A Guide on How to Remove Gel Nails


Gel Nails

It is easy to get excited about gel nails. You get two weeks of flawless shine and polish—no chipping, peeling, or maintenance. And gel nails simply outshine just about any traditional manicure. The long-lasting shine and amazing polish make gel nails irresistible.

Yet, removing that LED or UV cured application is an altogether different situation. The moment you see an edge start to lift around the cuticle it will take all of your will power to not pick and tear at your gel manicure. You may even be tempted to tear the whole thing off causing serious damage to your natural nail bed.

Whether you are dealing with a professionally applied gel nail manicure or gel nails you did yourself, removing the lacquer can be a serious undertaking. However, there are a few failsafe methods for how to remove gel nails without causing damage to your natural nail beds.

Each method requires the use of acetone. Be advised that acetone can damage the skin around your nails. We will also talk about ways to protect against acetone in removing gel nails.

The Basics

Obviously, picking and tearing at gel nails will only cause damage to your natural nail beds. And ordinary nail polish remover simply will not work. Even nail polish remover that has an acetone base is not strong enough to remove gel nails.

The only thing that really removes a gel nail manicure is pure acetone. Acetone is an organic solvent that dissolves the organic material in gel nails. With a little patience and resilience, acetone will allow you to simply slide the gel nail lacquer right off your nails. How to apply the acetone correctly comes down to a few methods.

The main problem people encounter when removing gel nails is that they do not let the acetone do its work before trying to physically remove the lacquer. This causes pitting, divots, and pockets to form in the nail bed which will invariably lead to further damage. What is more, even some salon technicians have told clients that these things are a natural result of the removal process.

Experts explain that divots and pockets in the nail bed are emphatically not normal and are signs of improper removal of gel nails.

Acetone does not damage the nail itself. Acetone does remove natural oils from the skin and nails, but this does not cause damage to the nails. If there is damage to the keratin layer of the nail it is due to forced physical removal of the gel nail polish.

Demand for gel nails has grown exponentially and this has, of course, led to some disreputable and unqualified people to get into the business. If a salon technician tells you that minor damage to the nail bed is a natural outcome of gel nail removal, stop going to them. Thankfully most salons have qualified technicians who are properly trained to not only apply gel nails but also the best practices for removing them.

To protect your skin around the nail, simply apply a layer of Vaseline to create a barrier. Vaseline or other petroleum jellies are organics that form chemical barriers to acetone and other organic chemicals.  This will stop the acetone from soaking into your skin.

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Buy a Kit

Yes. One option for removing gel nails is to purchase a gel nail removal kit online. Several companies sell these on Amazon, including Sephora.com. These kits come with everything you will need to strip the gel finish off your nails. You simply buff your nails to remove the glossy finish then soak your nails in acetone to remove the actual gel nail polish. Some of these kits come with foils made to wrap around your fingers which apply the chemicals that remove the polish. Others come with pots designed for soaking your nails. They range in price from about $13-$20.

DIY Foils

If you are the type who goes in regularly for a gel nail manicure, it may get expensive buying removal kits. You will probably want to invest in the materials for doing removals on your own. The expense is fairly minimal, and if you are getting gel nail manicures on a regular basis the materials will pay for themselves in short order. You first need to buy acetone. You can buy bottles of acetone online. Beyond this, all you need are some cotton balls and a roll of foil. Simple household items. Simply applying the acetone with a cotton ball will loosen the gel nail lacquer. For maximum results, soak the acetone in cotton balls, apply the soaked cotton balls to your nails, and wrap them with foil. This generally takes about ten minutes of soaking to remove the gel nails.

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Remove Gently

The gel nail lacquer should come right off after soaking in acetone. If it does not slide off easily and without resistance, do not force it or file it off. This is what causes damage to the nail. Just apply more acetone with cotton balls and allow another 5-10 minutes of soaking. This will remove the remainder of the gel nail polish.

Once the polish is off, you should moisturize. Use good cuticle oil to fully moisturize and protect your cuticles.

This is really all there is to removing gel nail polish. The main thing to keep in mind is that removing a gel nail polish requires the use of acetone. While acetone can cause minor skin irritation, it is not damaging to your natural nail beds.

Protecting your skin from acetone is as simple as dabbing a little Vaseline on the skin surrounding the nail. Something you can buy at your neighborhood drug store.

The process of removing gel nails also demands patience. DO NOT file, scrape, or pick at the gel nail polish because this will cause potentially serious damage to your natural nails, some of which can be painful.

Since you have already invested in the lasting benefits of gel nails, why not follow through with taking proper care of your fantastic nails. Removing the gel nail finish requires a little extra effort but taking the time to remove gel nail polish properly will ultimately preserve your natural nails.

Do not give in to the temptation to just pick at and file your gel nails. You will damage your natural nails and defeat the purpose of getting a fine manicure in the first place.

Follow the simple procedure and your gel nails will slide right off leaving your natural nails healthy and intact.

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