Choosing a manicure you’ll still love to see on your fingertips two weeks post-appointment comes with a laundry list of choices: funky nail design or solid color? Round or squoval nail shape? And the most fraught manicure choice of them all: shellac nails vs. a gel manicure?
Shellac nails and gel nails are crowd favorites for semi-permanent manicures. They’re both used by top nail artists and they’re both known for low-chip, long-lasting quality. But there’s a few minute differences that make shellac nails a better fit for some manicure lovers out there. Allow us to clear up the differences between shellac nails and gel nails—so you have one less thing to decide ahead of your next manicure.
Where shellac nails lost a half-point for chipping, they earn extra points back for a breezy removal process. Shellac nails can be removed with by a manicurist within five to fifteen minutes—without scraping, thanks to a special acetone-based remover made specifically for shellac polishes.
Gel nails aren’t known for stress-free removal. Peeling off a gel manicure can do serious damage to the surface of your nails—so it’s more common to have gel nails removed at the salon via a good, long acetone soak and scrupulous filing.
If you can’t make it into the salon for a professional removal, there are some at-home hacks for taking off a gel manicure. These DIY strategies, however, lose to shellac nails in a polish removal race.