The Difference Between Shellac And Gel Nails Explained

Nothing beats a fresh set of nails, but trying to make a decision on nail shape, size, color, design, and more when you're about to sit down in the chair can be pretty overwhelming. One of the choices that always trips us up is choosing between shellac nails or a gel manicure. They're both great and last longer than regular nail polish. But what's the difference between getting shellac and gel nails? 

As it turns out, there are quite a few differences that separate shellac from gel polish, and it basically comes down to the products' formulas and removal processes (via Harper's Bazaar).

Gel nails and shellac nails have different formulas

Both types are quite durable, but the shellac nail is a patented form of polish that comes from the brand Creative Nail Design, so salons have to be CND-verified in order to use the polish. The formula of the polish itself is a half gel, half traditional polish hybrid which was developed by nail guru Jan Arnold (via Cosmopolitan). The combination of the gel and the traditional nail polish makes for a long-lasting and eye-popping product. 

Gel nails, on the other hand, are formulated with only gel and aren't exclusive to any brand or company. For both gel and shellac manicures, though, instead of drying like traditional polish does, the gel must be hardened under a UV light (via InStyle).

Shellac nails have a different application and removal process than gel nails

Because shellac is half-made with regular polish, they tend to not last las long as gel nails. However, they aren't as difficult to remove as the gel polish is, as there is a specific remover for shellac nails, so they can be removed way quicker than gels. You can even buy a shellac remover at your local Ulta or Sephora. 

Gel nails last longer, but the removal process is much more annoying. Peeling them off yourselves can cause major damage to your nails, so it's recommended that you get them removed by a salon professional. The process involves a lot of filing and scraping which ultimately makes them more fragile

When it comes down to it, choosing between the two involves knowing if you'd rather have a long-lasting polish or if you'd rather have a simple removal process. Either way, taking good care of your nails is something you should always be thinking about!