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Gelish vs. Shellac

So you’ve heard all about Shellac, but what’s Gelish?  Gelish is also a hybrid gel-polish by Hand and Nail Harmony.  Both Shellac and Gelish are applied like polish from polish bottles, but are cured in UV Lampsand have the lasting results of gel nails.  Neither necessitates filing of the nail’s surface before application, and both soak-off in acetone, which protects natural nails, making them less harmful than traditional gels.   Although each brand’s base and top coat will work with the other’s polish and UV wattage lamps, each works best as a complete system.   Nails result as super-shiny, durable and natural, which are making these hybrid-polish manicures all the rage in salons.  However, Gelish boasts of a 3 week wear, has larger-sized bottles, and is available in more colors than Shellac – 72 to be exact.

The original 48 Gelish colors:

Even more, newly released colors:

For Shellac’s 48 color swatches, go here.

Gelish is more difficult to find than Shellac due CND’s popularity, but overall the products are pretty indistinguishable.  The Nail Teacher tends to root for the underdog, so I personally prefer Gelish for its color variety and slightly cheaper price.  Maybe Shellac should be jealous of Gelish?  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.) Be sure to check out our extensive Gelish review and tutorial, I plan on posting one soon for Shellac as well.  Whichever you choose – enjoy this revolution of safe, long-lasting manicures!

{ 186 comments… add one }

  • Susie March 17, 2011, 2:17 am

    Need to know…i’ve read that Shellac goes on thinner, could that compensate for the thicker, bigger bottle Gellish? As far as smooth high shineness, which would you rate as better quality? My cousin is also a nail tech and like with anything she’ll still push the more expensive product…would these two products stand for same idea of quality vs quantity? would really appreciate your point of view, thanks, Susie.

    • Ray May 1, 2011, 7:52 pm

      I would use the shellac base coat and the gellish nail colors and top coat. I find the shellac more durabe and provides a protective barrier that enables the nails to grow naturally without the damage caused by powered gel or tips. PLUS you can do it at home,the investment will pay for itself after three or four manicures at the salon! Can’t beat that!

      • Anna August 7, 2012, 8:28 pm

        You should not mix Shellac with Gelish. Shellac is only formulated to cure under a UV only where as Gelish will cure with UV or LED. So if you use it under an LED it will peel or chip.

    • Laurie December 2, 2011, 1:53 pm

      For those that do not want to invest the amount of money that it takes for Gellish or Shellac. I suggest a product Brilliant Due Nail Polish Protector by Layla.

      This stuff is awesome. I use Orly nail Bonder as a base coat, 2 coats of any nail polish (I prefer OPI) and the Brilliant Due Nail Polish Protector as a top coat.

      No light is needed no curing and once you put the top coat it dries in 20 seconds. It’s amazing. No more sheet marks from going to bed after I polish my nails.

      My manicure lasts from 10 to 14 days. It’s a great alternative to spending 130 dollars for all the stuff to do gellish or shellac. And you can use your own polish.

      The finish on the nail is mirror like. I went to get my pedi and my manicurist asked me who was doing my nails. She could not believe it was not shellac.

      • Dawnielle May 24, 2012, 1:56 pm

        I was doing some research on lacquer and shellac polish. As I was researching I came across a blog bragging about Brilliant Due Nailpolish Protector. It stated this top coat was very shiny and kept your polish on until you were ready to remove it. This protector dries in 20 seconds. Of course, I researched and bought a bottle as fast as I could, paying $19. That price to me is absolutely too expensive but if it works the way it says it does then it is worth it.

        I couldn’t wait to try it out! I put on my Orly polish and topped it off with my new Brilliant Due. My Brilliant Due indeed dried to the touch in 20 seconds, however it left lines in my polish that later turned into cracks, much like the crackle polish and by day three most of my polish was chipped off the edges. By itself, Orly typically lasts almost a full week on my natural nails and is only rubbed at the edges. Not only did my Brilliant Due Nailpolish Protector not do what it said it does, it made my polish last less than half the time it normally does. This product is a waste of money! I would not even use it on my 8yr old daughter.

    • Janice December 31, 2011, 5:22 pm

      . I’m a nail tech of 34 yrs and work with these products. If anything Gelish is much thinner, watery. Tends to run into the sidewalls so beware if you are a non professional planning to app,y your own soak off gel products. There is far more to the application than ‘polishing your nails’.

      I use both Gelish and Shellac and far prefer the Shellac. It’s a bit thicker which doesn’t tend to run on the nailbeds, also giving a bit more durability to a thin nail.

      Gelish base is too runny and needs to be ‘wiped’ with a dry brush before applying the color coat. I find the color coat tends to’creepback from the free edge making it hard to get full coverage onto the nail edge.

      There’s a reason it’s cheaper. You get what you pay for!

      • Candice March 27, 2013, 7:49 pm

        Hi Janice! Is it true that Shellac will not cute under a LED?

    • Allison October 24, 2013, 3:07 pm

      I’m by no means a professional, but do prefer Gelish simply because it’s cheaper! I’ve bought 40 different colors and have created at least 20 more just by layering them. I plan on buying all the colors eventually (something I wouldn’t be able to do with Shellac)… It’s true that some colors do run much thinner than others -these tend to look better over other colors. For someone like me who’s simply making a hobby of it Gelish is the way to go (especially for the color hoarders like myself).

    • Stephanie July 4, 2017, 6:43 pm

      You can apply really thin layers of gelish just like Shellac. I prefer gelish because its 100% gel where as shellac isn’t. The trick to keeping it both quality & quantity is using the base, top & gelish color together otherwise its not a stable product

  • Jamie May 11, 2011, 2:46 pm

    I’m going to a salon tmrw. to try shellac for the very first time. Can consumers purchase shellac or gel nail polish to do themselves at home?

    • Karen Shelby May 22, 2011, 9:42 pm

      Shellac may be bought retail but your looking at appx $30.00 a bottle and you must use the base and top coat. I am not sure what the UV lamp sells for but it could be upwards to $300.00 retail.
      Surely as the interest peaks, prices will come down.

      • beth June 14, 2011, 5:26 pm

        I have seen the lamp for about $60 and the base, top, and color for about $15-18 a bottle on amazon.com.

        • Jennifer Lambert March 7, 2012, 2:02 pm

          you must use CND lamps with Shellac to ensure a safe service. The price for the UV is around $300 and has been for 10 years and bulbs must be changed evry 300 hours. All gel will “look” cured but the bottom line is that old bulbs or using the wrong lamp can be very unsafe and cause a future allergic reation to the product. Which is really why you should go to a professional that has been properly educated.

    • Nikki June 24, 2011, 8:15 pm

      I order my gelish polishes from Amazon.com $14-18.

      • Joyce November 10, 2011, 6:01 pm

        Sally Beauty Supply carries a gelish line for around $12.00

      • Jennifer April 3, 2013, 9:03 am

        You can buy them Sallys Beauty for cheaper with a Sallys card. $12…..

        • Jackie July 14, 2013, 10:58 am

          Yes but on amazon you pay almost the same price that you do at sally’s but you get a way bigger bottle than what sally’s gives you.

    • Thresa July 29, 2011, 3:16 am

      I think you can purchase your own gelish or shellac and do it at home. Many video tutorial and articles are on the internet. And prices coming down now. I got them Shellac and Gelish from EsthersNC.com

    • Amy September 6, 2011, 12:05 pm


      You can buy all the shellac polish and even a uv lamp on amazon.com. I got mine and am happy to say with a little practice since it is thicker my manicures will look just as good as going to a salon. I got a deal on the uv lamp, top and base coat and a polish pretty reasonable.
      I love the shellac and I think you will too if you want your own natural nails.

