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How To Remove Your Gel Polish At Home

Removing gel polish is really easy. Sure, you need a little dexterity or possibly somebody to help, but when you know how to do it it shouldn't take more than 20-25 minutes.

Please, please do not peel your gels off! I know it's satisfying, but it can also take off the top layers of your nails making them thinner and weaker. This leads to splitting and chipping of your nails and can make it more difficult for your nails to grow and for nail products to adhere.


Here's an easy step-by-step guide on how to remove them yourself at home using two slightly different methods. I've broken it down so it should be easy enough to follow but if you have any questions then I am happy to answer them!


What you need:


- Nail file (a buffing block is also helpful, but optional)

- Nail polish remover (make sure it has acetone listed as the first ingredient)

- Kitchen foil - cut the foil into squares or rectangles, roughly 3 - 4 inches

- Cotton wool pads - cut these up into small pieces that fit over your nails

- Scissors

- Orange stick

- Towel and kitchen roll










The prep steps for both methods are exactly the same, so lets go through those first.

If you're going to trim your nails, do this now.


Once they're a length you're happy with, file the edges into your desired shape - don't worry, you can perfect the exact shape after removal. Make sure you file the free edge. Any good tech will have capped the edge - this is one of the reasons why your gel manicure lasts for so long.



Gently buff away the top shiny layer of gel. This step is the most important one - if you don't do it, your gel polish won't come off. Be really thorough here and make sure you've broken through the seal across most of the surface. If you have on a glitter or a lot of layers, then you might need to buff quite a bit away. Don't go too crazy; you're not aiming to completely file off the polish. You can see in the middle photo below that the shine is all gone and the surface is now rough.


If you've noticed any lifting of the polish and can easily fit nail scissors underneath, you can trim a little bit away.



Once you've completed those steps, choose one of the methods below:


Method One - Foil Wraps


This one requires a little bit of dexterity, so start by doing one hand at a time or ask a friend for help. I recommend starting with your little fingers and working your way towards the thumbs.


Take a piece of cotton pad and soak it in nail polish remover - be generous with the remover, but don't go so crazy that it will leak everywhere.


Next, take a foil square and place your soaked cotton pad in the middle of the shiny side.


Now press the pad onto your nail and wrap the foil around your finger tip as tightly as you're able to. Pinch the top together and fold it down.


If you find it easier, you can place the soaked cotton pad onto your nail and then wrap the foil over it.



If you're likely to be moving about, you can place nail clips or wrap some surgical tape over the foil. Clips can be found very cheaply on amazon or ebay.


Method Two - Soaking Trays


This method requires nail polish remover, trays or bowls and hot water.


You can find these little trays on amazon and ebay or you can use a bowl inside another bowl.


Heat up some water to a bearable temperature and fill either the bottom portion of the trays or your larger bowl. If using bowls, make sure the larger one is not full enough to spill into the smaller one. Reattach the tops of the trays if using.


Pour enough remover to cover your nails into the top trays or smaller bowl (place this inside the larger bowl).


Dunk your nails in and wait.



For both methods:


Wait around 10-15 minutes and check to see if the gel is loose.


If you see it flaking away then remove the foils (I usually do one at a time) or remove your fingers from the trays. If not, re-wrap/put your nails back into the acetone for a few more minutes.


Next take an orange stick or cuticle pusher if you have one and GENTLY push the gel from the cuticle towards the free edge. Do this over a towel or piece of kitchen roll and wipe the gel onto it.


It should come off fairly easily, but if it needs a little help, try going over any stubborn spots with a file - again, be gentle!


Once you've removed all of the gel, buff over your nails and reshape them so that they're even.



You can very gently push back your cuticles but if you don't feel confident doing so, then please leave them for your next appointment. (I have tidied mine up in the photos).


Next take a cotton pad and dip it into nail polish remover. Swipe this over all of the nails.

Now massage in some cuticle oil and you're done!



Thanks for checking out this tutorial - if you found it useful then please let me know in the comments or over on Instagram.

Note: Please do not pour your left over acetone down the drain! Soak it up with some kitchen roll and discard in the trash.


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