Shellac or another gel polish?

Thinking of going with shellac as most ladies know the name and I love the colours. What's your thoughts?


Active Member
I personally didn't find it hard wearing enough for my customers, as they expect 3 + weeks. In the end I settled for a gel polish instead of Shellac and enjoy that more, since I don't find Shellac has enough exciting colours for me. And my customers can easily get 3+ weeks out of their gel polish without chipping. :) I also prefer to use a brand that isn't tested on animals.

The pros about Shellac is the short removal time with acetone, if that is your removal method. These days however, I remove gel polish with an e-file, so that particular time saver is wasted on me. ;) CND also do a gel polish by the way, called Creative Play. It's more hard wearing if that's what you need. So this all really depends on how you work, what your clientele is like, and how long they want to go between appointments.

Thankyou for your reply. I am just starting out so don't really have a client base yet can i ask which gel polish you use?


Active Member
Thankyou for your reply. I am just starting out so don't really have a client base yet can i ask which gel polish you use?
I use a Swedish brand called Lilly Nails, but it may not be available where you're based. :) But I also used to use CND, both shellac and Creative Play gel polish, and found the gel polish good coverage for the most part, easy to apply and harder wearing than shellac. But I don't know what would be best for you. It depends on how you remove gel polish. Shellac soaks off quicker than tel polish. But If you've had training to remove it with an E-file, then the soak off time doesn't matter since you'll be filing anyway. But if you'll be mostly doing gel polish manis and your method is soaking off (I mainly sculpt, only do gel polish only, a few times a week) then you should take into your timings how much longer you'd spend on each client with a gel polish rather than Shellac. Having said that, not a single one of my clients would be very happy if they only got barely 2 weeks out of theirs. The general consensus is that shellac is ideal for strong healthy nails. None of my clients have that either, I'm afraid, and most are now ex nail biters after I sculpted their nails, let them grow out, remove and convert to only gel polish. I can only give you my POV, I can't advise what you should do, since it's very individual what works for each person.

Will you be offering sculpting/extensions in the long run too?

I would like to, however haven't trained in sculpting yet. Thankyou for your advice.

Lol, I actually decided against Shellac because I was reading about so many problems folks were having with it here.
Plus everyone around me is already doing it so there was a ‘more of the same’ concern.

I trained instead with Bio Sculpture and it’s working ok but the product is so expensive that it kind of marginalises itself.

I figured I needed a base line gel polish brand and sat on the fence for the longest time. It’s so hard to choose these days!

Then Ikon.iQ (Sweden again) appeared on the scene and I went to a ‘see and try’ day in London.

I remember, I did a base coat on a pop stick which was just like BIAB, so I was impressed... then I went for a colour coat... I swear I didn’t even wait for it to cure under the lamp or do a top coat. The way that colour went on... oooooooohhhhhh!

It’s a proper one coat system and so lovely to apply. I’ve never been able to get so close to cuticle and side walls!

It’s embryonic - Still mostly just plain colours but lots of them, with a small selection of shimmers but I really don’t care, it will evolve.

Best thing is that it’s truly hypoallergenic, I’ve gained a few new clients purely because of it.

Worth a thought?

I will have a loom thanks

I’ve only just started out and have about 10 clients (more family and friends than anything else!!) I use Halo Gel Polish by Pure Nails - price is £xx.xxper bottle inc. VAT. A wholesaler near me has it in stock, or I also use as they do free delivery!
Found it really hard wearing - I couldn’t warrant spending the shellac/Gelish type prices and reading people’s concerns with them I thought it was a lot of money to spend. I also wanted smaller bottles so I could afford more of a range and Halo’s 8ml size is perfect.

As someone mentioned above, depends what you are going for - I wanted longest lasting but cost effective so I could keep my price low - as that’s the customer base that I have at the moment, and this was spot on.
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Are you mobile or home-based? I'm just starting to. How are you advertising?

Are you mobile or home-based? I'm just starting to. How are you advertising?
Mainly home based but go out to a couple that don’t drive/can’t get to me. Loving it, but it’s a bit of a hobby more than anything at the moment as I also work part time. But this works well evenings/weekends as i have a 2 year old daughter! Done manicure, pedicure and gel polish qualifications, want to do hard gel then E-file I find it really relaxing doing nails lol

Don’t really advertise - I have an Instagram page but that’s it at the moment - word of mouth is the best advertiser for me! Especially as I can’t do too many people with having another job lol


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Staff member
No trade prices please! :)


Active Member
Here's product strength from weakest to strongest:

1. Polish
2. Shellac
3. Gel Polish
4. Acrylic/Gel

2 and 3 sometimes crosses in strength because most brands, if not all, are not very well formulated, not fully cured by an LED light, and due to other misc factors.

Shellac is just one product for one of many client needs. So you need to have a good knowledge of different products and then make the right recommendation for the client.
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