    • wylenenails February 27, 2012, 2:44 pm

      our results are based on application. If it’s runny, use less product and precise application. When I first started looking at pictures of Shellac and Gelish and other brands some of the professional pictures looked thick as acrylic. I was hesitant to try. I have converted about 5 clients to it. They had great results. I prefer working with a gel polish that applies like traditional nail polish. I have 40+ ys experience,over 100 bottles traditional polish,90% of clients get great results with basic manicure, so I was hesitant to offer this new gel polish. I charge 40.00 for it because I also do a manicure. time it takes is 1 and 1/2 hours.

  • Maria D. May 19, 2011, 9:20 am

    I have tried Shellac & Gellish polish. But neither products seems to stay on more than 4 Days. They both seem to chip at the tip & edges. Why??? they need to invent a better product that would have longitivity no matter how rough you are with your nails. I think the product should have more Fiber & Nylon elasticity so it can last longer and so that they don”t have to buff your nails every time you have a manicure. My job requires to have a magnificent nails at all times, I cannot have chipped nails!!!! Sadly impress, Maria D………

    • thenailteacher May 25, 2011, 5:21 pm

      Does your manicurist paint the very top of your nail tips, so that it covers a bit underneath the nail? This often seals the manicure and prevents chipping.

      • Steph June 17, 2011, 1:15 am

        I’ve heard that using the wrong UV lamps will cause this, According to many posts on the internet Shellac will not set unless you use their specific lamp. I still am trying to find out if there is an alternative since its kinda expensive.

        • Ryann June 26, 2011, 6:04 pm

          It must be cured with 36W lamps, of which there are a variety on the market that are not as costly as CND brand. A lamp with less watts will not cure the product properly and lead to chipping and peeling.

          • thenailteacher June 26, 2011, 7:50 pm

            I have cured my Gelish in a 9 watt lamp; it is slower, but it still works.

        • Chewy Yaj July 11, 2011, 7:31 pm

          We use Thermal Spa UV Lamps and they work just fine. You dont “have to” use CND or Gelish Harmony UV lamps.

        • Janice December 31, 2011, 5:26 pm

          It’s got to do with the wattage. Has to be a 36 watt lamp. Just be ause it’s a uv lamp,,,that means nothing and if you got it somewhere cheap an I didn’t hold for 2-3 weeks then chances are the lamp is not correct or the nail tech just bought the product and is using it without training.

          If the bulbs are old then they may not cure the gel completely. Product breakdown happens soon after.

          • Girl_stuff August 1, 2012, 10:20 pm

            It has nothing to do with wattage. It has to do with the wavelength of the photoinitiators in the polish and the range of the lamp. It’s not a standardized market yet, but most reputable LED/UV brands have the photoinitiator range that’s compatible with reputable lamps. Don’t fall for anti-science marketing and save a bundle!

            I cure Harmony Gelish, IBD Just Gel, Red Carpet Manicure and Jessica Geleration all in my 6 watt RCM Pro lamp I bought for $40. I’m an IBD Just Gel girl (about $8 for 14ml/.5 oz via Amazon and Nail Supply House). Awesome colors. I haven’t used Chu Jie or Progel EZ yet.

    • Mary June 19, 2011, 8:43 am

      It is very important to etch the surface of your nail to have no shine then use a dehydrator to remove all oils then foundation or base coat color top coat do not clean nails between steps only at the end if you do this it will last weeks. I am very hard on my nails I lay tile and grout and my nails look awesome at the end of the day

    • Lalita June 20, 2011, 3:31 pm

      I’ve had two no chip manicures so far. The first time, the technician meticulously applied the polish to the sides and tips of my nails. The second time, she was rushed and didn’t do the sides and tips. The first applications didn’t chip for the three weeks I had it on. The second application saw more fragile.

    • mildred July 17, 2011, 5:49 pm

      Gelish does stay on at least 10 days w/no wear, chipping, etc. The key is proper application. I watched several videos before doing my first manicure w/it 10 days ago. Love the product so far.

    • miss Heather August 11, 2011, 7:04 pm

      Maria…I’m not sure if your doing this yourself or having them done professionally BUT their are tricks of the trade! I am a nail tech and I do Shellac applications about 6 times a day! I haven’t had not one single complaint! Everyone I do LOVES IT! Must be your nails or whoever it is applying it to your nails.

      • Janice December 31, 2011, 5:31 pm

        Thank you Heather ! So glad to see another professional on here! I’m a nail tech as well, with about 15-20 Shellac clients each week. I also fleld test for CND. There is no way that an untrained person is going to have the same results that you and I do. Pretty soon people start talking down the product when what they really should be paying attention to is the experience of the person doing the work!
        Glad to see your words of wisdom too!

    • Lizzy August 27, 2011, 10:29 am

      The first time I had my gel done the manicurist did not dry my nails prior to curing. I had problems. Wrinkles and chips. I went back for redo and was told by another manicurist the problem was that they did not dry well. I noticed she had me dry my nails first then cured them. The previous manicurist did not do this. BIG DIFFERENCE! Also make sure they apply the polish on the tips and under and sides. I had one manicurist in a rush. I had to point out to her she missed the sides and tips.

      • Janice December 31, 2011, 5:46 pm

        When I do a Shellac or any other nail enhancement application, I never begin with a manicure. There should be no lotions, oils, scrubs etc applied to the hand/nails prior to the application. You want the nailbeds to be dry and oil free. I shape my clients nails, push back and address any ragged cuticles. Then wipe each nailbed with pure acetone or alcohol. Either is a drying agent. After the gel polish is complete with base, color and top coat , I wipe the residue free with alcohol, then do a lotion massage, add cuticle oil and do a final wipe with cotton/ alcohol so the nails shine glossy. I also check the free edge to make sure there is no rough edge and smooth out of necessary. If the free edge is filed later the seal may be broken and then the product will lift or peel up.

    • EV September 9, 2011, 11:30 pm

      They should only be smoothing your nails down to make them smooth, not “buffing” or taking down a layer. I used after having acrylics for a special occasion and the shellac actually made my nails feel stronger! I am ROUGH on my nails, I’m heavy into rock climbing both indoor and outdoor which is like taking a nail file to your nails every move and mine last a good 2 weeks and still look awesome. Even went 3 weeks once! With that said, I am a girly girl, and ALWAYS have my nails done, so was doing my own manicure at home ever other day or so after climbing. This is a great fix! Find someone who can do a better job, this is a great solution for us girls who need a great looking manicure and are hard on our nails!

    • Lindsay July 13, 2012, 11:53 am

      You may want to try a different salon. I have gotten my nails done with Gelish twice now and they last for almost three weeks and I am pretty rough on my nails. The only way you can tell that they aren’t freshly painted is the new growth at the base. Either way, it should definitely last for more than four days – hope that helps!

      • Soila November 17, 2012, 11:24 am

        Just wanted to say hugs to your for your posts being siwped. I think it is important to rat these people and and do report them to Google. If this person has left no way to contact them, then it seems like they know damn well what they are doing is wrong.

  • Robin May 23, 2011, 2:57 pm

    I just ordered the Shellac system – you can get it on Amazon, along with a 36 watt UV lamp (I am not a nail technician, but figured that I can do it – since I can paint my own nails). Ray mentioned using the Shellac Base with Gelish color and Top. Is this correct? Is there any other combination which will be thicker (though not look “artificial”) so as to protect my otherwise thin and sadly easy-to-break nat nails? Or – can I add more coats of one part of the system to get this effect? Thanks! Robin

    • thenailteacher May 25, 2011, 5:28 pm

      I have ordered the Gelish system – stay tuned for a full review and video tutorials! My manicurist also uses the Shellac base and top coat with Gelish, but I feel the products are meant to be used as a system, which may be why some clients have longevity issues. To protect nails, you can apply a fresh top coat every day. I also suggest painting French tips, which will add more layers of polish on the tips of your nails, preventing breakage.

