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Difference between Gel and Shellac

We all know the feeling when that beautiful, fresh manicure gets its first chip… for me it’s always either on my thumb or pointer finger around day 4. If you are in the market for a manicure that will last longer than one week you’ve come to the right place!

Nothing beats the feeling of having a fresh manicure, and we all want our nails to remain perfect for as long as possible after getting them professionally done. The two most popular options on the market as long-lasting nail polishes are Gel and Shellac, but what’s the difference?

We get questions from our clients all the time about the difference between Gel and Shellac polish. It can be pretty confusing when you get into the details, so BeautyDel has decided to break down all the distinctions between Gel and Shellac. After reading this blog you will know which type of manicure is best for you!

What are the main differences between Gel and Shellac?

Consistency difference between Gel and Shellac

Ultimately, the main difference between Gel and Shellac comes down to the consistency of the polish. Although both Gel and Shellac require that they be cured under a UV lamp, Shellac has a thinner consistency than Gel.

Due to this difference in consistency, the removal process of a Shellac manicure easier and faster than that of a Gel manicure. Because Shellac polish is thinner on the nail, the removal process is quick, only taking 15 to 20 minutes using acetone. On the other hand, Gel removal is slightly more complicated and takes longer due to its thicker and stronger nature. For Gel polish, the removal process can take 30 to 40 minutes as the nail must be filed down first and then soaked in acetone.

Durability difference between Gel and Shellac

Another difference between Gel and Shellac is the durability. A Gel manicure typically lasts anywhere from 3 weeks to a month and there is a very low chance of a Gel manicure chipping.

In comparison, a Shellac manicure typically last about 2 weeks if it is taken care of properly and has a higher chance of chipping after a few weeks go by.

Additionally, Gel polish guards nails similar to the way Acrylic polish does. Therefore, with a Gel manicure you get the strength benefits of Acrylic, while being less damaging to the nails because they are softer and more flexible.

Colour selection difference between Gel and Shellac

The number of nail polish colours to choose from is also a difference between Gel and Shellac that is worth considering. There are over 400 Gel polish colours available, and 148 Shellac polish colours available. Whether you prefer to have an immense (and really quite ridiculous) number of colour choices, or a more reasonable number, both Gel and Shellac offer variations of all different colours on the spectrum and will have the perfect colours for you!


So, is Gel or Shellac better?

The answer to this question depends on your specific preferences. We have covered the 3 main differences between Gel and Shellac, being the consistency, durability, and colour selection.

If you tend to have weaker nails, Gel manicures would be recommended as the formula is thicker and lasts a couple weeks longer than Shellac. However, the removal process for Gel is quite lengthy and can only be done by a professional.

If you want to give your nails more space to “breathe” and protect the natural nail beds, you will benefit from a Shellac manicure because of its thinner consistency. Also, the removal of Shellac polish is a lot quicker and can be done from home with the assistance of acetone.

To help you decide, we have made a comparison chart to guide you in your decision. You can also talk to a BeautyDel professional who will provide you with our recommendation based on your preferences.

*BeautyDel offers both Gel and Shellac manicures but does not offer Acrylic.

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