Shellac vs Acrylic Nails

It’s no secret that a great manicure is a strong asset when it comes to making a stunning first impression. Whether you are looking to make a good impression on your co-workers or that handsome devil at the gym, a manicure is a simple and effective staple to coming across as well-polished (pun intended!). Additionally, manicures are inexpensive and they are a great way to still look great when you have a job that requires you to use your hands a lot, such as ladies who type a lot or are required to wash their hands frequently. Even simple house chose can have a wear and tear on your nails. Below you will learn everything you need to know when choosing between an acrylic manicure and a Shellac manicure. Now, all you need to do is make the hardest choice of all: picking your color!

Everything You Need to Know About a Shellac Manicure

First, Shellac is technically a brand name product that was created by Creative Nail Design (CND). Shellac nails are an excellent option for people who already have healthy nail beds. Shellac is a great type of manicure for people that are looking for a manicure that will last a long time and are comfortable sporting the same nail polish color for about two weeks. Shellac is also perfect for people who are looking for a very low-maintenance manicure, but still want their hands to put forward a good impression every day. A Shellac manicure keeps your natural nails damage free and fully intact.

The Shellac Application Process

When you choose a Shellac manicure, the manicurist will paint your nails by using a special nail polish (Shellac) that reacts when placed under UV light. First, the stylist will bring a selection of specialty Shellac colors for you to choose from. Most salons should typically have a pretty large selection. Some stylists also have additional options, such as painting patterns and designs on the nails. However, most nail technicians provide a standard solid-color Shellac manicure.

A Shellac manicure is done in four separate coats. Each time a coat is applied it is placed under the UV light in order to solidify the polish. Due to the fact that Shellac is a four-step process, you can expect to stay at the salon for a lengthy bit of time. However, due to the long-lasting manicure and the fact that Shellac will never chip, most people find that it is worth the time spent waiting. The final result of the Shellac process is a gorgeous, shiny manicure that will not chip.

When you are ready to remove your Shellac manicure, you simply return to the salon and soak your nails in an acetone solution for a few minutes before it comes right off. Some women are able to simply peel the Shellac off, although the removal is part of what you pay for, so why not have it done by a professional?

Pros and Cons of a Shellac Manicure

Below is a brief overview of some of the main pros and cons of a Shellac manicure versus a traditional acrylic manicure.
Pros
• Inexpensive
• Great for people with strong nail beds
• There is no odor during application
• Thin and provide a natural look, while remaining highly durable
• Lasts up to two weeks
• Highly resistant to chipping
• Very low risk for any damage to the underlying nail
• Safe during pregnancy
Cons
• Lengthy application process
• Less color choice and can’t bring your own color from home
• No ability to add additional length
• Should be removed professionally, requiring an additional trip
• Not recommended for people with weak nails

All About Acrylics

Most of us are already pretty familiar with acrylic manicures. Since our 8th grade dance or freshman homecoming, we’ve all likely gotten at least one acrylic manicure before. These are available in nearly every salon with a nail component and also can be found in retail shops. Acrylic nails also have the ability to add length by adding a plastic tip extension prior to the application of the actual acrylic. Acrylic nails are great for people who want to add length and strength and are recommended for people with weaker nails. When getting an acrylic manicure, you typically will have more choices as far as designs on the nail.

The Acrylic Application Process

Acrylics nails are achieved by applying a liquid monomer and then a powder called a polymer. These two fuse to create what is essentially a type of plastic that has the ability to set on its own, without the need to utilize UV light. This acrylic, or plastic, provides a protective layer that covers the nails and any nail extension that has been added to the natural nail. After selecting your main color, you will be able to select from a large variety of designs. These designs will be blown onto your nails through a spray. Many talented nail artists can also paint designs onto your nails as well as add things like gems. This is where you really can let your personal style shine, or keep your acrylic manicure traditional.

Pros and Cons of an Acrylic Manicure

Below is an overview of the pros and cons of an acrylic manicure versus a Shellac manicure.
Pros
• Long lasting
• Ability to extend nail length
• More options for expressive design
• Chip resistant
• More color options
• Can bring your own color if desired
• Faster application process
• No need for UV light
Cons
• Very harsh on natural nail beds and involves the use of strong chemicals
• Strong odor during the application process
• Chips easier than Shellac (gel) polish
• Less natural look than Shellac polish
• Not recommended while pregnancy

Hopefully this deep dive into Shellac versus acrylic manicures will help you make the best choice during your next trip to the salon. No matter which style of manicure you choose, you are guaranteed to leave with gorgeous nails that will leave you looking, “well-polished!”

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