  • Geniene May 25, 2011, 1:48 pm

    I transitioned from a gel overlay to just Shellac/Gelish about a month ago. I’ve worn acrylic and then gel for about 10 yrs.

    I like Gelish’s color choices much better but Shellac base coat does seem to be stronger. My current Shellac mani lasted for 21 days before any peeling. Will be going to get a mani tomorrow b/c the new growth is ridiculous! LoL

  • Izabel May 27, 2011, 1:54 pm

    Sorry but just to let you know Shellac doesn’t need to filing of the nail’s surface before the application ,so it is the difference between Shellac and gelish, to apply Shellac you don’t need to remove the natural moisture on the surface of the nails.

    • thenailteacher May 28, 2011, 11:51 am

      I don’t believe either necessitates filing, but many technicians prep the nail this way anyway (perhaps habit from applying regular gels or acrylics?).

      • MoLo June 6, 2011, 12:45 pm

        Videos on Gelish say to use a 180 grit file to allow for proper adhesion of the base coat. I have tried filing and not filing, and can tell you that by not filing, you are going to begin lifting in a few days.

        • Steven June 13, 2011, 12:18 am

          Also use PH balancing agent to dry the nail surface before put on the base. This will help the gel polish to stay on longer.

        • Tracy July 2, 2011, 11:54 pm

          I am having the hardest time getting the gelish nails not to peel off after a day or two. It’s really getting annoying. I feel I am doing all the steps correctly but I must be doing something wrong. I need help.

          • thenailteacher July 8, 2011, 4:51 pm

            How do you prep your nails? Do you buff? Where is it peeling from–bottom or top? I found that you must apply the gel cleanly, meaning not get excess on your cuticle or finger skin. This can be avoided by careful wiping off the excess gel with a damp at all stages (base, color and top coat) before curing in the UV lamp. I put my damp cloth over an orange stick for precision. When I have excess, I tend to pick at it, which lifts the rest of the gel. It may help to cure the base coat longer than the color. Painting the tips of your nail to seal the edge also can help, especially with top chips.

          • Cieall January 11, 2014, 11:20 am

            Thank you for sharing. I am guy and sueffr from occasional migraines. When an episode happens nothing works Paracetamol, muscle relaxant, etc. And it would last for at least 48 hours. The only that worked for me was Caffox. Taking one tablet brings relief from the pain within 2-3 hours.Your sharing affirms my suspicion that bright glare, loud noise and certain types of food (oily or too spicy) can cause migraines (at least for me). FYI: I don’t drink and I don’t smoke.Your migraine episodes are way more terrible than mine. At least when I have them, I basically cannot do any work – zero. Just a striking pain and splitting heading, pressure on the eye and throbbing temple. My sisters think it’s impossible for guys to have migraines and since they don’t have migraines it’s impossible for me to have migraines. :P

    • Brittany August 9, 2011, 2:38 pm

      Yes you do. If you don’t that natural moisture of the nail will make it easier to chip and break the seal.

    • Agustin January 11, 2014, 11:05 pm

      When I was in grade school we made these but dpiped each bead in melted candle wax to protect and harden. The teacher used sternos under pyrex bowls with broken candle sticks. Not wanting to play with matches at age 10 I decide to put a broken candle in my parents’ microwave only to have it explode all over the place and block up those little holes in the microwave. Note: Use the sterno method if you do this.

  • NancyG May 30, 2011, 10:13 am

    I think this maybe a case where you shouldn’t blame the product – it may be your nail tech. Many many women are getting 2,3 and even 4 weeks of chip free wear with the gel polishes and although it isn’t right for everyone, when it works it is fantastic. And with Shellac at least, there should be NO buffing of the nail at all. If your nails are “bendy”, you might also try Gelish’s Structure which will reinforce your nails and make the manicure last longer. I would suggest you try some other nail techs and see if that makes a difference. And if your work requires great nails, it might even be worth it for you to invest in the system and become a DIYer.

    In short, I wouldn’t give up quite yet. Like most new products, gel polishes require a bit of experimentation and customization to get it just right.

  • susan May 30, 2011, 7:35 pm

    I purchased the gelish starter kit on Amazon. I did my own nails for the first time today. I was actually easy to do although I may have forgotten to put the ph bond on one hand, so will see if that had lasts as long as the other one. I used the mini lamp that came in the starter kit. I did my thumbs first, and then the fingers. I am so amazed at how nice they turned out. Will need to practice applying a little thinner so that I dont end up with excess sticking out over the edges. I sealed the tips, and then filed off the excess that stuck out over the edges. Anyway, it is very shiney, makes my brittle nails nice and hard, and looks very nice. Finally a nail treatment that I can do at home that makes it so that I do not pick at peeling nails, or have to have over thick acrylics. I like my nails short and natural looking and this product is perfect. love it!!!!!!

  • julie June 9, 2011, 2:36 pm

    I’ve been using Gelish at home and at the salon and have gotten 3 weeks out of my color before changing it (I get bored easily). Sometimes I just use the foundation and top coats & put regular polish over it. You can remove it with non-acetone remover and it won’t effect the Gelish. You don’t file the nail bed with this stuff either. Also, you can find the polishes for around $12 on Amazon and UV lamps pretty affordable on eBay. Also, don’t waste $ on the remover or cleanser. Use rubbing alcohol and acetone to clean and remove, respectively. It’s much, much cheaper.

    My nails have gotten very long since they rarely break since using this stuff & when I take a few days off from it, they are still in good shape unlike when I’ve taken acrylics off. The Gelish polish leaves your nails bendy.

  • Steven June 13, 2011, 12:15 am

    Gelish will cure under LED light and Shellac only cure under UV Lamp. Just a several Shellac colors will cure under LED light. LED would cure much shorter time 10 second & 20 second compare to 1 minutes and 2 minutes for UV Lamp.

    • Joan June 29, 2011, 2:10 pm

      Do either of the UV lamps or LED lights cause skin cancer?

      • thenailteacher July 8, 2011, 4:53 pm

        This is still a controversial issue; I believe the low wattage of the UV light is not detrimental, especially if you don’t use it often. If you’re worried, switch between gel and regular polish manicures to avoid exposure.

    • Charmaine October 4, 2011, 12:20 am

      Which Shellac colors will cure under LED light?

      • Tina October 4, 2011, 3:50 pm


    • Tina B October 4, 2011, 3:49 pm

      I disagree. I cure Shellac all day long(10-15 clients a day) under the Gelish LED, usually two rounds just to make sure but that’s still half the time of using the CND lamp. Gelish says right on the bottle you can cure it in the same time as Shellac under the CND UV light.

  • Erika June 21, 2011, 7:01 pm

    I’ve been getting shellac/gelish manicures for 6 months now. I am ridiculously hard on my hands and nails and am consistently impressed with this product. I can go 2 weeks easily and closer to 3 weeks between manicures. This past weekend I went to a garnet mining area in Idaho and didn’t even wear gloves as I dug my hands into the dirt and picked rocks out of the sand. Not even a chip! I think shellac is a bit more flexible than gelish but you can’t deny gelish has more colors. Shellac samples seem a bit truer to actual colors.

  • shawna June 30, 2011, 8:21 pm

    Trying to be a DIYer…found Gelish products at Sally’s Beauty Supply (open to the public). Shellac can only be purchased online for a DIYer (only available at nail supply stores, license required). Hopefully it’s just as good since it’s available locally & cheaper!

  • Imagyne July 4, 2011, 6:04 pm

    Just an FYI for those thinking of investing in the tools and polish to do Gelish. I bought a 36W UV Curing lamp for 28.95 on ebay. The shipping was a little pricey (18.95 coming from california but the item is brand new and works the same as the salon, even better since it will two hands instead of just one at a time.
    I also bought the Gelish products on Amazon. Paid 38 and change for the PH Factor, the base coat and top coat and about 10.00 -14.00 a bottle for the gelish polish itself. I bought three colors. I have not attempted this myself yet but tonight is the night. Will let you know how it worked out.

