Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Shellac vs Gelish - which is best?

What’s so great about gel nail polishes?
In this article I compare Shellac ™ by CND and Gelish ® by Nail Harmony, two of the most well known and loved gel polish brands on the market. To keep things simple, I'm concentrating on these two, however there are a number of gel nail polish brands available. To be honest, apart from reading a few reviews and comments on internet nail forums, I don't know as much about these other products. I've listed some of them here with links if you're interested: Gelcolor by OPI, Axxium by OPI, Gelac by IBD, Gelez by EZ Flow, Gel FX by Orly and others.

Gel polishes have become popular in the last few years for good reason. They dry instantly, last at least a good two weeks, and are relatively easy on and off. The long-life and durability of gel polishes make them a good choice all year round, but especially so over summer when sun, sand and surf bring The Curse of The Disappearing Manicure (see previous post).

Which came first, Shellac or Gelish?
In branding Shellac, CND use the phrase “The original power polish”, while Nail Harmony use the phrase, “The original brush-in-bottle, high-shine gel nail polish.” to describe Gelish. Frankly, I think they were both actually launched around the same time. However, without the marketing power of CND, Gelish had a softer introduction than that of Shellac.

Is Shellac a Gel Polish?
Creative Nail Design (CND) make a point of differentiating their Shellac ™ brand from other competing brands by stating that Shellac is not a gel polish. Instead, as mentioned before, they call it The Original Power Polish ™.  They also warn customers not to accept “gel polish” substitutes that claim to be the same. Other brands, such as Gelish, Gelcolor, Axxium, Gelac, and Gelez do actually call themselves “gel” polishes. I cannot clarify what the difference is, and I don't really want to get into that kind of detail because in my opinion, for the most part, they are all basically the same. All brands apply smoothly like polish, use a base coat, colour and top coat, and are cured under UV light – in the case of Gelish you can also use an LED lamp which makes it much quicker to apply. All gel polish brands are removed by either soaking or wrapping the nails in acetone.

Best Colour Range, Gelish or Shellac?
Gelish currently offers 112 colours while Shellac is offering 40 colours (including 3 primaries, 3 secondaries and 3 chromes) and 15 "Effects" (pearls, shimmers and sparkles). Both Gelish and Shellac colours can be mixed and layered to create new colours.

Which is safest, Shellac or Gelish?
Both Shellac and Gelish are Formaldehyde, toluene and DBP free (no nasty chemicals). There is an argument between those that use Shellac and Gelish that Shellac is better because you don't buff the nail beforehand therefore you aren't 'damaging' the nail. This isn't true! Gelish does require a light buffing of the nail plate however this doesn't harm the nail whatsoever, as long as its done properly! If you are completely against having your nails buffed then Gelish can be applied without - I have yet to witness a breakdown in the product because this step has been missed.

Which lasts longer, Gelish or Shellac?
Gelish advertises a 3 week manicure, while Shellac claims 2 weeks plus duration in their marketing. The good news is that both products look stunning and last as long as they claim to!

Conclusion
We offer clients the choice of both Gelish and Shellac treatments at The Royal Nail.
I don't think it's a matter of one being better than the other, just that they are different and serve different types of clients. Clients who are used to wearing Shellac know that it is a great product. And lets face it, CND's superior marketing power has made it much more well known than Gelish. However, I do believe Gelish is more durable and better for people who are hard on their nails. Personally I think both brands are great, and at the end of the day the choice is down to you as a client because both Shellac and Gelish are fabulous!

How about you? Got a preference? Tell us your experiences with Shellac or Gelish or other gel polish brands. I'd love to hear your thoughts (feel free to comment below).

The opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily those of Nail Harmony or CND.