How to remove Gel Polish safely!

Time and time again I have a client that comes to me and says, “I don’t want gel polish its ruining my nails.” In my mind, I’m rolling my eyes. Gel polish is not bad for your nails, and it pisses me off that so many think that it does. Companies advertise their scrapbook nail forms as “no damage removal”, “no damage soak-off”, “longer lasting manicures”… EYEROLL. BUT did you know the same exact prep they advertise is the SAME prep (all Licensed Nail Artists who are properly trained) use for gel polish + acrylic dip ?? You probably didn’t .. that’s ok.

If I’m going to get my nails done like most people in the world, it takes skill, patience, blood, sweat and tears. OK, correction, no one should be bleeding. You get the point.

To remove correctly should be the same no matter where you go. If they are doing something extremely differently then what I’m going to lay out, be concerned. The prep and removal process is where in-properly trained Nail Artists cause damage to the nail. Now if your peeling your gel polish off before your next appointment, the damage is your fault. And, don’t lie about it buttercup, we can tell when you’ve peeled it off.

How to remove:

Supplies needed for at home removal:

  • Acetone, you can buy this with Vitamin E by Sally Hansen  for around $7.50.
  • Cotton Balls or Cotton Squares cut in 4 pieces.
  • Foil cut in 3×3 squares
  • Cuticle oil, I personally use Rose Oil by Young Nails , $16.50. A little goes a long way.
  • Two socks or two hand mitts (creating heats warms up the remover, resulting in a faster soak-off time)
  • 240 grit Nail File or Buffer Block

Step 1:

  • File and shape the nail. This removes the top coat seal from the free edge. Repeat on all ten nails or what’s left of your gel polish.

Step 2:

  • Carefully, using the nail file remove the shine from the gel polish. Do not push down with the nail file. Let the grit do its job, and simply remove the shine. The gel should be dull when done. Repeat on all ten nails or what’s left of your gel polish. **Now, if your Nail Artist is using an electric file to remove the shine, this is ok, IF the correct bit is being used. Simply ask them what number grit they are using, if the number is lower then 240, or they are removing it all the way down to the naked nail plate tell them to stop.

Step 3:

Place cuticle oil on all ten nails.

Step 4:

  • Cotton needs to have two pumps of acetone saturated. They should not be dripping of acetone. Too much acetone, is simply too much and gets all over the skin. The size of the cotton should also not be greater then the size of the nail plate.

Step 5:

  • Wrap the nail, with foil, like a burrito. DO NOT PINCH THE FOIL. Only pinch the sides where there is no cotton.

Place hands in socks, hand mitts, or some sort of plastic glove. This creates heat, and warm acetone works better. While soaking DO NOT PINCH the foil. You are squeezing out all the acetone, the cotton will dry out and the removal process will have to start over.

Soaking time do vary but not more then 20 minutes is necessary will the majority of all lines of gel polish. (Yes, it’s called gel polish, Shellac is a brand by CND.)

I hope this helps all of you. Our products out there for clients, artists, are truly all safe. It is poorly trained, or unlicensed individuals spreading nonsense; they give us all a bad reputation.



The Nail Society

Photo Credit: Lauren Conrad

Published by

The Nail Society

Published Freelance Nail Artist serving you in the Houston + Greater Houston Area.

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