  • Imagyne July 4, 2011, 6:08 pm

    PS It probably cost me about 128.00 total for everything. But, the salon cost me 60.00 for Gelish and Pedicure, plus tip. Needless to say, after 1 1/2 times using what I bought I have paid for two trips to the salon. I love the salon I was going to, they did a great job but the operator was so busy, she would get up in the middle of my gel nails to help another customer. The last straw and deciding factor for me was when she applied wax to my lip and I was there for (don’t laugh) nostrils! She never looked at the appt to see what I was there for besides pedi and gelish.

    • Janice December 31, 2011, 5:57 pm

      It’s the old ‘you get what you pay for’. If you go to a reputable salon where you both understand what each other is saying, and you can visually see they are licensed, then you are probably on the same page.

      If you go looking for ‘cheap nails’ then you usually get cheap quality product, workmanship and professionalism.

    • Suhono January 11, 2014, 4:53 pm

      I leave a response each time I like a post on a blog or I have setnmhiog to add to the conversation. Usually it is caused by the passion displayed in the article I read. And on this post The Wonderful World of Shellac Carenza: Fashion Life Carenza: Fashion Life. I was excited enough to drop a comment I actually do have some questions for you if you don’t mind. Could it be just me or does it look like a few of these responses look like they are written by brain dead visitors? And, if you are writing at other sites, I’d like to follow you. Would you list every one of your community pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  • Laura July 8, 2011, 10:50 am

    Can Gelish be used without the primer? I am allergic to the primer used under acrylic and gel nails, and I assume the primer for Gelish and Shellac is similar.

    • thenailteacher July 8, 2011, 4:43 pm

      The primer is only to dry the nail bed (basically pure acetone or rubbing alcohol will work the same) to free it from natural oils so that the nail polish will better adhere to the nail’s surface. Again, Gelish and Shellac are systems, so they will work to some degree without all the steps or by substituting steps, but the results will not necessarily be the same as when all the steps are followed.

  • Redz July 11, 2011, 7:04 am

    I think it really depends on the nail tech.I had mine done with the shellac and it stayed beautiful for about 3 weeks.Then I went to another salon closer to home and they used the gelish but rushed through the process and the shellac definitely did the best job.Plus I did not like when the nail tech used the drill on the top of my natural nails.

  • Nikki July 11, 2011, 1:03 pm

    Maybe the UV cancer connection could be mitigated by spraying or applying a high number sunscreen on hands before starting the process. Or possibly some kind of glove with the nails revealed. They make golf gloves like this. With gloves one could possibly even have a hand treatment at the same time! Any thoughts? I love these gelish! Never have been happy with the appearance of acrylics and of course someone taking a Dremel to my hands! I’m a happy camper so I’m going to start doing it myself where I can spend more time than the salon as I am very particular about my nails. Is this OCD or some other disorder?

  • Hilary July 16, 2011, 9:05 pm

    my nails break quite easily but have found recently that using a good hand and nail cream helps more than specific products such as hardeners. If I have gelish or shellac does that add a bit of protection? I dont actually want acrilyics or gel nails as I know these are not very good for nails – thanks

    • thenailteacher July 19, 2011, 10:24 am

      Careful nail care and even nutrition definitely pose a more lasting solution to beautiful nails than a “magic” product. What isn’t good for weak nails is harsh filing, so even though acrylics and gels are a temporary solution to having long, hard nails, their application and removal are overall detrimental. Gelish and Shellac, along with other soak-off gels such as OPI Axxiom, protect the nail as it grows out, and if removed properly, doesn’t damage the natural nail underneath.

  • susan July 19, 2011, 3:44 am

    Hi there

    I am new to the whole gelish business but i bought the kit recently and decided to do a set myself.

    I used a 36 watt uv lamp but for the life of me could not get the gel to set after each coat. I spent almost 2 hours and at the end the polish still felt slightly tackey.

    I filed & buffed nail
    applied foundation base coat (cured for much more than 2 minutes)
    applied colour (cured again)
    applied 2nd coat (cured again)
    applied top coat (cured again

    Do i need to invest in an led light or what am i doing wrong

    Distracted Susan

    • thenailteacher July 19, 2011, 10:17 am

      This happened to me the first time, too. After the top coat, you need to wipe each nail with the Gelish Cleanser (blue bottle). This removes the tackiness and instantly dries the nails. I avoid using cotton balls for wipes because the cotton can stick – a cotton round or paper towel work fine.

      • Tracy September 11, 2012, 10:51 pm

        Thank you!!!

    • Gail July 20, 2011, 10:50 pm

      Gel polish is SUPOSE to be tacky between layers, that is what makes the nect layer stick. Once you have cured the Top Coat, use the cleanser or 100% rubbing alcohol to wipe off the tacky layer.

    • Candi August 14, 2011, 11:59 pm

      you have to use the cleanser or alcohol on a lint free swap that will take off the taciness and they’ll be dry and shiny :)

    • ashley Bulik October 7, 2011, 11:18 pm

      I filed and buffed nail. Here are the steps I used and it worked amazingly.

      cleanse nail with gelish cleanser
      Buff nail
      apply cleanser again.
      apply ph balance to nails
      apply base coat
      cure 2 minutes
      then do thumbs last
      apply gelish color polish
      cure 2 minutes then repeat again
      apply top coat
      cure 2 minutes
      then wipe clean with gelish cleanser to remove tackiness

      My nails looked awesome. They are hard and shiny!

    • Janice December 31, 2011, 5:59 pm

      Don’t wipe the nails in between curings. You only wipe after the top coat.

    • Tracy September 11, 2012, 10:50 pm

      Same Problem, I’ll have to try the suggestions below!!!

  • MamaNuggs July 21, 2011, 3:23 pm

    I tried Gelish for the first time and was disappointed that my nails are “sparkly.” I am pushing 60 and don’t want to look like a teenager. : ) It was a French manicure using what I thought was a cream pink (they call it “22″) and a cream white. What do you recommend as the best cream pink for a French manicure?

    • thenailteacher July 23, 2011, 9:00 am

      Not sure what color “22″ or “cream pink” is in the Gelish line . . . this must have been your salon’s naming. I personally haven’t tried all of the colors yet, but I think Taffeta, Ambience, Forever Beauty, Light Elegance, or Pink Smoothie would be good choices for a French manicure. You could always try Shellac pinks as well. All Gelish and Shellac will be super shiny, but only particular polishes should be sparkly.

    • Thresa July 29, 2011, 3:24 am

      Many use Gelish Bashful or Simple Sheer for Pink French. Simple sheer is quite transparent while Bashful is a bit opaque. Visit this blog to see the photo swatches: http://blog.esthersnc.com/2011/02/17/gelish-system-products-and-applications/

    • Janice December 31, 2011, 6:01 pm

      My most requested French combination is Shellac’s Negligee and the tips in Cream Puff. The perfect classy French for any age!

  • Mary July 23, 2011, 1:31 am

    I bought the Gelish system today after loving the last few salon results. I had problems removing my Gelish nails. I purchased finger tabs with wrap around self sticking tape. I used acetone and kept them on for about 15 minutes (10 min did not work). I still had to scrape them off and the scraping took off some of my nail bed layers. Help! Is there a specific technique or solution?
    Also, the distributor was out of the Gelish top coat, but gave me the Shellac top coat instead. Is this OK?

    • thenailteacher July 23, 2011, 9:12 am

      Check out my tutorial: http://www.thenailteacher.com/2011/05/at-home-soak-off-gel-removal
      The polish will peel when it’s ready for removal, and you shouldn’t need to scrape hard enough to damage your nails. Are you sure you didn’t see the clear base coat coming off? This can often look like a layer of your nail, but would be somewhat shinier. Use cuticle oil afterwards to restore moisture to your natural nails.

