Just Another Mani Monday: CND Shellac vs. Orly Gel FX

This week’s Mani Monday is actually from last week’s trip to Cosmoprof in Las Vegas. While I was there, I had a chance to see the new CND Shellac shades coming out and experience the new Orly Gel FX manicure for myself. I wanted the best of both worlds so I decide to keep my Shellac mani on one hand and try the new Orly Gel FX on the other so I could compare the two at the same time. It may look a little odd in person but I don’t care, I’m loving these two shades.

On my left hand I’m wearing CND Shellac in a combination of Purple Purple and Zillionaire, 2 coats of Purple Purple and I coat of Zillionaire. These are both new shades set to launch in salons next month. Purple Purple is an iridescent violet purple and Zillionaire is a sheer multi-colored glitter. These two shades work beautifully together and I can’t wait to try Zillionaire over something else once it is available.

Until I tried this combination, I had never layered my shades before, now I can’t imagine not doing it. You don’t see multi-colored specs of glitter here as well as you do in person but trust me, it is stunning. I’ve never had this many compliments on my nail color before.

On my left hand, I’m wearing Orly Gel FX in Cabana Boy. This shade is a pearly hot pink and I have 3 coats of it here on my nails. This shade seems to be on the sheer side so the 3 coats are due to that but I saw another gal get her manicure in a rich black and she was fine with 2 coats. Just like Shellac, Gel FX fills in all the dents and lines on my nailbeds from the acrylics and leaves me with a smooth surface. This hand’s wear is neck and neck with the other hand’s wear. What I’m most curious about are the state of my nails once I remove both formulas, which I will let you know about.

One thing that is unique about Gel FX is that Orly took its existing shades and turned them into gel versions. If I wanted to touch up my gel version once grow out starts becoming obvious, I could take the non-gel version and cover up my “roots”. I’ll tell you more about Gel FX later though.

About a month ago I went to a salon to get a manicure to try and take care of the mess that was my nails after removing acrylics. The salon suggested I get CND Shellac to protect my nails as they grew out. Something about that suggestion didn’t sit well with me at the time so I took to Twitter to get the advice of my fellow bloggers. Oh my! They were opinionated. Their main issue was that this does nothing to strengthen the nail, which was what I wanted and needed desperately at the time. This gripe may go away after Orly’s Gel FX hits the scene, they say their formulas are enriched with vitamins to help nourish nails… but again, more on that later.

I didn’t go through with Shellac at the time but after wearing gel formulas on my nails this week, I’m seriously tempted to go back for more… maybe a nude shade so I can swatch shades on top. I got a manicure before I left for Cosmoprof and you could still see all the damage on my nails through the nail polish. On top of that, the color chipped off like crazy because my nails are still weak and they bend when I do the simplest things, I’m lucky they don’t break! Having gel on them now has me thinking I can still enjoy color in the state my nails are currently in.

So what’s on your nails this week? What do you think of the shades on my nails? Have you tried Shellac?  Let me know in the comments!

25 thoughts on “Just Another Mani Monday: CND Shellac vs. Orly Gel FX

  1. The nail strengthener by Rejuvacoat (which we sell at Cult Beauty, but I think it is pretty widely available) is really good at replenishing and strengthening nails after a lot of acrylic wear and tear. My mum has nails like paper and it really helped after 3 weeks of dedicated use, it does take a little while.

    Anything that covers the nail for long periods of time will effect it adversely though, the most effective way is always to let your nails lay fallow for a cycle (as it were)!!

    1. Hi Alexia! Thanks for reminding me of Rejuvacoat. I have it and yet forget about it. I’m definitely putting it to use after I remove the gel color.

  2. Carla how long did the process take? I am dying to try a shellac mani but was concerned that i wouldnt be able to live with the color for a couple of weeks. Can regular polish go over it? Oh I have so many questions on the procedure! LOL

    1. Hey Robin! I’ll break it down for you. :) Shellac’s top coats takes 10 seconds to cure then 2 minutes for each layer of color and top coat. You cure all 5 fingers at once. With Gel FX, each layer (including base coat) cures for 30 seconds BUT you cure 4 fingers at a time and then your thumb due to the design of the lamp. You can wear polish over both as well.

  3. I am absolutely loving these shades. They are just gorgeous! I am having some nail woes too, girlfriend. Here’s to hoping that are nails recover in time for the swatchin’ of Fall shades. :)

    1. Oh Brittany, if you only saw the Shellac shades in person, stunning. What are you using on your nails? I’ve been using some Jessica products and I really think it has helped but some people do swear by Rejuvacoat.

