Can Shellac Be Used on Acrylic Nails? (Find The Answer Here)


Once you dive into the wonderful world of artificial nails, you can never stop exploring this ocean of possibilities and being amazed by the endless combination of nail techniques that are available. Just like any other industry, beauty and cosmetics are always on the verge of discovering something new and revolutionary.

One of the latest innovations that popped off is the Shellac – a mix of regular nail polish and gel. It is imagined as a product that will significantly improve and shorten the artificial nail application process. But women are often confused about whether it can be used on acrylic or gel nails or not.

The Shellac can be used on acrylic nails as paint, just like you would use any other regular nail polish color. However, the Shellac does not contribute to the overall quality of the acrylic manicure like it contributes when it is applied directly to natural nails.

This is mainly due to the specific structure of the Shellac and acrylics. They are both used to enhance your nails but in a different way. Using them separately will utilize their advantages to the maximum. On the other hand, combining them won’t do damage, but won’t do much good either. There are a few reasons why is that, so just stick with me till the end.

How Long Does Shellac Last on Acrylic Nails?

To avoid confusion, let me just explain what makes Shellac so special and different. There are two traditional methods you can choose when opting out for nails – acrylic paint or gel technique. Both of them were created for the purpose of straightening your nails, but they also allow the technician to express their creativity regarding desired length and nail design.

Because the purpose of the acrylic and gel is to make the nails stronger, on top of them you can paint even regular nail polish. This is because you already have a layer that’s ensuring the nails will not break and will stay strong, so it gives you a certain freedom to choose the top layer as you want!

A company called CND or Creative Nail Design created a hybrid amongst these techniques, combining gel and regular polish to get the Shellac product as we know it. The Shellac takes the best of both worlds – its structure is more like nail polish, but it has characteristics of gel – makes your nails stronger. 

More about CND nails.

CND Vinylux Longwear Nail Polish, Gel-like Shine & Chip Resistant Color, Satin Pajamas, 0.5 Fl Oz

The Shellac itself cannot be used to change the length of your nails as acrylic or gel can do. But on the other side, if you don’t have problematic nails, you could use only the Shellac without any issues. Long-term speaking, the Shellac is much less invasive and damaging, compared to other techniques.

If you choose to apply the Shellac on acrylic just bear in mind that you are not adding any extra value to your nails – the acrylic has already ensured the nails will last long enough. You should go with the Shellac on top of your acrylic nails only if you really like the color from their palette or if you want to achieve an extra natural look the Shellac can give you. 

In every case other than the aforementioned you would just pay extra for something you could have achieved with the regular top base color. And with considerably less money.

When properly applied, the acrylic nails and the Shellac on them should last for about six to eight weeks, depending on the quality of the job done by your nail technician, on your nail health and overall condition, on your everyday activities… In fact, there are so many variables, so I can’t count all the things that could have a contributing factor to the duration of your manicure. 

The best advice I could give you if you want to prolong the time between two appointments is to take care of your nails and be gentle with them, no matter what you’re doing. Don’t get relaxed just because you have that extra layer of protection.

On the other hand, if you choose to go with the Shellac on your natural nails, it should normally last between 10 to 14 days. The duration is significantly reduced due to the fact that the Shellac is more like regular polish, but much more durable. 

If you don’t bother repainting your nails every two weeks, I would recommend going for the Shellac option rather than acrylics. And the appliance is less time-consuming, which makes it great for ladies who are always in a rush.

Beetles 20 Pcs Gel Nail Polish Kit, Modern Muse Collection Soak off Nail Gel Polish Nude Gray Nail Polish Pink Blue Glitter Gel Polish Starter Kit with Glossy & Matte Top Coat and Base Coat Christmas

Can You Take Shellac Off Acrylic Nails?

The acrylic nails are convenient because they don’t need a UV lamp to be cured. On one side they provide freedom and allow the technician to achieve the length that couldn’t be achieved with gel, but there is one flaw – they cure in contact with air, and as a consequence, the technician has very little time to shape them.

Shellac, on the other side, requires a UV lamp to bond with the natural nail or acrylic base, just like any other gel-based nail polish would require. This is why the Shellac cannot be easily removed from the acrylic by just using regular acetone. 

If you applied the Shellac directly on your natural nails, soaking them in acetone would dilute the polish and ease up the removal. Usually, 15 minutes would be enough for the Shellac to soften. The time may vary depending on your nail quality.

Pronto 100% Pure Acetone - Quick, Professional Nail Polish Remover - For Natural, Gel, Acrylic, Sculptured Nails (8 FL. OZ.)

If the Shellac is applied to acrylics, you would need a nail fine to remove the top shiny layer of polish. If you choose to soak your nails, the acetone would damage the acrylics and start its dissolving process at the same time. 

Is It Worth Getting Shellac on Acrylics?

The answer to this question is like a coin – it has two sides. One side is scientific which says that there are no visible benefits from applying the Shellac on acrylics. The acrylics already provide enough reinforcement of the nails securing their strength. Adding another layer of strength on top of that will not make your nails twice as stronger. For sure it will have some effect, but very minor.

I must say that if you apply the Shellac directly on your natural nails, then the science says different – it will give your nails the strength they need, taking into consideration that your nails are already strong and healthy. If your nails are damaged and weak and you are looking for strength, go for gel or acrylics instead.

The other side of the coin is your personal preference. If you fall in love with the Shellac colors or texture and you want them on acrylics no matter what, then go for it! As already explained, the Shellac on acrylics can’t contribute much to the overall manicure quality, but it can contribute to your satisfaction with the nails. And that’s the whole point, isn’t it?

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Sophia

My name is Sophia, and I'm a makeup artist that loves to try different makeup, nail polish, and other beauty products.

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