I had Shellac done for the first time and I liked it!
The difference between Shellac and Bio Gel is that it's easier to apply because Shellac comes in bottles like nail polish. It looks more natural and it's more porous to let the nails breathe.
Shellac lasts 2-3 weeks which is perfect because by then I have about 3mm of regrowth anyway and should be removed. Two nails peeled after two weeks and I couldn't stop picking off the gel.
I had such a bad experience with gel removal in the past, I refuse to have a salon do it. Especially when it can be done easily at home. And guess what, for Shellac you don't even have to use 100% acetone. A good nail polish remover will work provided it contains acetone.
So you need a rough nail file, acetone nail polish remover (I used Cutex Nourishing for weak nails), foil, cotton wool and an orange stick.
Best to do one hand at a time. Here is a step by step guide.
1) Prepare the foil by cutting 5cm x 15cm strips and fold them over so they double layered. This makes them stronger and easier to handle. Cut the cotton wool in to pieces to fit over your nails.
2) Rough up the entire surface of the gel with the file. Don't be too gentle. You want to get rid of the top coat.
2) One nail at a time, saturate a piece of cotton wool with nail polish remover, place on the nail and wrap the foil closely around the fingertip and then fold the open end over the nail to secure.
3) Once done for all nails, let them soak for 10 mins. Check the first nail and if it looks like the below pic, it's ready for removal with the orange stick. Unwrap and scrape one nail at a time. The gel should come off easily. If not, soak for another few minutes, making sure the cotton wool is saturated.
Once the nails are clear of gel, you can give them a quick buff if you wish. Wash hands to remove residual chemicals and slather on a rich handcream. Apply cuticle oil and now you have fresh natural nails!