Gel nails are a beautiful way to cover up imperfections in your nails, but they do require some work. If you want to remove gel polish at home, here's how!
Step 1) Remove any gel topcoat.
Remove any gel topcoat. Use a nail file to remove the gel coat. Do not use metal or glass nail files as they will damage your nails and cuticle area as well as the polish underneath it. Also, if your nail file is too rough, it can cause chips in your nails and make them weaker.
Step 2) Prepare a cotton ball and an acetone-soaked cotton pad. (I like to use tissues instead of cotton balls to make cleanup easier, but you can use either.)
To soak the cotton ball, simply dip it into a small container of acetone. Be sure to use 100% acetone.
It's important that your cotton ball is fully saturated with acetone—you want all of the polish to come off with one swipe.
Step 3) Wrap the cotton pad around your nail.
Wrap the cotton pad around your nail.
Using a clean, dry cotton pad or ball, wrap it around your nail and secure with a few of those foil strips. Repeat for each finger until all nails are wrapped. Note: You may want to separate each finger with two clips so that you can easily grab one later on when you're ready to remove them; just be sure to leave them in place!
Step 4) Wrap your fingernail and the cotton pad with nail clips or foil.
To keep the cotton pad in place, wrap your nail and the cotton pad in foil or with a few nail clips. If you're using a toothpick to push the cotton pad into the crevice between your skin and fingernail, be careful not to apply too much pressure—you don't want to break your skin!
Step 5) Repeat for each finger.
Wrap the cotton pad around your fingernail and secure it with a foil or nail clips. Let the acetone soak for 10 minutes, then remove the wraps and wipe away any excess acetone with a paper towel. Use a cuticle stick to scrape off any remaining gel polish that's still clinging to your nail bed.
It may seem like an unnecessary step, but I like to do this because it helps ensure that no gel polish remains on my nails after I remove it—and because I don't want to risk getting any acetone in my eye!
Step 6) Wait 10 minutes before removing wraps.
Before you remove your wraps, remember that you can use a timer or an app to remind yourself when to take them off. In fact, it’s always a good idea to do this if you have any questions while removing the wraps.
Step 7) Remove the foils and wipe away extra acetone.
Now that the gel polish has been removed, you can use a cuticle stick (or even a toothpick) to scrape off any remaining residue from your nails.
Use the nail clipper to remove the foil from each finger and then use cotton balls dipped in acetone to wipe away any excess gel from your skin.
Step 8) Use a cuticle stick to scrape off any remaining gel polish.
Use a cuticle stick to scrape off any remaining gel polish.
You can use a metal cuticle pusher or a metal nail clipper, but we don't recommend it here because you may end up hurting your nails and/or the surrounding skin if you're not careful. Metal files are also problematic because they remove too much of the natural nail, which can cause your nails to split later on down the road.
Easy as that!
So, there you have it! You can remove your gel nails at home and save money by doing so. If you’re looking for more information on how to do this or just want to learn more about gel nails in general, check out my other blog posts on the topic.