How To Remove Gel Nail Polish At Home

How To Remove Gel Nail Polish At Home

How To Remove Gel Nail Polish: Many people love gel manicures. Gel polish’s glossy finish is practically indestructible and that just-left-the-salon look can last for two weeks or more. But eventually, you will notice a tiny chip, and then another and another until you’ve got to remove the polish.

As anyone who’s ever had a gel manicure can confirm, that’s easier said than done. Gel polish is not like regular nail polish. Its ingredients are stronger than your traditional lacquer, which is part of why it’s so resistant to the normal wear-and-tear that destroys your average manicure in a matter of days. Gel polish is also cured under a UV or LED lamp, whereas regular polish sets under less extreme conditions.

How To Remove Gel Nail Polish
How To Remove Gel Nail Polish

Grab A Kit

Removal kits like Red Carpet Manicure’s ($13; and Nails Inc.’s Gel-Less Gel Nail Polish Remover Kit ($19; come equipped with everything you need to strip the shellac from your nails. Both work on salon-cured and DIY jobs but differ only in the type of soaking pads involved. Red Carpet Manicure’s kit includes ten foils with each piece affixed to the nail surface, while Ciate’s comes equipped with conditioning acetone and a gel remover pot in which you pour the solution and dip your hand in one at a time to loosen up the gel polish.

Diy Foils

If a gel manicure is a frequent treatment for you, this method might be best, as some of the kits may not include enough solution for regular removals. Pick up a bottle of acetone like Beauty Secrets’ formula ($3;, ten cotton balls, and a roll of tin foil from the kitchen. Buff the surface of your mani with a nail file to remove the shine, then soak a cotton ball in the acetone and place it directly on top of your nail.

The Soaking Method

This method takes the longest and requires a little elbow grease, but works wonders if you don’t have any foil or cotton balls on hand. Grab two bowls from the kitchen, one slightly larger than the other. Fill the larger bowl with warm water, place the smaller one inside (as you would with a double-boiler), and pour in some acetone. Because acetone is highly-flammable, you should not heat it in the microwave or stove. As you allow the solution to warm for a minute or two, buff the surfaces of your manicure with a nail file, then place your hand inside the acetone and allow the gels to gradually soak off. After 10 to 15 minutes, you should notice the corners coming loose.

How To Remove Gel Nail Polish Without Acetone

Lift up part of the gel nail: Wait until the nails are already chipped. Find a loose spot and lift up part of the gel nail with your fingernail or a pair of tweezers. Waiting around a week or two before trying to peel off the gel nails will reduce the damage done to your natural nails since the gel will have had time to loosen and chip off.

Pour water over the lifted edge and push the gel polish off: Put your finger under lukewarm running water. Using your free hand, place a finger underneath the lifted gel nail and gently push it off your natural nail. Be patient and go slow so you won’t damage the natural nail underneath.

Use olive oil or cuticle oil if the nail won’t come off with water: If you are finding it difficult to peel the nail off under running water, try using olive oil or cuticle oil instead. Cover the gel nail and the fingernail you are using to push the gel nail off with oil.

How To Remove Gel Nail Polish Without Foil

What You Need

  • 10-15 cotton balls
  • 10-15 strips of aluminum foils (big enough to wrap around your fingers)
  • Pure acetone
  • Gritty nail file
  • Orange stick
  • Petroleum jelly

    How To Remove Gel Nail Polish Without Foil
    How To Remove Gel Nail Polish Without Foil
  1. The first thing you need to do is break out your nail file and get rid of the shiny top coat that keeps the polish from chipping. Your chances of successfully removing the polish are higher once this layer is gone. Grab a gritty nail file and buff away the topcoat.
  2. Next, apply petroleum jelly to the skin around your nails. This will protect your skin from the drying effects of acetone. You can also use cuticle oil or a thick cream instead of petroleum jelly.
  3. Wrap the cut pieces of aluminum foil over the cotton balls. The foil will prevent the acetone from evaporating and help it soak into the gel polish. Wait for about 15-20 minutes. Yes, it is a time-consuming process.
  4. After about 20 minutes, the gel polish should look as if it has lifted and is falling off the nail. You should be able to remove the remaining polish with little to no pressure using an orange stick.

How do you remove gel polish from natural nails?

Soak Some Cotton Balls
The key to removing gel nail polish is to soak your fingertips in acetone. You can do this in a small bowl filled with acetone and a drop or two of cuticle oil, Saulsbery says, or you can use a soaked cotton ball to sit on each talon.

How do you remove gel nail polish without acetone?


  1. Lift up part of the gel nail.
  2. Pour water over the lifted edge and push the gel polish off.
  3. Use olive oil or cuticle oil if the nail won’t come off with water.
  4. Buff off any remaining gel residue with a nail file.
  5. Nourish your nails with cuticle oil and your hands with hand cream.

Is it OK to peel off gel nail polish?

By peeling off a gel manicure, you are not only removing the gel but also the top layers of these delicate cells. If you are guilty of picking and peeling, now’s the time to stop. You can gently and safely take your gel manicure off at home, especially if your nails were healthy before the manicure.

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What is Soak Off Gel nail polish?

Soak-off gel nails are often otherwise known as “soft” gel nails. Traditional nail polish is paint, wait forever, and go. Soak-off gel nail polish is painted on as well, but after each layer, it is “cured” with a UV light. This means that the nails are placed under the light to dry before adding another layer.

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