One of the best parts of being a fashion and beauty writer here at Bustle is that I get to scope out the answers to questions I've always wondered but never taken the time to find out. For instance, I had no idea what the difference between gel polish and shellac was for the longest time, but now I do! If you're interested in one of the two, read on so you can make the most informed choice.
Both gel polish and shellac are "permanent" manicure options, and generally last two weeks. Each of them use UV light to harden the polish, and require some serious acetone to remove them. NYMag even said, "Like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, these two [polishes] are practically the same," but that's not entirely true.
While the processes for getting both manicures are very similar, there are two notable differences. Formula-wise, The Apprentice Beauty Blogger broke it down simply and explained, "Shellac is a form of permanent nail polish whereas Gelish is a gel polish (a gel in the form of a polish)." Seems like a no-brainer, but I didn't know!
The other big diff is removal time. Since Shellac is in fact polish, it tends to be faster and easier to remove than gel nails. One Fox beauty writer even noted, "the Shellac manicure by CND ... takes about a third of the time to soak off." Personally, I say the less time my nails have to sit soaking in acetone, the better!
In the end, both are going to give you smooth, beautiful, and long-lasting results. And if you're up for the healing process after gel manicures or Shellac, I say go for it!
I mean, look at these dreamy fall and winter Shellac hues!
And this sparkly gray perfection gel manicure.
Either way, you can't go wrong, and they'll both last you longer than your regular 'ol nail polish!