A question we get asked all the time at Enhance is what’s the difference between Gel Nails and Shellac Nails? Let us explain:
• The main difference that we tell everyone is that we can lengthen the nail with Gel Nails, with Shellac we just apply on your natural nail. So if you have a nice nail bed and a good enough natural nail, a Shellac overlay is probably all you need. The Shellac can help strengthen the feel of the nail and many people can grow their nails to a longer length with the Shellac overlay on. If your nails are short, thin, brittle or chipped you might want to have Gel Nails applied. We can lengthen the nail with the gel and create a stronger nail. We can also do more nail art and designs when doing gel nails.
• Gel Nails are applied with a brush and a nail is sculpted with the gel and a ‘form’ under the nail (we do not use fake tips at Enhance). The gel is cured under the UV light and the nail is shaped to the desired shape. See examples of our sculpted gel nail before and after photos below!
• Shellac is a brand name for a Gel Polish. It is a ‘hybrid’, meaning half nail polish, half gel. It is applied to the nails like a polish, and are cured under the UV light so it is hard to touch and does not smudge like regular polish.
• Shellac is a brand name of a gel polish made by CND, but has become the name everyone knows when it comes to a gel polish. At Enhance we also use another brand of gel polish made by OPI, which comes in all the favourite OPI polish colours.
• Do Gel Nails ruin your natural nails? This is also a common question we get asked. Most of our clients wear their Gel Nails permanently (our owner has worn gels for 30 years as her natural nails are very brittle and short). Nails do not breathe and do not need a ‘break’ from nails unless you have significant lifting or damage to the natural nail. When the gel is applied to the natural nail the nail does have to be filed to create a roughness that the gel can adhere to. This filing can make the natural nail feel weaker if the nails are taken off. So we do not recommend Gel Nails for a one time occasion, in those cases Shellac is a better option. If your nails are short start the Shellac Manicures months before your special occasion so your nails can grow longer from the Shellac overlay.
Fun Fact: At Enhance we guesstimate 60% of our nail business is gel nails, 30% Shellac and 10% regular polish!