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Gelish vs Shellac – Full Comparison and Guide

As women, we care about our bodies, skin, hair, and nails among other things, which is why we strive to achieve the best results. However, this usually means buying and using the best products. As much as many of us prefer to do our manicures at home, we still want a professional effect.

Since we all want beautiful nails, most of us would like to know the best manicure between Gelish and Shellac. Thanks to these two new-age nail polishes, you can now achieve the desired results.

However, chances are you don’t know the difference between these two brands. In fact, many of us believe that Shellac and Gelish are the same nail polishes with different names. In this article, we’ve compared Gelish vs Shellac to help you attain a better understanding.

Gelish Vs Shellac Comparison Table

Use this handy comparison table to get a quick overview of the differences between Gelish and CND Shellac. Scroll pas the table for a more in depth look into each criteria.

Gelish
CND Shellac
Preview
gelish nail polish
CND Shellac vs gelish
Number of Colors
223 colors
116 colors
Average Wear Time
3 weeks
2 weeks
Total Exposure to UV Time
2 minutes
12 minutes
Nail Lamp Type
LED or UV
Recommended UV only
Removal Time
15 - 30 minutes
10 - 15 minutes
Gelish
Preview
gelish nail polish
Number of Colors
223 colors
Average Wear Time
3 weeks
Total Exposure to UV Time
2 minutes
Nail Lamp Type
LED or UV
Removal Time
15 - 30 minutes
CND Shellac
Preview
CND Shellac vs gelish
Number of Colors
116 colors
Average Wear Time
2 weeks
Total Exposure to UV Time
12 minutes
Nail Lamp Type
Recommended UV only
Removal Time
10 - 15 minutes

Gelish vs Shellac – Color choice

Painted nails will always look sexy, particularly when we choose bright, original colors. Shellac might be the way to go for those who want sexy, fun colors. We can, however, mix and layer the shades offered by both brands to create new colors.

Aside from giving a beautiful glossy finish on a thin but long-lasting manicure, Shellac polish is available in 116 different designer shades. Also included are three primaries, three secondaries, three chromes and 15 effects in the form of pearls, shimmers, and sparkles.

gelish vs shellac

Even so, Gelish is still the winner in this category. Gelish currently offers 223 colors, far more than Shellac’s 116 designer shades, many of which are very generic. If you like your gel nail polishes with bright shiny sparkles, odds are you won’t find a suitable shade in the Shellac collection. The same does not apply to the Gelish collection where you’ll find a fashionable, trendy range of colors as well as a variety of sparkly options, including shimmers and glitters.

Though the less pigmented colors seem to have a more watery consistency, thin layers work for every color. On the other hand, the Shellac collection features a few difficult-to-paint colors. For some, the brush strokes will always show through, giving a messy finish.

Gelish vs Shellac – Durability

Gelish clearly outlasts Shellac. Gelish is a gel-and-polish combination. It is slightly thicker than Shellac, applies like a polish and wears like a gel, making it the most suitable option for those of us who have weak or damaged nails. Gelish gel polish contains chemical compounds that can make your nails brittle, more resistant to chipping and a lot stronger, which is why it can last for a total of three weeks.
gelish vs shellac
Shellac nails, on the other hand, can last for two weeks, but only if you apply the top coat. However, you can expect it to chip in four days if the process is done incorrectly. Shellac will also start to chip when hit hard enough, hence the need to avoid activities that may involve smacking your nails or hands around. Though you’ll be tempted to peel it away once it starts chipping, doing so will just make things worse.

Gelish vs Shellac – Ease of application

Depending on your nail technician and whether you want nail art, each of these two manicures will take about 30-45 minutes to apply. There are however some differences in how each is applied and removed. Getting a Gelish manicure take a considerably shorter time than getting a Shellac manicure. For a Gelish manicure, your hand stays under the LED light for two minutes, unless you are getting the French manicure effect.

In contrast, the UV lamp stays on for 12 minutes and 20 seconds during a Shellac manicure. For Gelish gel polish, the nail plate needs to be buffed before application to enhance adhesion. Shellac, on the other hand, is a no buff technique, which means you won’t have to buff your nail plate in preparation for application or removal.

gelish vs shellac

Compared to Gelish, Shellac takes less time to remove. Because shellac is a polish, you won’t have to buff your nail plate in order to break the bond, which makes it kinder to your nails and easier to remove than Gelish. When removing Shellac, you only have to soak your nails in acetone or natural nail polish remover, though the latter takes much longer. On the other hand, removing Gelish gel polish involves filing off the top layer and soaking the nails in acetone. It takes time to scrape everything off gently. Once you’ve removed the manicure, you should file each nail properly, apply cuticle oil, and moisturize.

Removal time used to be a major concern when thinking of a manicure. Today, Shellac features a 5-minute removal top coat, making its removal almost as simple as removing nail polish. On the other hand, Gelish requires an initial buff to the polished surface to break the seal, after which the remover penetrates the gel polish.

Gelish vs Shellac – Pricing

Gelish nail beauty products are more affordable than Shellac. As you probably know, the Shellac collection is a luxury brand, which often means higher prices. Though Gelish manicures cost more than ordinary lacquers, they are reasonably priced when compared to Shellac nail polishes. In fact, a mini Shellac product costs about the same amount as a full-sized Gelish product. The base price of a Shellac manicure is usually around $40, and this does not include the cost of labor and extra products. Shellac products might, however, be of a higher quality.

Shellac is cured under only a UV nail lamp while Gelish is cured under LED nail lamp. Unfortunately, UV lamp-builds need changing every 3-6 months because the bulbs use a fluro style bulb. While the initial cost of a UV nail lamp is less than that of a LED nail lamp, the latter is much more cost effective in the long run.

Gelish offers a variety of mini gel nail polish products. You can, therefore, purchase a 9 ml mini set that contains 2, 4, 6 or 12 different colors. Aside from quality, quantity has an impact on pricing as well. Buying mini sets saves you a few dollars at a time. Additionally, Gelish updates its collection on a regular basis, letting you know about new, trendy shades.

Gelish vs Shellac Summary:

Gelish
• 223 Colors
• Application takes 10-15 minutes
• Takes 30 seconds to cure under LED
• Lasts for three weeks
• The removal process takes 15-30 minutes

Shellac
• Cured only under UV
• Each coat takes two minutes to cure
• Application takes 45 minutes
• Includes 116 designer shades
• The removal process takes 10-15 minutes
• Higher quality for shorter time

More Info

Gelish and CND Shellac Most Popular Colors

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About Vanessa Steed

I am a mum, a wife and a lover of all things to do with nails and nail polish!
I have worked in the beauty industry for over 10 years but am currently an at-home mom looking after my two young kids.

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