      Many salons interchange the Shellac and Gelish base and top coats; I am a proponent of using each as a system due to differing chemical formulas (and therefore curing times), but there will not be significant difference in the initial results – it could affect longevity, however.

  • Lori July 25, 2011, 2:17 pm

    Question: With my “french” gelish, on the second day, my white tips turned a blue/black (mostly at the very edges) as if they are stained from something and it won’t come off??? Has anyone ever heard of this happening? I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary to cause this.

    • Lynne September 24, 2011, 8:58 am

      The blue/black color that appeared on your french tips so soon was from your clothing dye. Dark wash denim is more than likely the main culprit!

    • Mel November 2, 2011, 8:36 pm

      mine did the same from clothing dye..so does the top coat absorb dye??? Should I stick with a soild dark color?
      How do I prevent this?

    • Norma November 7, 2011, 2:38 am

      The staining at the ends of my nail tips started within 8 hours of my manicure! My nails look dirty! I don’/t think it could be from clothing dye as I have touched nothing that is dark, or done anything! Too long under the lamp? Lamp too hot?

  • Nicky July 26, 2011, 2:01 pm

    That’s not normal after such a short period of time. I get that after about 2 weeks; the whites turn a dingy black. That’s why I stopped doing the french and went back to my traditional nail designs.

    I believe it is from the top coat darkening. Not too sure why it would do that so soon other than a really thick layer of topcoat was applied…maybe the topcoat wasn’t the same brand? Different brands don’t always work together because of chemicals compounds.

    • Jan January 5, 2014, 6:00 pm

      I actually steublmd upon your blog by accident. Usually the only blogs I follow are cooking and home decor blogs, which is probably kind of weird since I’m 19 and rent a student house with five other girls and one guy… no he’s not gay – surprise, I know! However, your blog has officially made it onto my bookmarked list. Your style is so fresh and new… the blanket skirt? Amazing! Who would’ve thought about that?! I’m so envious of your style. This is in response to “the style crusader” comment above. My bike actually got stolen :( …but I feel sorry for the thief because it didn’t have brakes or a kickstand, and the handlebars were falling off. What a sweet find eh!I guess you can consider this my “entry comment” for the nailpolish giveaway! kathyt.25@hotmail.com

  • Holly July 29, 2011, 4:48 pm

    I have bought the light, $50, the shellac base coat and top coat, $22 a piece and the nail color $17. Its very good except to learn the trick of drying, after your done you have to use non acetone t cure them. It works great. I love it and it usually lasts about 3 weeks.

    • Nicole January 8, 2014, 4:36 am

      I would like to nominate my deughtar! From birth, this child of mine, has been the most loving, caring, forgiving, beautiful person that I have ever had the pleasure to know and to raise. She was always the first to laugh, smile, forgive me of my short-comings as a single parent. Now, my deughtar has grown, left home and is starting a family of her own how awesome is it for ME to get to see the woman that she has become? She is learning the balance between work, family, friends, job and life, as we all know it’s a struggle. To add to it, she is now going to have to leave her little family to go off to school and only get to see her beautiful deughtar on the weekends. She has become the Mommy I wanted to be for her ferocious as lioness defending her cub, responsible, more loving and gentle to her child than anyone could ever hope for. She is the Mom I wanted to be. She needs to be reminded that she is beautiful, and a day like this would make her day!

  • Adele July 30, 2011, 12:25 pm

    I’ve had the shellac for a couple of months now, and to be truthful, I’m not very happy. More often that not, it peels off in one piece. I decided to try the gelish. So far it’s been a week and a half and it seems to be holding up better. Am I just not a candidate for the shellac? I feel bad b/c my regular manicurist only does shellac.

    • candi August 15, 2011, 12:01 am

      WOW.. I’ve been using it for a few months now I don’t ever have a peeling issue and it lasts for a few weeks. I like to change up my color so I usually wear it for only 2 weeks and they switch the color.. I don’t know what would be causing yours to chip so early.. are they applying the top coat?

  • Hannah August 1, 2011, 1:39 am

    I love love love shellac and the gelish system they both hold up well.I tried both lines on myself before investing for my clients.I knew if it could hold up to my rough wear n tear it would hold for anyone.Gelish though is easier to find,a little cheaper,and they have way more colors.I have never been able to wear my nails natural because they are very thin and this product line allows me to get as close to that as I can.I hope I can turn all my acrylic nail clients to soak off gel clients its less messy and theres no strong smell and its a quicker process.

  • Laura N. August 1, 2011, 8:14 am

    Im thinking about trying the Gel polish system. Has anyone ever tried only using the color alone with no base or top coat? Anyone know what happens or if that works?

    • Jillian September 5, 2011, 12:08 am

      No, it doesn’t work. I was doing shellac on myself and then my client showed up so I didn’t have time for the top coat. I took a cotten pad with alcohol to remove the sticky layer and it took off the color coat!

  • Kelli August 1, 2011, 10:52 am

    I am wanting to remove my acrylic nails, but always go back do to them being to thin and breaking. How would the shellac do? Would it prevent this from happeneing?

  • Keren August 1, 2011, 11:04 am

    I have a similar problem to Lori. I usually get the Shellac French and after a week or so the white tips start to get stained almost like if they get dirty. I thought it could be from my make-up or from when I cook. Is there any way to prevent this or clean it up?

  • Don August 2, 2011, 9:17 am

    the gelish is not a builder? to build on false nail tips?

  • Waxleg August 2, 2011, 7:04 pm

    Will the new Gelitz by The Edge Cure under LED Lamp ??

    • Raimundo January 6, 2014, 1:03 am

      oh these are beautiful. stnmohieg funny… saturday i burst into tears at the train station because i thought someone had stolen my bike and then realized 20 minutes later that i had actually left it at the bus stop (not the train station). pretty silly. anyway, yes please include me in your giveaway! xx

  • Jolly August 7, 2011, 7:01 pm

    Hello to all,

    Is it okay to use a 45 watt uv lamp instead of a 36 watt uv lamp to cure gel polish?

  • Wendy August 8, 2011, 11:06 pm

    I personally have tried all sorts of colors of Shellac. Yes it looks good, but it honestly only last 12-14 days. I have also used Gelish, I have to say I like it better. I have it one now, and today is day 13. It isn’t lifting at all. I’ll probably get them re-done by the weeks end. I choose Gelish!!!! Totally worth it!!!!

  • Angela August 9, 2011, 4:59 am

    I went to the salon on Friday and had a shellac manicure and pedicure and love them.
    The tech told me that she has tried putting on regular nail polish, without base coat, and when it is dry putting on a UV top coat and curing and it has lasted just as long.
    Have any of you tried this.

    • thenailteacher August 18, 2011, 11:22 am

      I have tried the top coat on regular polish, and although it does give a thicker protection, it can discolor and/or dull color and shine. I recommend always using a base coat – it prevents staining of the nails, and gives polish a sticky layer for proper adhesion.

      • Crushoncupcakes July 5, 2013, 2:18 am

        I use regular polish, then top it off with base coat and top coat and it does great!!!

  • Sandy August 10, 2011, 5:09 pm

    I purchased Gelish polish and topcoat. I read that Orly’s bonding bottom coat worked as well. I had my nails done by a manicurist unfamiliar with gel nails. After two hours they are still tacky? How do i finish curing them at home?

    • Angela August 11, 2011, 4:47 am

      Hi Sandy
      new to this myself but they say that the best base coat is Shellac and that you need to wipe over the nail first with a file and then scub fresh to take off any oils.
      cure between all coats and after the top coat has been cured wipe again with scrub fresh.

