats, which make it last as long as gel manicures.


Jessica Isaac/Demand Media

In a gel manicure, cuticles are pushed, and nails are filed and buffed. A base coating of light gel is applied to the nails, and then the nails are placed under a UV lamp until the gel hardens. A coating of nail gel is applied next, and hardened again under a UV lamp. When the gel hardens, the nails are filed and shaped and the color is applied. The colored nails are again subjected to UV light as the final step. Shellac application combines the process of regular polishing and gel manicure. It takes about 30 minutes and can be brushed on, just like a regular polish. It starts with a base coat, followed by a couple of coats of polish, and ends with a top coat. The nails are placed under a UV lamp after every coat; however, the nails are not buffed, and the natural nail does not get damaged.


Jessica Isaac/Demand Media

To remove gel manicure, you need to scratch the top layer using a nail file. Once remove, soak the nails in a bowl of acetone. After soaking, you can remove the flakes or gel using a cuticle pusher. Removing Shellac can be easier than removing gel manicure, as you don’t need to soak, drill or file. Instead, each nail is simply wrapped in Shellac remover wraps. These are cotton pads with acetone, directed only on the nail, thus protecting fingers and the skin from being unnecessarily exposed to acetone.

Color Availability

Jessica Isaac/Demand Media

At the time of publication there are more color preferences for gel manicures than for Shellac. Bio Sculpture Gel boasts over 170 colors for its gel manicure product, while Shellac manufacturer CND has about 30 colors in its color chart.

About the Author

Steve Johnson

Steve Johnson is an avid and passionate writer with more than five years of experience. He's written for several industries, including health, dating and Internet marketing, as well as for various websites. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas.