29 Members and 16832 Guests Online

Beauty Banter

What's the real story on gel or shellac for nails?

Started 1343535165.54 in Beauty Banter | Last reply 1343858616.71 by Fifi1

My hairdresser was telling me about gel coating for nails. My daughter is having an out of town wedding in September so I'll need to get my nails done beforehand. I was told that the get coat lasts for up to two weeks and doesn't ruin your natural nails. You just soak them off in acetone & you're good to go. I had acrylics two years ago and I don't want to get locked into doing that again. I also heard that shellac ruins your natural nails. Can someone tell me if these are safe on your natural nails? Thanks!

Page 1 of 2
catlvr1343535519.275855 PostsRegistered 5/5/2005

I have posted about this a bit. I had a Gel (Gelish) manicure last September for a wedding...it was GORGEOUS...like paint on an expensive sportscar...and then I lived with it for over 4 months while I soaked my nails in acetone, tried to back fill with nail polish...basically waited for the hot mess to grow out.

And yes, doing it on a regular basis will weaken your nails...the girl sitting next to me who has them done every two weeks told me so.

Never again for me.


Grangie1343537838.12631 PostsRegistered 10/20/2006
I have had a wonderful experience in the two years I've worn the shellac on my nails! I love it! Does it make your nails weaker than if you just wore regular polish? Yes, but not by much for me at all! Wore acrylics for years and will never go that route again as that does damage your nails! The shellac is like my nails just better! I would try it! I won't go without it! I wear the French manicure and keep a short length and it looks like my natural nails just stronger and better! Mine lasts about 3 weeks sometimes longer since I do the French manicure so no color grow out! HTH!

rentalchick1343539658.44738 PostsRegistered 3/10/2008

I love gel nail polish! My nails are much stronger and never peel or break with it on. My nail technician has me on a schedule. We put the polish on and it lasts 2 - 3 weeks. Then we soak it off with acetone (I promise this is not a big deal). Then we do another 2 - 3 weeks and soak it off. At this point I take a break for 2 - 4 weeks to give my nails a break and a chance to re-moisturize. I put cuticle oil and lotion on my nails once or twice a day during the rest period. I really believe this method will greatly minimize any drying or damage the gel polish could cause. I've been doing this for 6 months and have had zero problems. Give it a try - I think you will like it. {#emotions_dlg.thumbup}

Grade1Teach1343560009.910350 PostsRegistered 12/2/2007Long Island

I started doing the Gel Manicures in June and they were wonderful! My polish would last up to 3 weeks (minimal cracking by the 3rd week) and I never had to worry about a thing.

HOWEVER - I started to notice that my nail beds were sore when they would file my nails after my acetone soak. I finally went back to a regular manicure last weekend. Well, let me just say that my nails are sooooo weak. Within 2 days of removing the gel, my nails were breaking and splitting. I finally removed the polish and saw that I had white "scuff" marks on the tops of my nails. I filed them down and put Josie Maran's Argan Oil on them. I guess it deeply moisturized my nails because the color is back to normal. They are very, very weak though. {#emotions_dlg.sad}

If you are getting a gel manicure for a specific event, I would say to go for it. My nails didn't start to hurt until my 3rd gel manicure. I would do it again for a special occasion, but I don't think I would on a regular basis.

Iwantcoffee1343564276.8533148 PostsRegistered 11/28/2006

I have never had a gel or shellac manicure for nails as I beleive it is very unhealthy for my natural nails.

Here is an article by Dr, Susan Taylor

The Skinny on Gel Nails


About Dr. Taylor

"Dr. Susan C. Taylor is a Harvard trained dermatologist, clinical researcher, and world renowned expert in treating skin of color"

anonomisss1343565051.3331010 PostsRegistered 5/7/2011NY

I am loving the shellac, less harm if any then the gel they say..

so far no issues...on my 3rd week and got clear with a french tip so I dont see any growth that way,,

Shelbelle1343565585.91736501 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Soaking natural nails in acetone is never a good thing, I would never do it.

Tricolor1343568285.355631 PostsRegistered 4/19/2010Pittsburgh Suburbs

You will receive so many mixed reviews on this. I started doing Shellac when it first came out about 2 yrs ago. I went through the entire summer loving my nails. Well in the fall I decided to go back to regular polish and what a disaster. My polish would not stay on for more than 2 days. I knew that soaking in acetone was bad, but it did not seem to weaken my nails. Eventually it did weaken them. I am now back to having my nails the way that I like them and will not use any gel polish again.