      • Giorgi January 8, 2014, 5:51 pm

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      • sildenafil February 7, 2014, 8:56 am

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  • Carol Anne August 11, 2011, 5:59 pm

    I was just about to give up on the Shellac system I had invested in because I tried it about 4 times and got terrible, inconsistent results–dry spots, unable to wipe away tacky film, peeling, etc. Yet, loved my manicure Shellac mani/pedis, so I knew it was my technique. Last week (as a last-ditch effort to learn) I watched an online tutorial and the woman suggested to check to make sure all 4 bulbs in my light were working. Sure enough, two were out–they just needed to be inserted more tightly. Now, I am enjoying a beautiful, hassle-free mani/pedi. Thank you anonymous, YouTube Troubleshooter! Hope this helps someone else.

  • Angela August 13, 2011, 3:43 pm


    • thenailteacher August 18, 2011, 11:18 am

      Check out my full Gelish tutorial – I have a purchase link to the Gelish Cleanser.

  • Bella August 17, 2011, 12:39 am

    Does anyone want to stdy with me or is interested in taking a nail course?

  • Bella August 17, 2011, 12:41 am

    If anyone is interested in taking and passing the stateboard exam let me know. I need someone to study with n have all the materials. I can be contacted at cindyiiss@yahoo.com

  • julie August 28, 2011, 10:45 pm

    Can anyone tell me if the Shellac UV polish will cure using one of the LED lamps? If so, which lamp and will it work w/ all the colors?

    • Tina B October 4, 2011, 4:00 pm

      I already posted earlier about the same thing but in answer to your question, you can cure all Shellac colors perfectly under the Harmony/Gelish LED. I usually do a full minute instead of 30 sec but that’s still half the time as the CND lamp and NO UV rays!

      • NancySyd October 13, 2011, 10:16 pm

        An LED lamp still generates UV rays, it just uses a different technology to do it.

        • Alberto January 11, 2014, 10:09 pm

          Gary, I have used both the Watco and the Deft. The biggest dfeifrence between them is that Watco is Linseed oil based and Deft is Tung oil based. The Watco in my opinion just does not build up as nice a finish as the Deft. The linseed oil by itself takes longer to dry than the tung oil. The straight oils like linseed and tung, don\’t have the urethanes in them like the Watco and Deft which help build a more durable finish. Hope this helps. I just speak out of using the Deft oil for many years, and having tried the Watco, there is no comparison, I think Deft rules!

      • Deliana January 11, 2014, 3:39 pm

        I know; everyone thnkis Madonna’s “up front” about sex. “Upfront?” No: exhibitionist. Janis Joplin, Genya Ravan, Millie Jackson, Tina Turner, and others before Madonna were upfront about sex—they just didn’t feel the need to prove it by publicly removing as much clothing as possible or posing in porno gear. The sad thing is that Madonna (or anyone) doesn’t value her own body more than as currency. Talk about low self-esteem! That’s not being in control of your sexuality. That’s saying, “I’m worth nothing to me, but I’m worth a lot in the marketplace—show me the money!” She hires the best dancers and choreographers because they make her look good. Her “music” is the result of talented producers, engineers, and musicians. Her voice is not good. Madonna Unplugged? There’s a show you’ll never see, because it would suck, bigtime.As for being “independent, massively successful, and doing what she wants to without being told what to do by a man”, so was Joan Crawford, who got there through sex, stepping on people, putting out a completely fake image, and being a monster behind the scenes. Not the definition of “successful,” in my book. And no one who’s addicted to publicity and money is independent.“She’s attained many of the feminist ideals”?? Honey, you must be mighty young if you think that’s what feminism is or ever was about. One basic principle of feminism is to take control of our sexuality and NOT have it be a sideshow for public or media consumption; to be taken seriously WITHOUT exposing our bodies. The next line I invariably hear from Madonna fans is some variation of ‘she’s exploiting herself’. Well, that’s just dandy: she’s so bought into the idea of appealing to distorted male sexuality that she pulls her own puppet strings. She’s still the puppet for sexual stereotyping of women. That’s not progress. Here’s the thing: the motivation isn’t what people see; all they see is the image, the result. And that result is the same as if she were a Hustler pin-up paid by Larry Flynt for posing.A role model? You’re joking. Madonna didn’t achieve everything on her own. She slept with men to achieve everything, starting as an ambitious 19-year-old. Someone who trades her sexuality for money is, um, what do they call it again? Oh yeah: a prostitute. So what if it’s millions of dollars instead of $100 a throw?I’ve got a beautiful teenage niece who can act and has writing talent. If she wants to be a performer or a writer, should I encourage her to fuck some man to help her career? “Look what Madonna did; you can do it!” I think not. A pop idol wannabe and Madonna are hardly the only options for girls who want fame. If a girl has confidence in her brains and/or talent, why would she need to screw her way to the top or even in the door? Get out there and do it, girl? Try Jennifer Hudson, Chrissie Hynde, Annie Lennox, Aretha Franklin…not to mention Nobel Prize winners, brilliant journalists like Christiane Amanpour, and loads of women in professions other than show business.As for adopting children of races different from one’s own, especially children from a completely different culture and continent: no matter who does it, they’re creating a terrible emotional conflict for a child that will manifest as the child grows older and becomes conscious of being an “outsider.” Anyone who’s adopted interracially can tell you that. Better to spend her millions on helping the orphanage; for instance, launching a campaign to get the children adopted by Africans who can afford to do so. As for Madonna’s motivation: it’s not about love. She wants the publicity, and Angelina Jolie’s getting it all.And what on earth makes you think Madonna’s “loving”? She doesn’t even love herself, or she would’ve found another way to “express herself.” Underneath all the tough glamour is the abused girl who ran away from home and, like many abused girls (and boys), traded sex for what she needed.That’s the only note of sympathy I have for Madonna. Sadly, her kids are going to be the ones hashing it out in therapy—if they don’t go down in alcohol and drugs first.

      • www.helentoons.com February 18, 2014, 6:19 am

        Sharp thinking! Thanks for the answer.

  • Mitchele August 29, 2011, 12:55 pm


    I am wondering which LED lamp to buy. Should I get the Harmony 6g or 9g? Can I use Gelish with
    Tips? I thought I heard u could if u used the structure gel.



    • Faith September 14, 2011, 10:24 pm

      Gelish is the best! Is the 6g LED worth it? And will it cure Shellac too?

  • Kara September 2, 2011, 12:05 am

    I use the gelish polish and was wondering what color would be a creamy shear color. I don’t want any shimmer in it at all. I also don’t want it to be too shear. I’m not using it with a white polish for a french tip. I want to use it over my whole nail. I was thinking that vanilla silk would be good but I’ve heard that it looks clear. Any suggestions??

  • Stephanie September 6, 2011, 8:53 pm

    I was wondering if anyone has tried the Red Carpet Manicure products yet? If so, any reviews would be much appreciated! I bought everything but the light at Ulta (they are now pretty much sold out; both in store and online). Their led light sells for $19.99, but looks kinda cheap. I ordered the Thermal Spa 49135 Professional U/V Gel Light Nail Dryer from Amazon. It’s 45 watts. Can this be used with any of the gel systems? Thanks!!!

  • Michelle September 16, 2011, 7:16 pm

    Wonderful post & information. Thank you!!

  • Silvia September 19, 2011, 12:24 am

    Has anyone tried to use regular nail polish with any of the gel systems? If so, which brand/system worked best? I love the polish colors that I have and would really like to use them alongside a gel system (base and top).

  • Kim October 7, 2011, 7:02 pm

    I did my own Gelish manicure For the first time at home and it’s very easy to do and TOTALLY worth the cost of the lamp. In 20 minutes I had a perfect manicure It lasted all week without a chip or signs of wear. It’ll probably last longer, but I’m bored of the color so I’m off to buy more colors.

  • Kimerly October 8, 2011, 12:01 am

    I have tried Gelish. I’m on my 8th day wearing it. I personally think that it’s a great product. With normal nail polish , i would repaint them every day. This has ben a great product,and im extreamly satasfied.

