Shellac nails vs Acrylic – which manicure to choose for you?

So many ladies struggle with the choice of shellac nails…

So many ladies struggle with the choice of shellac nails vs acrylic when going to the beauty center. Below, we’ll consider all the pros and cons of both types.

The Key Differences Between The Most Popular Types of Manicure

Both types of manicures require some skill and practice to apply correctly, as well as regular maintenance to keep them in good condition.



Shellac (Sh) is a hybrid polish that combines the properties of gel and traditional nail polish.

Acrylic (Ac), on the other hand, is a powder material that is mixed with a liquid to create a thick paste, which is then applied to the nails and molded into the desired shape.

How Long They Last

She usually lasts for about 2-3 weeks. Ac are more durable and last 6-8 weeks. However, they need routine care and root filling.

Structure and Support

Structure and Support

There is no need for additional support elements such as molds or tips, as shellac is applied directly to the true fingernails.

An acrylic manicure is created by mixing special powder with liquid to form a thick paste. Molds or tips are for Ac manicures. Molds are plastic or metal templates that are attached to the ends to create the desired shape. Tips are artificial nails that are glued to the ends of true fingernails and then covered with paste.

How They’re Removed

Sh is applied in several layers and each layer is dried under an ultraviolet (UV) or light-emitting diode (LED) lamp. It can be taken off by using a special solvent or by soaking in acetone.

Ac pads are formed by applying paste to natural fingernails and shaping them into the desired shape. After drying, acryl becomes hard and durable. They are taken off by filing or using acetone.



The price of a manicure with shellac varies based on various factors, such as the location of the salon, and the experience of the master. On average, it starts from 30 to 50 dollars and more. The price usually includes preparation (removal of the old coating, cuticle trimming, shaping), application of shellac, as well as drying of the varnish under a UV lamp. Additional services such as design, rhinestones, or jewelry increase the total cost of the procedure.

The price of acryl also varies greatly depending on the region, the reputation of the salon, and the complexity of the work. Often, the cost starts from 40 to 100 dollars and more. This cost usually includes preparation, application of mixture, formation, and correction of the shape, as well as coating with gel-lacquer and drying under the lamp. Additional services such as lengthening with nail tips, design, jewelry, etc. cost more.

Are Shellac Nails?

Are Shellac Nails

Sh is a type of hybrid polish that is applied over fingernails. It is not fake, but rather a product that is designed to strengthen and protect nails, as well as give them a beautiful and well-maintained look. This coating usually lasts for 2 to 3 weeks, while maintaining shine and not cracking. There is no need for extensions and it does not increase the natural length.

What Are Acrylic Nails?

Ac are artificial nails that are made by hydrating acrylic paste. This mixture is formed into a hard plastic mass, which is then applied to fingernails to lengthen them or reshape them. Ac pads are often used to create long and strong nails that can be decorated with various designs and embellishments. Once acrylic dries, it becomes hard and resistant to damage. Acryl needs regular care and maintenance, including filling in the roots as they naturally grow.

How to Pick the Right One for You

How to Pick the Right One for You

Choosing between acrylics, shellac and other types of manicures depends on several factors such as the condition of your fingernails, desired results, and individual preference. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a manicure:

  • Nail condition: If you have weak or thin fingernails, shellac is a better option as it is less aggressive than Ac. Ac are more durable and are suitable for those who want to lengthen or correct their nail shape.
  • Desired result: Sh tends to give a more realistic look as it is thinner and more flexible. Ac allows you to create more complex designs and gives you the opportunity to lengthen your fingernails.
  • Longevity: She usually lasts about two to three weeks, while Ac lasts up to six weeks.
  • Removal: Shellac is easier to remove. Removing acrylic is more labor-intensive and stays on professional help.
  • Personal style: Ultimately, the choice between acrylic and shellac depends on your preference. If you prefer a more realistic appearance and an easier removal process, shellac is a better option for you. If you want a more durable manicure with the ability to create intricate designs, acrylic is a better choice.

In addition, there are many other types of manicures on the market, such as gel-lacquer, bio gel, fiberglass, and others. Each of them has its own features and advantages, so it’s recommended you consult with a professional manicurist to choose the best option for you.

Tips for aftercare

After a manicure, it’s important to maintain the health and beauty of your hands. Start by moisturizing your hands and cuticles regularly, using a quality hand cream. This will help prevent dryness, flaking, and chapping, especially during cold weather or when in frequent contact with water. It’s also a good idea to apply cuticle oil to soften the skin around your nails and encourage healthy growth.

In addition, try to avoid habits that can damage your hand skin. For example, don’t bite your cuticles, don’t use your fingernails as opening tools or scrapers, and avoid excessive hand washing with hot water. When doing household chores, such as washing dishes or cleaning, wear protective gloves to prevent contact with harsh detergents and prevent drying out the skin on your hands.

Frequently Asked Questions


Which one is more expensive?

The cost depends on many factors, including the skill of the technician, the location of the salon, the materials, and others. On average, gel tends to be more expensive than acrylic, as its materials are often more expensive and the process takes more time and technical skill.

Which is easier to remove?

Gel nails are usually easier to remove than acrylic ones. To remove Ac nails, you must file them or soak them in acetone for an extended period of time. Removing gel usually involves soaking in acetone for a short time, after which it can be easily removed.

What lasts longer?

Both materials last a long time if applied and maintained properly. However, acrylics are generally considered stronger and more durable. Ac lasts up to 3-4 weeks, while with gel you have to go to the beauty center every 2-3 weeks.

Which one is better for short nails?

Both are suitable for short fingernails. However, acrylic is often preferred for short or thin nails because it provides additional strength and durability.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type?

The gel looks more realistic and is usually less damaging to fingernails. However, they are less durable and need frequent maintenance. Ac, on the other hand, are stronger and more durable, but are more harmful to fingernails and have a more artificial look.

Can both techniques be used at the same time?

Yes, some techniques can combine gel and acrylic to achieve the desired result. For example, acrylic can be used to create extra strength and length, while gel can be used to add shine and brightness.

What are some alternatives?

There are several alternatives including paper wraps, dip powder, and false nails.

How do I care?

Both types of manicures require routine care to maintain their appearance and longevity. This includes regular touch-ups, moisturizing the cuticle with oil, and preventing trauma. It is also important to avoid contact with water for long periods of time and to use gloves when washing dishes or doing other wet work.

Can such a manicure damage my natural nails?

Yes, both types can damage nails if they are not applied or wiped out correctly. Improper use of these materials can weaken and thin them. To minimize the risk of damage, it is important to go to a qualified technician and follow all care instructions.

How long does it take to do extensions?

The time taken for extensions varies based on the complexity of the procedure and the experience of the technician. On average, gel extensions take 1.5 to 2 hours, while acrylic takes 1 to 1.5 hours. If you also want designs or patterns and are still not sure what to choose, shellac nails vs acrylic, takes additional time.

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