Regular Nail Polish vs. Shellac

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I’ve been a fan of shellac nail polish for quite some time now.  I’ve seen lots of questions on Facebook about it and thought I’d conduct my own little experiment so you can see the difference between regular polish vs shellac.

Regular Nail Polish vs Shellac

Regular Nail Polish vs Shellac

On my last trip to the nail salon (I use Eagle Nails) I had my manicurist (Stephanie, she’s the best ask for her) give me a french manicure with regular polish on my left hand and shellac on the right.  I’ve documented the results below.



These are my nails before polish.

Freshly Polished

Regular vs Shellac polishThese are my nails with polish.

Regular on the left and Shellac on the right.

They almost look identical.

Day 2

 Regular vs Shellac- Day 2

By Day 2 I already had a chip on my left pointer finger.

Day 5

Regular vs Shellac- Day 5Day 5 and the polish on the Regular side lifted and peeled off.

The Shellac side still looks flawless.

Day 14

Regular vs Shellac- Day 14By Day 14 the tip of my pointer finger and thumb was starting to look cracked and the bottom of the polish was starting to peel up on the Shellac side.

After Polish Removal

Regular vs Shellac-polish removedOnce the shellac starts to peel it drives me crazy and I end up peeling it all off.

If you look closely you can see the nails on the Regular side are smooth

and the nails on the Shellac side are rough since some of the top layer of nail has been peeled away.

  • Shellac polish lasts much longer than Regular polish
  • A UV light is used to harden shellac polish which makes it dry faster than Regular polish (you may want to apply sunscreen to your hands before your manicure), there’s no worrying about smudges
  • Shellac polish adheres to your nails and therefore when you remove it some of the nail layer is removed as well which sometimes weakens nails
  • There are different ways to remove Shellac polish.  You really shouldn’t peel the polish off.  Soaking the nails in acetone and buffing the polish off is preferred.  The acetone can dry out your skin so you should moisturize your cuticles and nails with cuticle oil or lotion.
Tips for making your manicure last longer
  • Avoid doing dishes.  Think about it.  To remove your nail polish you soak your nails, doing dishes involves soaking your nails in warm water.
  • Don’t use your nails as tools. If you need to pop the top on something use the end of a spoon.
  • Moisturize your nails and cuticles, especially at the base of the nail.  This will help prevent the polish from peeling up.
  • Spend enough time under the UV light to completely harden your nails.
  • Use someone who knows what they are doing.  I used someone else once and when my normal manicurist (Stephanie) was doing my eyebrows she looked down and told me she would redo them for me.  I felt totally awkward when she pulled the lady over to show her that she did it wrong but happy to have them done correctly.  Now I have a reputation at the nail salon and if Stephanie is not there they ask if I want to come back. I didn’t even complain, I promise.

I highly recommend giving Shellac a try.  You can get an assortment of colors. I usually do regular polish on my toes and match my shellac fingernail color to my toenail polish if I don’t do french.

2 thoughts on “Regular Nail Polish vs. Shellac”

  1. 5 weeks ago, I got the shellac nails for the very first time and they are still looking good, except one nail. I don’t want to get in this bad habit of shellac nails, since it weakens your nail bed. But, my nails have not peeled and they look so good, especially with color changing polish on them. I just love it!! I think I will miss the shellac nails, but I will only do it a couple times a year!!

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