In this blog post, we’ll explain in layman terms what the difference is between shellac and gel manicure, as we find that there’s a lot of confusion concerning this topic in the market. 

A gel manicure and a shellac manicure are essentially the same thing: in both instances, we’re talking about long-lasting polishes cured under UV lamps. Every shellac manicure is a gel manicure, but not every gel is shellac.

In a nutshell:

The difference is that “gel manicure” is the generic term for nails done under a UV lamp, while Shellac is a brand of gel nails, originally by the company Creative Nail Design (CND).

CND used the term ‘Shellac’ exclusively for a while, until other companies have started to produce similar products using the same or similar compounds.

More recently, CND has started to put the term ‘gel’ too on their product packages which makes things a little clearer, however the confusion is still out there.

We explained earlier what a gel and a shellac manicure looks like. Shellac can be removed by soaking nails in pure acetone (not the regular one that you’d use for a normal nail polish remover!), acetone doesn’t work on gel manicure. Gel can only be filed by a professional in order to protect natural nails. However, as you can see below, different nail brands try to come up with fancy names for their products and as these names suggest, a ‘gel’ can also be soaked off – these are of course ‘shellac’ kind of gels:

Image result for shellac gel polish brands

Soak off gel


One thing’s sure: If you decide to go with either shellac aka soak off gel or gel, you should plan to see a manicurist every 2 weeks or so in order to keep your nails healthy and beautiful. If that’s too much of a hassle for you, try our Shellac Forte service which could last up to 3-4 weeks. If that’s still too high maintenance for you, go with a simple nail polish manicure. You’ll be able to remove the polish safely at home and re-apply yourself or come in for another service as and when you like.

We hope you’ll find this helpful to choose the right sort of manicure that will suit your lifestyle.


Figaro London

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