How To Take Off Gel Nail Polish at Home: 4 Easy Techniques You Can Do

by Shirlyn Ramos

Gel nail polishes can literally be life changing. They can last you for weeks without chipping, wearing off and turning dull. Sounds fun, right?

Unfortunately, the magic ends when it's time to take them off. Without the right techniques, you can easily end up scraping or, worse, damaging your nails.

How To Take Off Gel Nail Polish at Home: 4 Easy Techniques You Can Do
How To Take Off Gel Nail Polish at Home: 4 Easy Techniques You Can Do

4 Easy Techniques to Take Off Gel Nail Polish

To make sure that doesn't happen, here are some tips and tricks on how to take off gel nail polish at home.

Soaking method

Soaking Method
Soaking Method
  1. Grab two clean bowls. One of them must be slightly smaller than the other.
  2. Fill the larger bowl with warm water. For the smaller bowl, pour in a good amount of acetone. Since acetone is combustible, you can't heat it in a microwave or your stove or else it will explode. So, instead of that, place the smaller bowl inside the larger bowl like a double broiler.
  3. Wait for the acetone to warm up a bit. While waiting, you can take a nail file and buff the surface of your nails. Once the acetone has warmed up, soak your nails in it and wait for the nail polish to come loose. This should take you around 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. When you see the edges coming loose, get your orange stick and gently loosen the gel polish. Work on your nails slowly until everything is completely removed.

Aluminum foil wraps

Aluminum Foil Method
Aluminum Foil Method
  1. Buff your nails with a nail file. It should be gritty so you can really get rid of the shiny layer. Once your nails look matte and feel a bit sandy, get a piece of cotton ball soaked in acetone. Make sure it's really soaked and saturated.
  2. Place the cotton ball on top of the nail you've just buffed and cover it with a piece of aluminum foil. This is to keep the cotton ball in place so wrap the foil tightly.
  3. Repeat the same process for the rest of your fingers.
  4. Wait for 10 minutes before you take off the wrap. You can check one finger first to see if the polish is flaking off.
  5. If not, place the wrap again and wait for a few more minutes. You can use the same cotton balls to remove any left over polish on your nails.

Pro-tip: Start with your non-dominant hand to make things easier.

Nail filing

Nail Filing
Nail Filing
  1. If you don't have any acetone at home and you really, really need to take off your gel polish, you can use your nail file. Just be careful with this technique so you won't damage your nails.
  2. To start, cut your nails to a manageable length. Take a coarse nail file and buff away the polish. Do this slowly and frequently check how far you are from your own nails. You can blow off the dust to get a better view.
  3. Once you are near your natural nails, get a softer nail file and continue buffing gently. Wash your fingers with soap and water after you've removed the polish.You can apply some oil to nourish and soothe your nails after what they've gone through.

Soaking and peeling

Soaking And Peeling
Soaking And Peeling
  1. This technique is similar to the first one. The only difference is that there's no acetone involved here so you'll only need one bowl filled with warm water. Another alternative is to take a hot shower.
  2. After soaking your nails in warm water, take a cuticle stick and push back the gel polish. You can start at a chipped edge where it's likely to peel off easier. Try to peel off as much as you can. Don't worry about not being able to pull everything off in one go. You can always buff the remaining ones after.
Soaking and peeling
Soaking and peeling

Expert Tips On How To Take Off Gel Nail Polish At Home

  • Peeling and scraping off are techniques you should only use as a last resort. You can end up peeling your own nails if done incorrectly.
  • Use maximum strength acetone to make the process a lot easier and faster. Always check if your polish remover has acetone in it.
  • Skip moisturizing ingredients when choosing your acetone. Although beneficial for your nails, these ingredients can delay the soaking process.
  • Make it a habit to protect your cuticles. You can apply a balm to create a barrier between the acetone and your cuticles.
  • Don't rush. It's important to keep your nails soaked in warm water or acetone for a good amount of time.
  • Moisturize your nails after removing your nail polish. Soaking your nails in coconut oil after can rejuvenate them.
  • Always dispose of wooden tools after each use. They can harbor bacteria and cause infection. Don't share them with your friends, too.
  • Indulge your nails with a hydrating treatment overnight. If you don't have any nail oil, you can apply a good layer of balm on your cuticles and let it sit as you sleep.
  • Do the process in a well-ventilated area. Inhaling dust particles and acetone won't be good for your health.
  • Choose cotton balls over pads as pads can dry out quicker. They tend to absorb more acetone, too.
  • If you have been wearing your gel polish for 21 days or longer, you need more time soaking your nails.
  • When using a wooden nail stick, you should be using little to no pressure in lifting off the polish.
Expert Tips On How To Take Off Gel Nail Polish At Home
Expert Tips On How To Take Off Gel Nail Polish At Home

In Summary on How Take Off Gel Nail Polish

Gel nail polishes are great. No doubt about that.

However, when it comes to removal, it can be a totally different story. Without the right techniques, you can end up permanently damaging your nails.

For your nails' safety, it's still best if you can get your gel nail polish removed professionally. If budget and schedule do not permit, at least make sure that you are using the right tools and that you are using the right type of polish remover. Do not attempt to rush the process, too!

See Also: 4 Best Nail Polish Removers

About Shirlyn Ramos

Shirlyn Ramos has worked as a manager for a famous nail salon chain for over 10 years. She's seen it all, and now she likes to share her experience with others in the hopes of helping them create beautiful nails. When she's not busy with work, Shirlyn enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves going on walks and exploring new places.

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