65 year old
Blonde highlights
Dry skin and hair

millieshops1343568775.62316685 PostsRegistered 3/15/2007

Maybe the true story depends upon the genetic make-up of your natural nails???

According to my dermatologist, I have genetically bad nails and there's not much to do about them. She favors gentle natural care even though that leaves me with all sorts of cosmetic problems. For many years, I ignored her advice and had acrylics so I go to work with halfway decent hands. Nowadays I do natural and suffer.

My favorite nail tech - who sometimes wears shellacs and certainly does them on many of her clients does not ever want to do them for me. Too much possibility of damage on my kind of nails. I'm following her advice -reluctantly, because those shellacs do look lovely.

anitagayle1343569021.961307 PostsRegistered 5/20/2009

If you are planning on a one-time or sometime thing, you will probably not have any problems. In my case, it was the continuous use every two weeks that really dried out my nails. It does seem like a good solution for a wedding weekend without worry. Have fun whatever you decide to do.

formerly agbern

scgrl1343570465.43734 PostsRegistered 7/20/2012

I have pretty good nails and went to my nail tech and asked for a gel/acrylic french manicure because I thougth they looked nice on. She refused to because she said that would ruin my already good nails and would rather give me a shellac french instead. I did and it looked just a nice. I hope this helps.

Dharma_Ini­tiative1343570885.5574154 PostsRegistered 7/16/2007

I don't have professional manicures or do any of these false nails, but my teenage daughter does. Every once in awhile for a special occasion she has gotten acrylics. It took her forever to get them off (one time an entire day) and her nails are always wrecked once she's done. Last time she went she got a gel (or shellac? not sure what the difference is) manicure. It was a breeze taking it off, no time at all. I'm sure she'll go that way again next time. Personally I can't see spending that type of money but that's why she's got a job!


alexandraC1343579299.847742 PostsRegistered 12/4/2008Baltimore, Maryland

I have gotten shellac polish done several times. It does last and is super shiney, but it does make my natural nails weaker after being soaked in remover. I usually only get shellac if I am going on vacation and don't want to mess with polish or chipping issues while I'm away. HTH! Smile

crini1343580428.13545 PostsRegistered 3/31/2008Northern Delaware

I agree with a previous post, that it may very well depend on the health/strength of your natural nails. My nails are typically pretty weak, I've always had issues with peeling & breakage. I had a shellac manicure a year ago, only the one time. It was beautiful and I was psyched. I had my nails done for an out of town wedding, for the same reason as original poster, and it was great not having to worry about my nails for the entire week. They looked great for two weeks, and the color was a pale pink so the growth issue wasn't real obvious.

However, after I had the polish removed, my nails just would not grow out without peeling and breaking. It took an entire year for them to get back to normal, and they still go through periods where they don't seem very strong.

With hindsight, I don't think it was worth it. If I had it to all over again, I'd have just gotten a regular manicure and made do with my own touch-ups. But if your natural nails are strong, and you don't allow them to soak too long in the acetone, you might be okay. Just proceed with caution and don't assume that you won't have issues, make sure you take vitamins, try to keep your nails strong.

Clover291343581183.36711526 PostsRegistered 1/19/2008

My nails peel a bit at the tips, so I wouldn't call them especially strong. I always use pure acetone rather nail polish remover (even for regular nail polish). I've never had a problem with shellac.

It's a two or three times a year treat for me, I don't live in shellac nails. It's perfect for occasional use, like a wedding. I wouldn't hesistate, if it were my nails.

sudsgirl1343581849.797542 PostsRegistered 6/13/2012
I get shellac manicures. They last me over a month. If it wasn't for the grow out I could go longer. They look just as good when it's time for a new manicure as they did when I first got it.

Be the person your dog thinks you are .... I love you Maggie dog!

Grangie1343585586.69631 PostsRegistered 10/20/2006
I posted earlier that I do this with no problems and one reason may be that I use Josie's Argan oil on my nails and cuticles everyday so my nails stay healthy! Also, the correct way to remove the shellac is to soak a cotton ball in acetone and put on the nail and cover with foil and let soak. The shellac comes off very easy this way with no damage! If your nail place wants you to soak your nails in a bowl of acetone then I would find another that dosent take the easy way out! Done properly I never have had any problems in two years!

lemon meri­ngue1343590670.55346 PostsRegistered 11/3/2011Lemon Salon

I love the look of french manicure and it is a look I can not accomplish by myself. If I get a regular polish, it will last one day because I use my hands a lot. When I get shellac french polish, my nail holds a perfect french for at least 3 weeks. I use clear polish to fill any growth and it still holds an impeccable look.

