GEL: FOR A LONG-LASTING MANI
The classic (kind of), the gel manicure was the first to conquer the beauty world, before shellac and acrylic showed up. This one’s the hardest of the bunch, so it’s a great choice if you’re a sufferer of nail snapping. First up, your nails will be shaped to your liking; I’m a fan of the squared-off edge, but each to their own. Next, the plate of your nail will be buffed to remove the natural oils. This allows the gel to apply super smoothly and adhere to the nail effectively. Then, your fingertips are popped under UV light – sounds scientific, it is – this ‘cures’ the polish for a longer-lasting mani. Glossy tips that are hard as nails, literally.
SHELLAC: FOR A NATURAL FINISH
Shellac’s popularity increases year on year. Why’s that? Because, of the three manicure types, this one gives the most ‘natural’ result. Shellac is a blend of nail varnish and gel (or ‘hybrid gel’), and was created by Creative Nail Design – that’s where the ‘CND’ term comes from. Shellac is applied quite thinly, so may feel a teeny bit lighter on the fingertips. The setting process is the same as gel, so your tips will cure under UV lighting. The polish will set to a high-shine finish that should stay in tact for up to two weeks. If your nails are in good condition, and don’t need strengthening, choose this mani.
ACRYLIC: FOR STRENGTHENING
If you’re a nail biter, it’s time to get acquainted with an acrylic manicure. This mani adds length to your fingertips with extensions, which are set over your natural nail. Unlike a gel mani, acrylic is not a ‘finished’ product, it’s formed of powder and liquid that are mixed by your technician during the mani. The acrylic ‘cures’ as it’s applied (unlike gel and shellac, which need that UV light). You’ll get to choose your desired length, so extending doesn’t have to mean super long. As for the polish, you could combine two mani types and ask for gel over your acrylic extensions. Confusing stuff. This will add length and a longer-lasting colour to your nails. If you’ve lived a life of short nails, get excited, you’ll be tapping those tips off everything in sight.