How Gel Nails Are Removed: An Expert’s Guide on Removing Gel Nails at Home Without Damaging Your Nails
Gel nails are the MVP of the nail world, but they can also be hard on your natural nails. As much as we love the glossy look, a study by the University of Miami School of Medicine found that gel manicures can weaken your nails.
So, how do you indulge in your manicures while keeping your natural nails healthy? Fortunately, there are ways to do that!
Leaving your gel nails on for too long can make your nails frail and damaged. And as most of the damage to your nails, like breaking, thinning, and peeling, results from the removal process, knowing how gel nails are removed can help mitigate the damage.
Let’s look at how to carefully remove gel nails at home while keeping your nails safe.
How To Safely Remove Gel Nails At Home: Manicure Advice
Removing gel polish takes some time and patience, but it’s worth the effort to ensure long-term protection for your nails. Here’s a guide that can help you remove gel nails at home without damaging your natural nails.
1. Protect Your Cuticles
Acetone, a clear, colorless liquid used to dissolve gels, can cause severe damage to your nails, especially your cuticles. The damage to your nail is why you should apply cuticle oil to the skin surrounding your nails and fingertips to protect them from the drying effects of acetone.
A great option is 786 Cosmetics Almond & Ginseng Cuticle Oil — it protects your nails and cuticles from harm while also improving their health and appearance. Alternatively, you can also apply a generous amount of Vaseline or Aquaphor to minimize the acetone’s damage.
2. Use A Nail File to Loosen Up The Top Layer of The Gel Polish
Gel nails have a tough, practically impermeable coating that seals in the color and makes it stay on longer. Loosening up this top layer of the gel polish may make it easier for the acetone to penetrate through. So, grab a nail file and buff the topcoat off with some pressure.
An excellent choice is the 786 Cosmetics Crystal Nail Files, which come in a bundle of five different colors. They’re double-sided nail files with an abrasive surface that’ll help make nail prep a breeze.
Ensure you’re not filing your nail down into the color when sanding the polish off; instead, remove the topcoat seal to avoid harming the nail bed underneath. This part can, admittedly, be a little tricky to master.
Here’s a tip: Keep blowing the dust away and stop sanding your nails as soon as the color fades and the polish gets dull to protect your natural nail’s integrity.
You can also take it a step ahead and file your nail down to your desired length and shape.
3. Soak Your Nails in Acetone
Place acetone-soaked cotton balls or cotton pads on each nail. Make sure to add a few drops of cuticle oil to the acetone solution to give your nails some hydration and protection.
When purchasing acetone, avoid products that contain moisturizing ingredients as they tend to slow down the process without providing much in the way of hydration. We recommend using 786 Cosmetics’ Soy Nail Polish Remover for an acetone-free alternative.
4. Wrap Your Fingertips with Aluminum Foil
After placing an acetone-soaked cotton ball on your nail, use a square (3 x 3 inch) aluminum foil to hold the cotton ball in place. It will trap the heat and help the gel break down significantly faster. You can also use plastic food wrap to create a tighter seal, but make sure it isn’t too tight.
This can be tricky, but you can make the process easier by starting with your non-dominant hand. You’ll be surprised by all the difference that can make!
5. Remove The Polish
Once you’ve secured your fingertips with aluminum foil, wait 10-20 minutes to check your progress. If the gel polish does not appear to be coming off the nail, apply a fresh acetone-soaked cotton ball to the nail, rewrap it in aluminum foil, and leave it be for another 5 minutes.
Most of the gel polish should appear loosened and will lift away from the nail by this time. Use a squeeze and twist motion to remove the polish with minimal pressure.
You can also speed up the process by wrapping your hands in a warm towel to loosen the gel, then gently scrape the nail with a nail stick to remove any residual nail polish.
Some people recommend using dental floss to speed up the process, but we’ll have to disagree. While it can pull off your gel polish, it comes with the risk of pulling off part of your natural nail.
6. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Acetone is one of the most effective ways to remove the gel from your nails, but it will also dry them out and make them sensitive. After removing all of the gel and washing your nails with soap and water, you should soak your nails in coconut oil for 5-7 minutes to add moisture and avoid dehydration.
Wipe off the excess oil, and then use cuticle oil to revitalize and rehydrate your nails, followed by a nourishing hand cream to lock in the moisture.
You can also use 786 Cosmetics Nail Rescue Primer to strengthen weak or damaged nails. Alternatively, you can also use a Nourishing Nail Treatment to make your nails stronger, smoother, and healthier.
Enhance Your Nail Care Routine with 786 Cosmetics
Gel nails can, undoubtedly, compromise your nail beds. Choosing suitable gel polishes and indulging in nail care become a crucial part of manicure to repair any nail damage while also sprucing up your nails to make them look their best.
At 786 Cosmetics, we’ve created a vegan, cruelty-free formula that keeps nails nourished and moisturized, eliminating the risk of dry, brittle, and weaker nails that standard nail polishes can cause. Please browse our extensive collection of gorgeous nail polishes for every occasion, mood, or style on our website, and check out our Instagram page for some inspiration for your next nail look!
Author: Keren Dinkin
Excellent information. Very thorough! Thank you