Personally, I don't care about nail damage because my nails grow so fast anyway. I keep mine short to medium length. Shellac polish does not damage your nails. If your shellac polish starts to peel, and you chose to peel it off rather than soaking it off with acetone, that will damage your nail. I prefer shellac over acrylic. With shellac, I can file, clip and take them off whenever I want.

Here are some tips I have learned from wearing shellac. A shellac french manicure costs about $50 in my neighborhood. To get just a shellac polish change is only $25, you can request just a polish change with out the massaging, cuticle trimming, hot towel and all the other fancy manicure stuff. With polish change, the manicurist will still file, shape and buff your nails. It costs $7 more for french and $5 for them to remove the previous gel polish. I know prices vary in different parts of the country, but if price is an issue on the upkeep of your shellac nails, there are ways to save.

Life is delicious.

Adelm1343591448.053534 PostsRegistered 4/3/2009

I use gel polish on my nails and LOVE it! In my opinion, it's not the product that damages your nails, it's the technique used by the nail technician.

If the tech sands down or files the nail plate, or uses a metal implement to remove the product after soak off, over time that will result in cumulative damage. Unfortunately, I've never been able to find a tech who, in the interest of saving time, didn't wind up damaging my nails. So now, I do them myself.

It's great to have a manicure that lasts without chipping.

out of con­trol1343592001.403262 PostsRegistered 11/22/2007

I have been using shellac for about a year with great results! My nails were horrible before...wouldn't grow, always peeling and very soft. Now my nails have to be trimmed shorter at every manicure because they grow so much! Also the nail tech puts a cotton ball with acetone on my nail and covers it with foil while she does my pedicure. When she takes the foil and cotton ball off, the shellac polish comes off with it. No scraping...easy as pie! I had acrylics for years, but about 6 years ago the hospital I work for said that nurses could no longer wear them due to bacteria. This is wonderful for me, because I don't feel finished if my nails aren't done!!!

58 yr. old with menopausal, but normal skin, not sensitive. Brown hair with highlights and green eyes.

Rochester ­Shopper1343595542.6334928 PostsRegistered 7/20/2011Michigan

I don't want to sound stupid, but what is the difference between Gel and Shellac?

~Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting a battle.~
~My Grandma's motto: Is it nice, is it true, would you like it said of you?~

Tricolor1343596505.3935631 PostsRegistered 4/19/2010Pittsburgh Suburbs

Rochester, Shellac is a brand name by CND. I believe OPI calls their Gel. Not stupid at all.

65 year old
Blonde highlights
Dry skin and hair

Rochester ­Shopper1343597106.8574928 PostsRegistered 7/20/2011Michigan
On 7/29/2012 Tricolor said:

Rochester, Shellac is a brand name by CND. I believe OPI calls their Gel. Not stupid at all.

Thanks, Tricolor! I am so nail-challenged!

~Be kinder than necessary, for everyone is fighting a battle.~
~My Grandma's motto: Is it nice, is it true, would you like it said of you?~

Tricolor1343597484.765631 PostsRegistered 4/19/2010Pittsburgh Suburbs
On 7/29/2012 Rochester Shopper said:
On 7/29/2012 Tricolor said:

Rochester, Shellac is a brand name by CND. I believe OPI calls their Gel. Not stupid at all.

Thanks, Tricolor! I am so nail-challenged!

No problem. Have a good day.

65 year old
Blonde highlights
Dry skin and hair

SandyBE1343687432.03397 PostsRegistered 7/9/2007
On 7/29/2012 Shelbelle said:

Soaking natural nails in acetone is never a good thing, I would never do it.

I tried this at the urging of my nail gal for 6 months ... I had short stubby nails, (after years of tips) they constantly broke (yes from the damage of acrylics/gels) and it would peel off in big chunks. It was $30 + tip every two weeks. Then I had to soak in acetone for nearly an hour to get the stuff off.
No thank-you... The soaking in acetone left my fingers so dry, plus it cant be good... I went back to tips, go back every three weeks, its less than gels and I have long fab nails again!!! lol...

Page 1 of 2