  • Sandy October 12, 2011, 9:04 am

    I have never had nice nails. I’ve been wearing acrylics for over 20 years. My nails are very soft and tissue paper thin. I have tried to let them grow but have been unsuccessful. I just purchased the Gelish system and applied it last night. I love it so far, very easy to use!

    My question: Should I use the Gelish Structure product? Will Structure help my nails grow and get stronger?

  • Sandy October 25, 2011, 8:40 am

    Ok, so the first application of the Gelish system worked great, however, my nails were still very thin and soft. So I purchased the Gelish Structure and it gave my nails more strength and durability. I followed the instructions:
    1. Ph Bond
    2. Thin coat of Foundation
    3. Thin layer of Gelish Structure
    4. Two coats of Gelish Polish
    5. Another thin layer of Structure to even out any areas that were uneven.
    6. Top it Off
    7. And the last step of wiping it with the Clense.
    My nails turned out great. Between each step I cured for approximately 3 minutes under the UV light. If you have weak and peeling nails, I would highly recommend using the Gelish Structure. I purchased it on Amazon for $10.00.

  • Marsha a tette November 6, 2011, 9:12 am

    I have fading with diva and a bit with plum and done …any suggestons

  • Laurel November 10, 2011, 2:46 pm

    I have been going to my local nail salon to have a manicure every 2 weeks with gelish. My problem is my nails are so weak and paper thin. She has been using structure on them. She says gelish is just the next step before acrylic nails. That over a period of time with the process it just thins the nail and either you go to acrylics or have to go back to regular polish. She prepares them by buffing them each time. Is she just over buffing? Or can I use gelish forever?

  • MMM3MMM December 2, 2011, 2:15 am

    I had a bad allergic reaction to my Gelish manicure. It looked beautiful, I wish I hadn’t had a bad reaction. Are there other gel products that are safer, with less allergens?

    • kirsten February 10, 2012, 1:25 am

      I had the same problem,,wat kind off lamp are you using? Be sure its a 36 lamp and new bulbs.I used a 9 watt lamp and it dident cured,you cant see if it is cured,but the chemical are not cured ,so you get an allergic reaction.Now i have the cnd lamp and it also tells you how many hours you still have left,afther 100 hours you most change the bulbs..sorry for my english,i from yhe netherlands

  • Gloria January 10, 2012, 5:25 pm

    I have a problem and i would like to share it with you maybe you can help me solve it. i`m doing acrylic nail extensions but for the colour i`m using colour gel and then finish off with a top gel, but after a few days the colour is peeling off from the nail and i don`t know why this is happening.

  • Hiwa January 11, 2012, 10:53 am

    Aloha! I love gelish!! I am not a professional nor do I normally paint my own nails, but when I had my nails done a few
    Months ago, I thought to
    Myself, “darn! I can do this myself.” since then, I just do my pedi at the salon and do my own gelish nails at home. I must say, not only was it easy, but I have yet to get a chip in my nails. I love that I get to keep my natural nails yet have that artificial look that everyone loves so much. Ha! This is my second time doing my own nails and it’s going on the week.

  • Hiwa January 11, 2012, 10:56 am

    Oops! Going on the third week.

  • Leeloolady January 20, 2012, 5:31 am

    Problems with gelish removal

  • Leeloolady January 20, 2012, 5:36 am

    Sorry – I am having BIG problems with my gelish removal. Have had one application done in the salon – loved it. Bought the system and have used it three times. Every time (including the first) I have had big problems removing it. Soaked in nail polish remover (cotton and tin foil) – no great success, tried pure acetone – no success. Last night it took me over an hour to remove – eventually filed most of it off and today my nails feel really bruised and sore. Have orderd some proper gelish remover, but I am really scared to apply more gelish now. Have tried the hot towel thing, nothing has worked. HELP!!!!

  • Angie January 24, 2012, 1:03 pm

    I am not a nail tech. My mom & I taught ourselves to put acrylics on eachother. We both had thin nails and couldn’t grow them very long. I’m always looking for something that is easier & lasts. I already have a regular UV unit and saw that Sally’s had this Gelish. I bought the starter kit & tried it. I can’t afford Shellac. I love Gelish! My own nails are long and strong like acrylics! Yes, as someone commented earlier, it can “run” , but they say to apply a THIN coat…then it’s fine. The colored Gelish is thin, but I tried 3 coats & it worked and I finished with the top it off because it cures hard, buffed the shine, added another coat of color & top it off. Works great! I love it! Just do what the instructions say regarding applying thin coats!

  • Angie January 24, 2012, 1:21 pm

    To Leeloolady, I had a hard time too the first time removing the Gelish. The Gelish soak off remover has other ingredients than acetone. Using a coarse sponge file, i go down until i get to the foundation coat in a few spots. I poured the remover in a small ramiken and stuck all my fingers in to soak, just a few minutes. It will peel off your nail. I used a metal nail file tip to pry an edge up enough to grab it, soak it a little more & then peel it off. I didn’t tear or rip my natural nail at all. It sounds like a lot to do but it’s not. I hope your nails feel better :0)

  • Leeloolady January 24, 2012, 2:43 pm

    Thanks Angie – I have now received the proper remover and will be giving it a go. I really love the gelish, and will be sorry if I cannot keep using it. Funnily enough, I relented and reapplied – as soon as I did, the bruised, painful feeling disappeared. I dont suppose you know if you should really use the excess gel remover. I havent been, and I must say, its not as shiny as when done professionally.

  • Dee January 26, 2012, 12:28 am

    Hi there! I have had gelish applied twice so far and the first time is lasted 3 weeks. The next is already peeling after 1 week and I suspect this is because she was rushed and didn’t apply evenly.

    I want to do this myself (former nail tech from 25 years ago!) and wondered which is the best light to use (seems like 36W LED) for any of the systems? A few of you got them from ebay and amazon, can you share the name of the light you purchased? Thanks! Dee

  • Dawn February 5, 2012, 9:59 pm

    I had Shellac done at a salon twice after having acrylics for 25 years. After watching her apply it I knew I could do it myself and save myself money not only in service fees, but tips, gas money and most importantly, my time.

    So I purchased a UV light, the Shellac base and top coat and some colors on Amazon and set out on my journey.

    I find that it is as easy as painting my own nails and lasts for up to 3 weeks. I haven’t had any problems with peeling. I did have a nail chip once so I just re-did that nail.

    I read a post on here about Gelish Structure which I am going to try in conjunction with the Shellac system. I have a feeling it will be easier than trying to fuss with the silk wrap that I have been using on one of my nails that has a split in it. I have been using it between the base coat and the color coat.

    So for those of you who are Doubting Thomas’s, if you can paint your nails, you can do Shellac. Just be sure to paint under the free edge of yor nails and it’ll be just fine.

  • kirsten February 10, 2012, 1:16 am

    I first used a 9-watt lamp for curing my gelish and had afther 48 hours a allergic reaction. Now i use de CND uv-lamp and i didn’t had any reaction…so its is treu that the gelish will not cure.

  • Mae-sa March 8, 2012, 1:35 am

    Just another nail tech chiming in here… I have done experiments with buff/no buff before Shellac/Gelish application, and I can attest, everytime there was no buffing/filing, the product chipped after a few days. With filing/buffing the natural nail before applying, it lasts longer. Plus it is very important to use cotton + alcohol after curing to set/”activate” the polish.

    • Eibbed May 21, 2012, 1:50 am

      I bought a UV mini portable battery operated lamp and painted my nails with the cnd shellac color coat and they will NOT DRY/CURE for the life in me. tried for twenty 20 minutes under the light and they are still sticky and gooey, not dried at all?? Please help..I dont know why they wont dry .?? TY

  • Rita March 16, 2012, 7:37 pm

    When the nails are growing out, can we reapply without removing the old polish like is being done with acrylics? Or, do we need to remove all the polish and start with step one? (Do we need to remove every time?)