  4. Gorgeous colors and layering.

    I, too, had terrible damage to my nails after removing acrylics, plus I’m a biter. I have been wearing Shellac/Gelish for almost a year now and my nails are just gorgeous – long and strong. I have always been a tomboy and never thought I could have nice natural nails. Gel polishes provide enough protection for my nails that they grow strong and healthy. It is true that that Shellac (and the others) don’t strengthen nails – but then, nothing can truly strengthen nails because they are essentially dead. You can harden them, but it is a temporary fix. The only way to truly strengthen nails is to care for the nail matrix from which they grow and the cuticle that protects them. It takes time but that’s where you’ll get real lasting results. One advantage that gel polish has is that is is permeable and does not cause the kind of damage that covering one’s nails for an extended period causes.

    There are several good brands of gel polish/gel polish hybrids out there – Shellac, Gelish, Gelac, Geleration, etc. Some are only UV cured at 2 minutes a coat, but most cure with an LED UV cutting the cure per coat to 30 seconds. And there’s more coming – Orly, Red Carpet (Ulta) and OPI (YES!!), many of which are now being marketed directly to the consumer, allowing us to do our own gel polish manis, even mixing elements among the brands. There is already a large and established DIY community online at places like The Purse Forum and All Lacquered Up. Although there is a strong DIY community, I think that these new gel polishes address the reasons women didn’t like salon manicures – the long drying time, the smudging, early chipping, dulling finish. I hope that these new gel polishes will bring a lot more women back into the salons.

    1. Hi Lisa! It should be rolling out to salons this month. I just finished my round of Gel FX, so stay tuned for more on that soon.

  5. I’m wearing Shellac in Royality now. (the deep purple) I just love this color and I always get lots of compliments on it. I have also tried Young Nails soak off colored gel and in my opinion, their product stays shiner then Shellac but I love them both. One issue I’m having is that I notice Shellac does not last as long on clients when I put in on after they have taken acrylics off. I have noticed that Shellac wears better and longer on clients with strong healthy nails. I’m going to attend a Shellac class on Monday (even though I already know how to apply and layer colors etc) and I am making it my quest to ask about this. (wearability on healthy nails vs. nails that are not healthy).
    LOVE the colors you are wearing and I can’t wait to get the Purple Purple and Zillionaire colors myself! :)

    1. Hi Dianna! Do you like the thinness of Young Nails? See, I like the thickness of Shellac, especially with my nails weakened now. As for myself, I had acrylics a few months ago and my nails are still recovering but I always get good wear out of Shellac. I could have gone 3 weeks with this mani but I was getting ancy.

    2. Dianna I have heard many techs complain about Shellac but they are not using the Shellac lamp. I myself had the same problem with it not staying and chipping…but this was last year when the lamps were on back order now that I have the lamp some of my clients go 4 weeks and no problems at all.. I know the lamp can be expensive but its worth it if you are already investing in the polishes. My business has grown over 50% because of Shellac..I have had clients who soak their acrylics off just so that they can have healthier nails. And make sure you shake all your bottles for 30 seconds it really helps out

  6. I am super excited to use Gel FX when our Spa gets the product in. I had a chance to use it when the Rep. visited us. I think the clients will rave over the vitamins their nails will get from it. I look forward to hearing more from you Carla.

    1. Hi Michelle! I removed my Gel FX mani a few days ago and I’m a little conflicted about it but stay tuned, a full post on this is coming.

  7. I love my shellac nails. Polish does NOT stay on my nails, and this product does. I like that I don’t have to destroy my all ready weak nails to have them, and my husband doesn’t like “fake” nails. I can say there is a difference in how it is applied, I go to a local beauty school to have mine done. I had one student do my nails and she is most familar with acrylic nails and applied the shellac much the same way. It was too thick and it chipped and lifted off within two weeks. I had a new one from a different student and it has stayed much better. She applied the polish in thinner layers and used the lamp a little longer. Overall I am very please with the performance of CND’s product.

  8. Hi as a mobile therapist I’ve more than double my income by introducing shellac, I love it and my clients love it even more. Wearing it helps my nails grow stronger and longer. Even when I take it off my nails stay healthy and long. Alot of my clients go 4 weeks with shellac. I can’t wait for the new colours.

    1. Hi Haley! That’s fantastic! I can see how, I went over 3 weeks once and if it wasn’t for regrowth, could have gone longer. I’ll have pictures of the new Shellac shades up soon.

  9. Something to remember with the Shellac after acrylic removal is that it isnt actually going to MAKE you nails stronger…it simply POTECTS your nails to give them a chance to grow out and get their health back.
    Our salon got Shellac a few months ago and since then we hardly use our normal polish anymore.
    Most of our clients come back on a two weekly basis for a removal and reapplication as they grow out. We also have some very had working clients, so for them, the shellac does tend to chip and come off a bit more easy…

  10. We just cannot wait to get the new shellac colours in our salon! That Zillionaire and Purple are Striking! Is the Zillionaire a replacement for the top coat? Or did you have the top coat applied over the top of zillionaire?

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