Acrylic vs. Gel vs. Shellac

By Tyanna De Assis

Acrylic Nails are the most popular out of the three. They have been around since the 70’s. It is the process of having an artificial nail applied on top of your real nail. They are then glued on with liquid acrylic and powder.

 The Pro’s:

–       They are strong and long lasting.

–       They are cheaper than gel or shellac.

–       They are better known and all salons have these treatments available.

–       You can make them as long as you want and any shape.

–       You can have piercings added to them or little charms.

–       Any nail art can be done with these nails.


–       if they are done wrong, your natural nail will be very damaged and infected.

–       There is a very strong chemical odour that is emitted when getting them applied.

–       The acrylic is also toxic and is not recommended for pregnant women.

–       You are more prone to damage your real nails, if you damage your acrylics.

–       They don’t look realistic.

–       They require more fillings than gel nails.




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Gel Nails are applied using 2-3 coats of a specific gel nail polish applied on your real nails. Every layer is dried by a UV gel nail dryer before the next coat is applied.

The Pro’s

–       They are much faster to have done then acrylic.

–       They last up to 3 weeks.

–       The process is odourless.

–       They are non toxic and recommended for pregnant women.

–       More realistic and natural looking.

–       Have a glossy finish to them.

–       They dry quicker.

–       Last longer and require less fillings.

–       Less prone to damage as they shape your real nail.


–       They are more expensive.

–       Less salons have this treatment available.

–       UV nail dryer is harmful and damaging to the skin. (there are anti UV gloves though)

–       They can shatter rather than crack meaning more repair work.







Shellac is a nailpolish created by a company called CND. Also known as ‘Power Polish’, it is a blend of UV- cured and regular nail polish. Shellac paints on thinner than Gel and looks like an everyday manicure.

The Pro’s

–       Lasts 2 weeks.

–       Looks like a regular manicure.

–       Easier to remove.

–       May be cheaper than Gel.

–       Will not smudge.


–       The removal process requires scraping of the actual polish.

–       Comes off worse than Gel, which comes off extremely clean.


CND Shellac Asphalt and glitter




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