  • Eibbed V May 20, 2012, 1:39 am

    I bought a UV mini portable battery operated lamp and painted my nails with the cnd shellac color coat and they will NOT DRY/CURE for the life in me. tried for twenty 20 minutes under the light and they are still sticky and gooey, not dried at all?? Please help..I dont know why they wont dry .?? TY

  • KHK May 27, 2012, 10:08 am

    I have the Gelish. I have only ever had this type of manicure DIY. I love it. Thin coats and u are good to go. I do buff my nails per the instructions, but only do so lightly. My nails are in great condition afterwards. I do find the removal takes some effort, i usually have to scrape it with an orange stick.

    My biggest tip….get an LED light. I got mine from Sally’s for about $55. The light shuts off automatically when its done (45 seconds?). It cures perfectly every time and lasts about 2 weeks.

    I chose Gelish over Shellac due to its easy availabilty right at Sally’s, so I have no comparison.

    One more thing, the nail techs that speak as if you need a degree to apply this correctly are wrong. It’s nail polish, not rocket science. You can do this! Just remember, follow the instructions and use thin coats.

  • Torriehoskins June 4, 2012, 8:11 pm

    I am using the gelish system at home but have
    recently started noticing the polish comes off in one piece easily :( I mean, I rough up the nail, use oh bond, apply foundation gel, structure gel for added stregnth and then color and top coat…. But it’s coming off a few nails
    Super easily :( what am I doing wrong? My two index fingers and right middle finger are the ones I’m having issues with :(

  • Dml June 20, 2012, 6:08 am

    I tried Gelish and Red Carpet, but after about a week polish was almost coming off in sheets from my nail… (some picking…) Is there somehing I did wrong?! I do have some damage left from artifical nails… They are very weak and pretty stubby. Thoughts anyone?!

  • helen July 2, 2012, 1:39 pm

    hi. i have big problem with the gelish extension. i used gelish hard gel builder to extension nails tip.it’s alway peeling off. i used phbond and apply probond, after that i aplly 3 times gelish hard builder and then gelish clear gel and i want more shinny,i apply 1 coat top coat gelish polish.i dont used wipe to removed sticky and apply the gelish sealer no need to cleaner for more shinny. it turn out very shinny but after 2 or 3 days it peeling off. hope teacher and every body help.

  • Dana August 13, 2012, 6:34 am

    Hello i use GelFX and i was wondering weather you can mix and math the base and top coat with shellac colours?

  • Sarah August 26, 2012, 12:24 pm

    I got my first Gelish french manicure 1-1/2 weeks ago for my vacation. Before vacation but after Gelish, I had to pack, get a airbrush tan, type on computer, and clean the house, including scrubbing dishes, digging into bags, grooming pets and more. During vacation I caught myself using my nails to pick at plastic tags and tape, apply makeup, apply lotion to skin, etc. So far the Gelish is holding up well, considering how hard I am on my nails. One thing I noticed is that the shiny surface of the nail will scuff when it rubs hard against hard surfaces (i.e., rooting around in a bag for things). I experienced a few minor scuffs/digs that temporarily marred the shiny surface in places on the top coat but then seemed to disappear later (not sure how/why). The technician used many layers of a clear Gelish polish instead of using a sheer pink for the French manicure, so while very natural looking and extra super shiny, the color didn’t pop as much as I would have liked. He also used an off white polish for the tips, making it look a bit duller. But I have to say it looks and grows out very natural and you can’t at all see the new nail bed growth, except that it’s not shiny. I am very surprised and impressed that the tips are holding up so well. There is no chipping or rub off, even on the ends. I may try Shellac next to compare the 2 and see which scuffs less. But I am very pleased with Gelish and will probably continue to use it in the future to help all 10 fingernails grow out evenly. I am so glad I dont have to get fake nails anymore!

  • lubert September 7, 2012, 11:05 pm

    If you are looking for a cheaper UV lamp, go to the website for Lume Nails and they are available for under $80-, I bought one and it works great on the Shellac gels

  • ToniKay October 14, 2012, 11:25 pm

    I was not willing to go pay for a manicures not to mention actually committing to a time outside of work and with my family to get them done. I heard about the Gelish and bought the starter kit at Sally’s. Perfect or getting started although you can buy it cheaper through Amazon and in large bottles for a fraction of the price. I bought the lamp at Sallys as well. Paid about $30. I watched the video and the first time seemed to take me forever. Over time I have gotten pretty proficient and I have never been one to keep my nails done all the time. Now I do! An application will last me well over 2 weeks without chips or cracks. I saw someone post online about starting with the foundation forward of the cuticle and massaging backwards towards the cuticle. This seemed to remove the problem of lifting at the back of the nail after about 2 weeks. I have also found that I can backfill as I get growout by roughing the nail with a file and putting on another coat of the darker colors and Top Off again.

    In the beginning I had a hard time removing the polish when I was ready to re-apply. Again, read that you can soak with regular nail salon acetone. I upped the time to 15 minutes and the problems went away. Easy removal without damage to the nail.

    My nails look they have ever looked. I actually have to cut them because they get too long now because the Gelish gives them so much strength.

    Again, I am not a manicurist. Just a Mom and business woman that wanted nice nails without having to forfeit my kid going to college. This stuff takes a little practice but us SO worth the price once you get going. Try it!

  • Joanne December 15, 2012, 4:49 pm

    I just used the gelish system. I found tips by Nail Bliss where the smile line where you put the glue is clear ie see through. The tip is white. I was able to complete my French manicure in no time. No sanding like with acrylics. I am so pleased ! I will have to see how long it lasts. Next I want to do my toes. BTW, it comes out very glossy. I think these new tips made the difference in making the whole process so easy.

  • Sailking January 26, 2013, 5:44 pm

    I had a really bad reaction to the sally hansen at home gel nail kit. I don’t know if it was the LED lights, the polish remover or the polish that I had a reaction to. My finger tips and under my nail beds started numb and became painful. Has anyone else had this issue? The problem seemed to get alot worse after a day and I took them off immediately. However, my nails haven’t fully recovered from the pain. They are still numb and burning.

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  • Ashleigh July 15, 2013, 4:55 pm

    I use all gelish and it seems to work. I have been using it for about 3 months and it stays on for up to 2 weeks

  • Jackie February 16, 2014, 1:26 pm

    Can anyone help, I have had shellack put on 3 times now, and each time about a week after it has been taken off, a layer of my nails start to peel then it finally breaks, is it the shellack and would gelish do the same? Any help would be appreciated as I really look after them. Jackie

  • lynn akin April 16, 2014, 4:51 pm

    Is anyone having problems with the gelish polish peeling. I’m using all the steps and procedures like you are suppose to. Please help.

  • Debbie April 27, 2014, 10:49 am

    I had shellac nails done in a mix of pink and coral colors. Two days later the very tips of my nails turned black! I did not wear black gloves or put my hands in the pockets of new jeans as I’ve read in other posts. What causes this to happen??? This has never happened to me with gel or acrylic. Please help!

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  • Nalimar August 13, 2014, 12:43 pm

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  • michelle December 2, 2014, 11:14 am

    I have my own at home cnd shellac where i do it myself. And i have gotten a reaction to the shellac, my cuticles and fingers would become soo itchy and red and lil tiny water blisters would form. The tips of my fingers would be so sore almost numb. Its a chemical burn they say. I love doing my nails and i am trying to find out if i can use a different brand that wont give me the same allergic reaction. Ive tried looking online for the gelish ingredients but cannot get them. I tink the chemical that gives you the reaction from shellac (cnd) is called methyl mecrylate or something like that, i think there is another e word that is a bad chemical i cant remember. But can someone help me find out what else i could use please??

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  • Nan January 13, 2015, 10:39 pm

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