Popular Nail Terminology

Whether you're a professional nail technician or an enthusiastic nail art aficionado, this guide is designed to unravel the intricacies and nuances that define this thriving industry. We'll explore the terminology that shapes and defines the nail industry so get ready to expand your knowledge and discover the fascinating world of nails, one term at a time.


Shellac is the collection name of gel polish produced by the brand CND (Creative Nail Design). As it was one of the very first gel polish ranges to be created, many people now refer to all gel polish as shellac, however, it is not an overarching term for all gel polish and other brands will have their own formulations and names. Our gel polish is One Step Gel and you can view our collection here.

SNS stands for Signature Nail Systems, which is a brand that specialises in a specific type of nail enhancement system known as the SNS dipping powder system. As it was one of the very first dipping powder brands to be created, most dipping powder is now referred to as 'SNS'. 

Acrylic is applied by using acrylic powder (polymer) and liquid monomer. Acrylic is the hardest enhancement and can be removed by soaking in acetone. It is highly versatile and almost compatible with hard gel, however, is not as flexible 

Hard Gel and BIAB have similar ingredients however BIAB can be soaked off with acetone and Hard Gel needs to be filed. Our Builder Gel XL can be used in a similar process.

Gel-X was one of the first full coverage extension brands to be created. It's also called 'Soft Gel Extensions' and is basically applied using full coverage tips and builder gel. Our One Step Gel Extensions involve a similar process using our Extension Gel Adhesive

Shellac, BIAB, SNS, Gel Polish, Acrylic, Gel-X, Hard Gel, Soft Gel