My Solution to: Acrylic vs. Shellac vs. OPI Nail Polish

Colourful Acrylic Nails
Image sourced via Pinterest originally posted by:

For years and years I have been getting acrylic nails put on and drilled off. 

I like my nails to look painted, shaped and square. The problem is that I can’t wear fake nails or coloured nails to work so it seems like I am forever putting them on and taking them off again.

After experimenting with Acrylic Nails, Shellac Nails and plain OPI Nail Polish; I have come up with a solution that works best for me.

The Solution:

Step 1: Start with acrylic nails to help the natural nail grow length underneath – there is no way my nails would grow on their own, so the acrylic helps with the time to pass.

Step 2: Remove the Acrylic nails at the nail salon – and not with my teeth, as I would normally do out of frustration and desperation.

Step 3: Apply a clear coloured shellac to natural nail.

Step 4: Apply favourite OPI colour on top of the clear shellac when colour is needed.

The clear shellac helps my nail to keep shape, strength and length. It is also clear in colour so i can wear it to work. When I feel like adding a bit of colour, I can easily apply and remove without destroying the nail underneath.

Each nail option has its pros and cons…

Acrylic Nails


  • They look good (if done properly)
  • They don’t break easily or chip
  • The colour lasts
  • You can choose the length of you nail
  • You can select a clear nail or a white tip nail and also paint over the top
  • There are lots of fancy nail art designs to choose from


  • They hurt (a lot) when the nail does break or rip off
  • Your nail bed underneath is damaged for weeks after taking the acrylic off
  • You can’t wear them in some workplaces – like hospitality
  • They are fairly expensive to apply or refill
  • Refills need to be done every 3 weeks or else your nails start to look cheap and tacky

Shellac Nails


  • Looks like normal nail polish except it doesn’t chip off
  • Cheaper than applying acrylic nails
  • Takes less time and less fuss and less mess at the nail salon


  • It only covers you natural nail bed so it doesn’t look good on short nails
  • Nail polish remover doesn’t take shellac off
  • You need to go in to a salon to take shellac off
  • Shellac has is own line of colours so you can’t pick an OPI colour

OPI Nail Polish


  • The range of colours is fantastic
  • The names of the colours are fun and creative
  • Sometimes, I pick a colour because of its name or description
  • It comes off with normal nail polish remover
  • You can change you nail colour as often as you like
  • You can apply it on top of acrylic nails or your natural nail bed (and even on top of clear shellac)


  • It chips easily
  • It doesn’t stay on the nail very long

How do you maintain your nails? 


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