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The Right Way to Remove Gel Nail Polish at Home

The Right Way to Remove Gel Nail Polish at Home

Gel polish, as awesome as it is for its long lasting benefits, can be difficult to maintain. After waiting weeks to remove, the regrowth can strain the health of your nails, leaving them frail and damaged. The best way to move forward is to remove it but that doesn't mean you have to go to the nail salon! Here are our expert tips being in the nail industry for over 30 years for how to safely and simply remove gel polish at home. 


Steps to remove gel nail polish

The temptation for picking and peeling can be overwhelming but trust us when we say that the seemingly satisfying moment will be gone quickly when you realize the damage that's been done!  Removing gel polish at home is essentially the same process as the salon, so don't overthink it as you probably have a general idea already in your head. 


1. Nail Supplies

Before we even start, be sure to grab these supplies and have them organized next to you at arms reach with a towel to rest your hands on.


Cotton Balls

Cuticle Pusher

Cuticle Oil

- Fine, Medium, and Coarse buffer/file

- Foil (cut into smaller pieces for wrapping around finger) 

2. File it down 

Now that you have all your supplies, start by buffing the gel polish off the top with a coarse buffer and be sure to avoid your cuticles. The goal is to try and remove as much of that stubborn gel polish off as possible. This will allow the acetone to more easily remove any left over polish. The more gel polish removed from buffing, the less time you'll spend soaking your nails in acetone meaning less risk for drying your nails and cuticles. 

The key to this step is patience. Take your time and if you find yourself getting frustrated or getting tired from buffing, move onto the next step! 

File your nail down


3. Soak it Off

Grab a single cotton ball and split it up into 5 smaller pieces. YES you read that right. Cotton balls are too large normally. Grab the smaller cotton ball that you split up into pieces and soak it thoroughly into acetone. One of the biggest mistakes is not soaking the cotton enough which can lead to the gel polish not coming off completely. Acetone evaporates quickly so place the small cotton ball piece onto your nail doing your best to avoid your cuticles. Then, wrap your nail in foil tightly and soak for about 5-10 minutes. 

Soak it Off

4. Remove Gently

Gently remove the foil one finger at a time. If the gel polish is somewhat peeling off the nail, that means it's ready for the next part. But, if it's not, simply grab a fresh soaked acetone ball and place it on the nail for a few more minutes. We've found that for this next part, it's easiest if you place your hand flat on top of a towel. For the nails that are ready, there will be left over gel polish therefore start by using a cuticle pusher and gently push/ scrape away the gel towards the tip of your nail. NEVER, push backwards towards your cuticle as it can severely damage your nails and cuticle! If there's any stubborn excess base coat or polish, use a fine buffer to finish it off.

Remove Gently

 5. Repair

Acetone is a must use for gel polish but as great as it is for doing that, it also can be very drying. Hence, why we've used a coarse buffer to remove as much gel polish as possible and smaller cotton balls to prevent it from getting anywhere unnecessarily. Once all the polish is off, rinse your hands with soap and water. To finish, restore your nails and return much needed moisture by using a cuticle oil like CND's SolarOil. Brush onto cuticles and nails, and let them soak or rub your fingers.



 6. Clean up and ENJOY!

Be careful not to wash your acetone towel with any other clothes as it may damage or discolor them. Now that you've learned how to remove your gel polish, you won't be needing to go to the nail salon to have that part of the service done however, it is nice every once and awhile to treat yourself! 

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