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Bridal Beauty Showdown: Shellac vs. Standard Mani

Which should you choose for your wedding-day nails? We've got the answer

When you're planning a wedding you've got a lot of choices to make: Empire waist or drop waist, buffet or sit down dinner, roses or lilies. So when it comes to your wedding day look, I thought I'd make the decision-making process a little easier by laying out the pros and cons of various treatments for you.

First up: which wedding-day manicure to get, either a gel mani like CND Shellac or your standard manicure. (OK, technically you could also do bare nails, but where's the fun in that?) Check out the pros and cons below:

Application time

Shellac can be a bit of a time suck, since you have to cure your nails under a UV light between each coat, so it takes about 30 to 45 minutes. A standard mani usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes. The winner: Standard mani.


This can vary pretty widely depending on the salon, but let's say for arguments sake that a standard mani is about $15, and a Shellac is about $30 (plus tip for both). The winner: Standard mani.

Time it lasts

This is when Shellac shines. It'll last up to three weeks with zero chipping. Eventually your nails will start to grow and you'll see bare nails at the base, but your tips will generally stay chip-free until you remove the polish. A regular mani might last a week if you're lucky, but you definitely run a risk of chips or smudges before you walk down the aisle. The winner: Shellac.

Color selection

Obviously a standard mani gives you endless options for polish shades, but even Shellac has more than 40 colors to choose from, so it's not super limiting. The winner: Standard mani.

Final verdict

OK, looking at the winner tally, you'd think I'm going to tell you to skip Shellac and go for the standard mani. But I'm not. Sure, Shellac is more expensive and takes longer to apply, but once it's finished your nails will. Not. Chip. And that kind of certainty is priceless on a potentially stressful day like your wedding. Plus, that longevity means you'll also have nice nails on your honeymoon. For me, the choice is actually pretty obvious. Do you agree?


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