Gelish is a ‘gel polish’, (the clue is in the name, ‘Gel-ish’) and is a combination of both a polish and a gel and was one of the first brands to market. “It’s a pure, thin UV gel that is pigmented in various degrees to give colour” explains Marian. It applies like a polish but wears like a gel, making it particularly favourable for those who suffer from weaker nails. It’s also slightly thicker than Shellac. One of the biggest plus points about choosing Gelish is its ability to last up to three weeks (yes, you read that correctly) and with over 100 shades to choose from, you won’t find it difficult to satisfy your manicure mood.
CND Shellac has become prominent in the beauty industry, so much so it’s even become a eponym like Hoover and Sellotape, albeit a bit more glamorous. It’s a “genuine ‘hybrid’ UV gel polish which means it uses solvents in its formula like traditional polishes. The purpose of this is to have a much thinner coating, making it quicker to remove. It’ll look more like a polish than a UV gel but have the same benefits such as instant drying time and a high gloss finish” says Marian, and like Gelish has over 100 colours in the range. It lasts up to two weeks and the Express Top Coat now means removal takes just five minutes! Do make sure you find a salon that uses the real deal though. Unfortunately there are countless counterfeit versions so always check the authentic CND product is being used.
Both gel systems take around 30-45 minutes to apply (depending on your nail tech and if you want nail art) but there are some differences in the application and removal process with both manicures. CND Shellac is a ‘no buff system’ (or at least should be) which means your nail plate should not be buffed to prepare for application or for removal. A big plus when it comes to keeping your nails healthy and strong and should mean no long term nail plate thinning. If you find your nail surface being buffed unpleasant, Shellac is for you. Gelish on the other hand needs the nail plate to be buffed both prior to application, for better adhesion and to remove it. “Gelish can work better on weak nails” says Marian, and is often recommended for those who suffer from weaker nails because of it’s impenetrable polish. Both Gelish and Shellac use UV LED lamps (the fastest type) to cure the gel. More about that in a bit.
Shellac now boasts a five minute removal top coat. We’ve tested it and trust us, it works. Removal used to be the biggest downside when it came to committing to a gel manicure, now it’s (almost) as easy as removing nail polish. Gelish on the other hand needs an initial buff to the surface of the polish to break the ‘seal’. This allows the remover to penetrate the gel polish, enabling it to be removed in around 15 to 20 minutes. It’s because of this that Gelish lasts longer, is super strong and ideal for damaged nails.
Is there any truth in needing to let your nails “breath’? “No” says Marian “nails do not need a ‘breather’, your nail plate is dead. In fact you could keep coatings on permanently but it’s very important that application, removal and aftercare like daily nail oil, are correct” says Marian. There’s also been much debate about the safety of regularly using nail lamps. “All of the brands now have LED UV lamps” says Marian; it’s still a UV lamp but the update means the curing process is now much speedier than the original”. To put your mind at ease, independent tests have found these lamps very safe, ‘the exposure is a lot less than spending a day in fluorescent lighting and is equivalent to around two minutes a day in daylight” says Marian. We’ll high five to that!
Gelish Vs Shellac? Here’s 5 things you need to know
Do you know the difference between Shellac vs Gelish? Chances are you don’t but don’t worry you’re not alone. There’s still so much confusion surrounding long lasting, gel manicures and what they entail, there’s no surprise you’re feeling in the dark. But what really is the difference between the two leading gel nail brands? We’ve dug a little deeper, with the help of nail tech extraordinaire Marian Newman, to dispel all the myths, rumours and mystery surrounding one of the most popular in-salon treatments. Here’s how to nail the right choice when it comes to booking your next gel manicure. See what we did there?!
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