What Are Shellac Nails: Shellac vs. Gel Manicure

shellac nails

Whether you’re prepping for a holiday or you just want to freshen up your look, getting your nails done is a great way to get glammed and ready to go. When choosing your perfect nail treatment, you’ll find yourself facing the decision of whether to go for gel nails, acrylics, or a shellac treatment.

You may have already heard the buzz around shellac nails, the high-shine gel polish that can last up to 14 days. Shellac manicures and pedicures are some of our most popular beauty treatments here at Araya Beauty, and it’s not hard to see why.

To help make your next mani-pedi decision a little easier, here’s our handy guide to all things shellac!


What Are Shellac Nails?


Shellac is actually a patented brand of gel polish, created by CND (Creative Nail Design). This unique formula is like a gel and lacquer nail polish hybrid. It combines the longevity and hard-wearing nature of gel nail polish with the high-shine finish of regular polish. The result is a beautiful high-gloss manicure that can last up to 2 weeks, as long as it’s applied correctly at a professional nail salon. 

In a shellac manicure, your nail tech will treat and shape your natural nails before applying a few coatings of shellac nail polish – a base coat, a coat of colour, and a top coat. These layers of polish are dried under a UV lamp to set them into place. 

The special thing about shellac is the way it bonds to your nail under these UV nail lamps. When UV light hits this polish, it undergoes a chemical reaction that binds the polish and the gel together to create that classic high-shine finish. 


Benefits of Shellac


The biggest appeal of a shellac manicure is its durability. Shellac nails will last up to 14 days without chipping, adding a bit of glamour before a holiday or even to your day-to-day life. 

Since the shellac polish hardens under a UV LED nail lamp, it has a very quick dry time. In fact, the shellac manicure process is relatively quick from start to finish, so you can be in and out of the salon in about 30 minutes. 

Lastly, a big appeal of shellac is that it’s easy to remove. The patented shellac polish has pockets of gel that dissolve and break apart when acetone is applied, allowing the polish to be removed without having to scrape or damage your natural nails.


Shellac Nails vs. Gel Nails: What’s the Difference?


Shellac and gel manicures are often confused, but they’re not quite the same thing. The main differences between shellac nails and gel nails are:

  • Formula – gel nails are made from a semi-permanent gel, while shellac is a semi-permanent polish that’s a hybrid between gel and lacquer polishes. 
  • Durability – gel nails can last up to three weeks which is slightly longer than shellac.
  • Maintenance – shellac nails stand up to daily life a little better, while gel nails can be harmed by hot water meaning you’ll need to avoid hot baths and wear gloves when doing household chores.
  • Removal – shellac is quicker and easier to remove than gel. 
  • Colours – you have more colour options with gel nails, but there is a decent range for shellac too.
what is shellac nails

Is Shellac Safe For Your Nails?


In short, yes! Shellac is very safe and it shouldn’t have any negative impacts on your nail health. 

From application to removal, a shellac manicure doesn’t damage the actual nail surface. The coating is applied superficially, and the professional removal process ensures that we never scrape your natural nail bed. 

However, brittle nails are one of the common client nail concerns we hear about. If this is something you struggle with, we may advise that you give damaged nails a break in between manicures and apply a nail strengthener treatment to help restore your nail health.

How Long Do Shellac Nails Last?


A well-applied shellac polish rarely chips before 14 days, offering a high-gloss and durable finish that you won’t have to worry about. It’s a pretty hard-wearing substance, so your shellac nails should stand up fine to most daily tasks, gym workouts, and household chores. 

Some chemicals in cleaning products may damage the manicure, so it’s best to wear protective gloves when doing your spring clean!


How to Remove Shellac Nails


So what happens when your shellac nails start to break down? Your best bet is to go back to the salon you got them done at, as they will often offer professional removal for free.

If you’re wondering how to remove shellac nails at home, the answer is that it’s best not to. Removing shellac at home by peeling or filing the nail surface will likely cause damage to your natural nails. It really isn’t worth it!

For proper removal of shellac, your nail tech will apply a protective balm to the skin around your nails before soaking the nails in acetone. It’s an easy breezy removal process, as the acetone will dissolve the polish naturally, so you won’t need to scrape or file the nails down after.


How Much Does a Shellac Manicure Cost?


Here at Araya Beauty salon, our CND shellac manicures start from €30. You can add a shellac finish to any of our manicures or pedicures for €10, so you can customize the type of treatment you want. Go for a quick and cost-effective mini-manicure or treat yourself to a luxury mani-pedi – the choice is yours!

We will also remove any shellac that we have applied here in the salon free of charge. Consult our price list for more information about the price of shellac manicures and pedicures. 


Book a Shellac Mani-Pedi Today


Try out the 14-day manicure for yourself at Araya Beauty, a South Dublin beauty salon committed to your beauty and well-being. You can trust our nail experts to leave you with long-lasting, high-shine, and truly beautiful nails!