How to remove gel nail polish like a pro

Removing gel Polish from nails. All fingers with foil on both hands. Close-up hand. Front view

Removing Gel Nail Polish can be a time-consuming and messy endeavor. You may have tried once or twice only to give up, frustrated that the job just doesn’t seem doable. Fear not! While it takes some patience, knowing how to remove gel nail polish like a pro is completely within reach.

In this blog post, we’ll break down all the tips you need for a perfect nail salon-like removal every single time – from the tools, you’ll need and the stages of removal through to caring for your nails afterward. Ready? Let’s get started!

What is a gel manicure?

Fingernail Filing

Gel manicures are a type of nail polish that is cured using an LED or UV light. The gel polish is applied in thin layers and then “cured” under the light for about 30 seconds for each coat. This process ensures that the color will remain glossy and chip-free for up to two weeks.

Gel manicures have become increasingly popular for their long-lasting results and vibrant colors. Additionally, since the polish is cured with a light, there is no waiting time between layers of polish like you would experience with traditional nail polish. With a gel manicure, you can achieve salon-quality nails without having to wait in line.

However, it’s important to note that gel manicures do require special care and attention in order to maintain their glossy, chip-free look. For example, you should avoid contact with water for the first 24 hours after application as well as limit direct UV exposure

What do you need to remove gel nail polish?

Many people prefer to remove gel nail polish at home, as it can be painful to have a nail technician scrape off the polish. To make the process easier and less time-consuming, you should keep a few supplies on hand:

  • a coarse nail file for roughening up the surface of the polish

  • acetone nail polish remover

  • cuticle oil or petroleum jelly to protect your skin

  • cotton balls (optional)

  • tinfoil for soaking your fingers without submerging them completely

  • a nail buffer for smoothing the surface of your nails afterward.

    With these items in hand, you can easily remove your gel manicure at home.

Preparations before removing gel nail polish

Before removing gel polish, it is best to work on one hand at a time. Set up your workspace in an area with good ventilation as acetone has a strong smell. Cover the surface you are working on with a towel – acetone can stain surfaces if not taken care of properly.

Cut out 10 squares of aluminum foil that are big enough to wrap around the tip of each finger. Alternatively, break off 10 pieces of cotton balls big enough to cover just the nail bed of each nail. Rough up the surface of your nails with a file.

Make sure not to use the nail file as a means of removing polish, but instead to take away any gloss from the top layer and make it easier to remove after soaking or applying nail polish remover. Additionally, protect your cuticles and surrounding skin by applying petroleum jelly beforehand in order to protect them from the harsh effects of acetone.

6 easy steps for removing gel polish

These 6 steps will help you get rid of gel nails:

Step 1: Protect your surfaces

Before beginning with the removal process, it is important to protect your surfaces. Gel polish remover can strip varnish or coatings off surfaces, so use a mat with a towel and some paper towel on top when performing the removal process.

Cuticle oil, cream, or Vaseline should also be applied around the nails to provide a protective layer. Once these steps are complete, you can proceed to the next step of removing your gel polish like a pro.

Step 2: Buff

To remove gel polish successfully, it is important, to begin with, buffing. To start, use a gentle nail file to buff your nails and remove any ridges or uneven edges. Additionally, take this time to remove any visible flecks of gel polish. It’s important to note that buffing too much can thin the nail plate, weakening both your nails and the gel polish’s ability to adhere. This is because overly buffed nails are more likely to bend, causing the gel polish to separate easily from the nail plate.

Next, use your file to remove the top coat of the gels. Make sure all of the shine is gone in order for the acetone to effectively break down the cured paint. It is important to note that if you neglect this step, removal may be near impossible as some gel polish top coats are very hardwearing. Follow up with the acetone and cotton rounds to finish off the job.

Step 3: Protect your skin and cuticles

Applying cuticle oil to the skin surrounding the nail is a great way to aid in the removal of gel polish while preventing dehydration. it is advised that applying cuticle oil does not inhibit or stop the removal process, but it does make it less drying.

By taking this step, you can help reduce the amount of damage to your nails that comes along with removing gel polish. Cuticle oil is an essential step for anyone looking to avoid dry, brittle nails after removing gel polish.

Step 4: Soak them off

The soaking method is a great way to remove the gel nails with no tools or excess effort. Simply fill a small bowl with acetone-based regular nail polish remover and submerge your fingertips in the solution for 10-15 minutes or use acetone-soaked cotton balls and then wrap it with foil.

Once the gel manicure begins to lift off, use a cuticle stick to gently scrape away the remaining polish. After all of the gel has been removed, buff your nails to smooth their surfaces.​​​​​​

Step 5: Watch the gel flake off

Once the foil is removed, you should be able to see the gel start to flake off. Gently use an orange wood stick or cuticle pusher to push any of the loose gel away from your nails. Avoid applying too much pressure on your nails while doing so.

If there are any areas where the gel has not come off, you can re-wrap and try again. Be sure to never force any product off the nail plate, as it can cause damage.

step 6. Rehydrate

After removing your gel manicure, use a gentle buffing block to smooth out the nail’s surface. It’s important to restore moisture to your nails after a gel manicure. You can do this by soaking your nails in warm water for at least 5 minutes, then gently rubbing cuticle oil into the nail and cuticle. You can also apply petroleum jelly or other nourishing creams to the cuticle area for extra moisture. Lastly, moisturize with lotions or oils frequently throughout the day to help keep your nails hydrated.

By taking steps to keep your nails healthy and hydrated, you can maintain the luster of your manicure for longer and protect your nails from damage. Be sure to visit a professional if you have any questions or concerns about removing gel nail polish safely or effectively.

Tips for easier removal of gel nail polish

If you’re looking to make it easier to take off your gel nail polish, there are a few tips that can help:

Firstly, resist the temptation to peel the polish off. While it may seem like an easy solution, continual peeling can lead to onycholysis is a common condition of nails where the nail lifts away from the nail bed.

Secondly, be sure to file your nails before soaking them. Although this might not seem like it makes a difference, it can actually require more scraping and soaking if you skip this step.

Finally, try another brand of gel polish. A certain brand can be easier to remove than another, however, they may not last as long. Speak to your nail technician for their recommendations on the best brands that are easy to take off.

The Bottom Line

Now that you know how to remove gel nail polish, there’s no excuse not to try it out for yourself. With a little practice, you’ll be able to achieve salon-worthy results at home. And who knows, maybe you’ll even end up saving some money in the process. So what are you waiting for? Grab your supplies and give it a go!

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