Shellac vs. Dip, What Is Your Preference?

Since moving back from Florida, I started to frequently get my nails done again. I’m always up to try the new and upcoming trends when it comes to getting manicures and the hottest trend at the moment, seems to be dip powder.
I have heard many good things about dip, but I wanted to try it out for myself and see what my preference is, Shellac or Dip. A lot of my friends have asked my preference, since I get my nails done so often, so I thought I would test out both and find out the pros and cons.


Shellac in Texas, is typically about $30-$35 at salons and is similar to gel nail polish but is 3 sets of polish (base coat, polish color, top coat) that typically can last about 2-3 weeks on your nails.

Color options – I love that with shellac there are multiple color options to choose from, no matter what nail salon you go to. If you’re looking for a solid color you can go with that option or if you want to be bold and daring you can get cool effects on your nails such as mermaid, holographic, chrome, etc.
With the different effects, there usually is a up-charge but I think it is worth paying for because I love the compliments I get and I love to admire and obsess over them often.
Application – Shellac’s process involves a base coat, the color polish chosen, a UV lamp, and the top coat. The nail techs usually apply two coats of each polish in between applying the UV light to each coat. The process is very short and easy.
Longevity – When I get shellac on my natural nails, it lasts me about 3-4 weeks, which I think is great because whenever I paint my nails with normal nail polish, it only lasts on my nails about 1 week if anything. Although Shellac lasts about 3-4 weeks for me, it doesn’t mean that they remain looking as great as they did when I first got them done. If I let my nails grow that long with Shellac, most of the time I am in desperate need of a fill because my nails tend to grow pretty fast.
Removal – The removal process for shellac is very easy and can be done in a salon or at the comfort of your own home. If you go to a salon, most charge $5 to take off, which is very reasonable and I think is a faster process because the nail techs are so used to doing it and also have the right tools for it.

UV Light – A big complaint on why I have heard people don’t like doing Shellac, is the UV light used to dry the polish. The UV lights can cause damage on your skin and fingers. One tip I recommend is to put water proof sun screen before going to my nail appointment, that way my skin is protected a little more than the UV lights beaming on my bare skin.
Peeling – Another complaint that I have about shellac is the fact that when my nails start growing out, the shellac coat on my nails can start to chip and therefore start to peel off the nail bed. When this happens, I notice that the part of my nail that’s peeling off, will get caught onto my clothes or other things and it leaves me no choice than to remove the shellac as a whole from my nails or to start peeling it off from my nail bed (which can cause damage to your nails if you’re not removing shellac the proper way).

Shellac with Chrome

Shellac with Chrome cont.

Shellac with Mermaid

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Process of Mermaid
White Shellac coats and then Pink Mermaid powder over

Shellac with Holographic


Dip, in Texas is normally about $40-$50 at salons but the price depends on if you are getting it on your natural nails or if you are getting acrylic, most salons also charge additionally if you are getting a French manicure since it is a longer process since you they have to use two different colors.

Application – The application process for dip is very simple, easy, and fast. Unlike shellac, this process just involves a base coat, and then you dipping your finger nails into a container color dip of your choice multiple times until your nail is fully covered in the dip color and has the texture of an acrylic nail. Once it is shaped onto your nail then the nail technician adds a top coat and wipes away all the excess powder and you are good to go.
Longevity – I found that dip actually lasts a lot longer than shellac does, which is a great plus because you don’t have to get your nails done as often. Because the dip powder is like an acrylic nail on top of your real nail, it leaves your nail feeling hard and sturdy and it is very rare that you will break a nail with Dip on your fingernails.

Color options – Although there are a decent amount of color options at salons, I was not very impressed with the different shade options. Of course the salons have the full rainbow spectrum (from red to purple) that is expected and the different colors in between but I didn’t find a lot of shade options in the colors I was interested, just one or two shades of each (but maybe I’m just picky).
Because dip is a powder, you also don’t have the option of getting mermaid, chrome, or holographic. It may be an option they are going to come out with later, but as of right now, they only have solid color options.
Removal – I was told by the salon that I got dip at, that the removal process of dip was the same as shellac. However, when I went to the salon I normally go to, to get mermaid/ holographic done at, they had to use the little drill to drill my nails down from the thickness of the acrylic and then I had to soak my hands in acetone for a good 15-20 minutes. I also found out after the fact, that the removal process is usually $5 more than the removal of shellac, so $10 for the removal. Although I know soaking your fingernails in acetone is the best way to take it off, I wasn’t a big fan of it because my fingers/fingernails got very hot, which wasn’t very comfortable and the dip got very gooey, which made for a very messy take off process.


Dip nails


I naturally have long/strong nails, so I prefer getting a manicure on my natural nails rather than getting acrylic nails. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of acrylic nails on other girls and love that you can play with the different lengths, but I like more of natural look and prefer the least amount of damage on my nails as possible. Neither Shellac or Dip are necessarily safe on your nails because they both aren’t natural nail coloring techniques, but I think they are both great if you are looking to have a longer lasting manicure and not wanting to worry about them chipping fast like normal nail polish.

Although, I loved how long Dip lasted on my nails, I just wasn’t too big of a fan of how unnaturally bulky my nails looked with it and also how hard the acrylic was over my nail. I think that Shellac looks more natural and keeps my nails from looking less fake/boxy. I also am a huge fan of getting different colors/effects on my nails and getting away from the traditional everyday colors such as red, pink, white, and black. I also enjoy the fact that Shellac is a little bit cheaper than Dip and even lasts close to the same time as Dip.

I would definitely recommend people to try both Shellac and Dip to see what their preference is because this post is solely based on my own thoughts, opinions, and preferences.

If you live in San Antonio, I get all my mermaid/chrome/holographic nails done at Emme’s Nail Spa at the Elian Resort, I definitely recommend them 100%! @emmenailspa on instagram

Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions feel free to ask and comment if you have any ideas about other things I should blog about.

You can keep in touch with my life by following me @ xoxoloriallison on Instagram.

Xoxo, Lori Allison ❤

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