What is the difference between Gelish and Shellac?

Monday, 9 November 2015


Our make-up and nail expert, Lizelle from Chanel Bettison Hair and Beauty Salon, chats us through the differences and similarities between the two.

“Fundamentally Gelish and Shellac are the same, but there are a couple of note-worthy differences:

Shellac is made by CND (Creative Nail Design) where Gelish is made by Hand and Nail Harmony.

With CND Shellac you start off with a base coat, then two to three coats of your preferred colour and a top coat. With Gelish, you start off with a PH Bond, then you apply a Foundation Gel, then two to three coats of your preferred colour and a top coat.

CND Shellac and Gelish are both natural overlays so you apply it on your own nails (and not on acrylic or false nails).

CND Shellac calls their product a power polish, which is made from gel and polish and you have to cure it in a UV lamp. Soak off time would be 5 to 7 minutes. Gelish is a pure gel and you have to cure it in a LED Lamp. Soak off time will be a little longer – 10 to 15 minutes.

CND Shellac is softer on the natural nail and does not require any buffing of the nail during the soak off process. Gelish is harder on the natural nail and requires buffing of the nail during the soak off process.

CND Shellac can last up to 14 days. Gelish can last up to 21 days.

Both are amazing products and last longer than a normal manicure. The nails shine better and you save with having to get a manicure once every two – three weeks.”

Have a pressing make-up or nail question? Ask Lizelle here.

Other articles you may be interested in:
How to: Remove gel nails at home
Salon nail treatments
Heard about Shellac?
Nail product breakthroughs

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  1. Sarah-Jane Van Heerden

    Oooh this is so good to know,the Shellac sounds like something I’d like, lasts longer than nail polish but isn’t hard on your nails. love it!

    4 years ago •

  1. Charlene Van Huyssteen

    Lve the Gelish polish. I think they have the most extensive colour range and they are just beautiful. Would like to Shellac just to compare. I do find that the Gelish can be taxing on the nail especially after you remove the polish. Nails feel weak and scratched…perhaps thats the price of beauty.

    4 years ago •

  1. Christy Wolhuter

    Do any of the above damage your nails? Which one is the least detrimental and can you continue using these products on your nails for an extended period of time?

    4 years ago •


    How interesting.I never knew the difference until now.

    4 years ago •

  1. Linell Nyakutsikwa

    have always done acrylics…my nails are on the road to recovery looking forward to doing gels.

    4 years ago •

  1. Salmaa Moosa

    I usually always go for gelish nails. I prefer it because it lasts longer and also my nails are much more healthier and grow much faster, surprisingly.

    4 years ago •

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