The difference between Acrylic, Gel and Shellac Nails

Tips and Tricks for Gel Polish Lifting
May 9, 2014

The difference between Acrylic, Gel and Shellac Nails

When you go beyond the basic manicure you have many options, and it can get confusing to know which one you want.  Below we’ll clear up the differences between Acrylic, Gel and Shellac Nails. You’ll find a few tips to weigh the pros and cons of the different artificial nails to help you pick the best option.

Acrylics and Gels are fake nails placed over your natural ones. Both can be made to match the shape of the nail, or to extend it. So, when you want longer nails, you are asking for either Acrylic or Gel extensions. People also get Acrylics and Gels in order to have stronger nails (however, in the long term they actually weaken your natural nail).

Of course Acrylics and Gels are very different products. Different ingredients, different application techniques, and different pros and cons. You can learn more about their differences below by clicking on “Acrylics” and “Gels”.


Shellac
is a blend of gel and nail polish. Because it is like a polish, it can’t be used to extend your nail. Because it is like a gel, however, it does add strength and durability. In the long term Shellac is much less damaging to nails than traditional Gels (or Acrylics).

The main benefit is that it reduces chipping.


Shellac vs. Gel Manicure vs Gels

Many people confuse Gels with Shellac. This is because Shellac contains gel, so many consumers have mixed up their terminology, asking for a “gel manicure” when what they want is Shellac. So gel manicure is sort of a made up name for Shellac (people in the industry always use the term Shellac). Meanwhile, Shellac and Gels are not the same service. Just as the ingredients, procedures and results for Acrylics and Gels differ, the same is true about Shellac vs Gels.

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