How to Remove Gel Nail Polish

If you’re wondering how to remove gel nail polish at home, you’re in the right place.

Gel nail polish is more resilient than lacquer but less damaging than acrylic. This is why it’s become so popular.

But it’s advised to not leave your manicure on for more than two or three weeks. This can damage the nail bed, cuticles, and encourage bad bacteria. 

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to get to the salon to remove it. If you’ve thought about picking or scraping it off, don’t.

This will damage the nail bed. You might end up with weak, brittle, and broken nails. 

If you’re keen to remove your gel nail polish at home, these 8 steps will help. 

What This Article Covers:

Set Up Your Work Area

Before you get started, you need to set up your work area. It makes things easier to have everything on hand. 

how do you remove gel nail polish

You will need the following supplies:

  • Acetone (100% is best) 
  • Cotton (strips, balls, pads, etc)
  • Scissors
  • Plastic food wrap (i.e. cling wrap)
  • Vaseline
  • Washcloth
  • Towel
  • Cuticle oil/cream
  • Bowl
  • Nail file 

Acetone is powerful and can damage almost any surface. You’re going to have a tough time figuring out how to remove nail polish remover from a wooden table.

The best way to protect your work surface is to place plastic on it and then an old towel over that. 

Once your work area is set up, you can get started. 

Protect Your Cuticles 

As we said, acetone can damage almost anything, including your cuticles. This is why it’s not wise to use it to remove excess nail polish from cuticles.

Rub a thin layer of vaseline on your cuticles and the skin around it. This will protect it from acetone which can irritate the skin. 

Trim and File First

Working with short, neat nails is easier than long nails. Trim and shape your nails before you begin.

Gel polish is tough. This is why a gel manicure can last for three weeks or more. Use a coarse nail file to thin the top layer of gel polish. 

Remember to file gently and with a side-to-side motion. You don’t want to damage the nail plate underneath.

Soak Your Nails

Before you can soak your nails, you need to prepare your cotton. 

Cut the cotton to the shape of each nail. This reduces the risk of acetone getting onto your skin. You can then soak the cotton the acetone and place them on your nails. 

This is how to remove acrylic nails with acetone nail polish remover too.

Wrap each nail will plastic food wrap to keep the cotton in place. Remember, it shouldn’t cut off circulation, but it needs to be tight enough to not slip off. 

You can leave this on for 10 to 15 minutes.

Are you wondering how to remove gel nail polish at home without acetone? Our genius remover is great for both gel polish and removing lacquer nail polish.

remove gel nail polish

Remove the Gel

Once you’ve removed the plastic and cotton, most of the gel should come off too. 

If it doesn’t slide off, run the washcloth under warm water and gently rub it off. Alternatively, you can use a rubber-ended cuticle pusher. 

The most important thing to remember is to be gentle. Don’t use metal tools, as this can cause damage to now sensitive nail beds. Wooden tools are fine too but will need to be thrown out when you’re done. 

Wash Your Hands/Feet

Once all your nails are free of gel polish, wash your hands (or feet). You need to get all the acetone off to prevent irritation. 

Your nails and the skin around it will be sensitive after the acetone soak. Use a gentle or fragrance-free soap to avoid skin irritation. 

Be sure to moisturize your cuticles and nail beds for at least 7 days after. You can use vaseline or our argan oil cuticle drops to reduce any irritation caused by the acetone.

how to get gel nail polish off

Pamper Time

Your nails will be dry after the acetone soak. Acetone sucks the oils out of any surface, including your nails. Despite this, it’s the gentlest way to remove gel nail polish. 

If you want to restore health to your nails, soak your hands in warm water. Add a few drops of coconut or argan oil to the water and soak for 5 minutes. 

This will hydrate your nails and it’s good for your hands too. 

After you dry your hands, use our argan oil hand creme to lock in the moisture. This will rejuvenate both your nails and hands. 

gel nail polish remover

Take a Polish Break

It’s advised to give your nails a two-week break between gel manicures. This allows the nail bed to strengthen and recover. 

You can use oils or creams to speed up nail recovery. Or you can try our Strengthener nail polish if your nails are brittle. 

how to take off gel nail polish

Final Thoughts

When removing gel nail polish at home, it’s best to do it one hand at a time. That’s unless you have someone to help you, of course.

It might also be easier to do your dominant hand first. That way the most awkward part will be over first. 

Make sure you work in a well-ventilated space. Acetone is potent and the smell can irritate your sinuses. 

Most importantly, take your time. You don’t want to risk damaging the nail bed.

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