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How To Remove Gel Nail Polish At Home

It has been a long day at work. You’ve been battling to meet deadlines, attend conferences, and deal with people who aren’t exactly your favorite. What better way to de-stress than to get your nails done? Sitting back and relaxing, while your nails look aesthetically pleasing in a pastel blue shade by the end of it – sounds amazing, doesn’t it? Now let’s fast forward to about two weeks later when the gel starts to chip off. From personal experience, I know that you wouldn’t want to waste a trip to the salon just to get the polish removed. Have no fear, for I am here to tell you how to safely remove gel polish right in the comfort of your own home.

How To Remove Gel Nail Polish With Acetone?

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Check out the two ways in which you can remove gel nail polish at home.

The Foil Method

This method involves covering your nails with a cotton ball soaked in acetone and putting a foil over it. This is the safest way and the most popular one as well. If you’ve ever been to a salon to get it removed, you will notice that they do the same thing!

You Will Need

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  • 10-15 cotton balls
  • 10-15 strips of aluminum foils (big enough to wrap around your fingers)
  • Pure acetone
  • Gritty nail file
  • Orange stick
  • Petroleum jelly

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish by Foil Method?

Step 1: Remove Top Shiny Coat

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The first thing you have to do is remove the top shiny coat, which is what keeps the paint from chipping. You have a better chance of removing the polish once this layer is gone. Grab a gritty nail file and buff away the top coat. You should have nails that look nearly matte and rough. Do not file beyond the top coat as you may come too close to your real nail and damage it.

Step 2: Apply Petroleum Jelly

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Apply petroleum jelly to the skin around the nails. This helps to protect the skin from the strong acetone.

Step 3: Place The Cotton Ball Over Nail

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Douse a cotton ball in acetone, and be generous about it! This is what will help the gel polish to flake off. Make sure the acetone is 100% pure, as it is the most effective. Place the cotton ball over the nail completely.

Step 4: Wrap The Aluminium Foil 

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Wrap the cut pieces of aluminum foil over the cotton balls. The foil will help to keep the acetone from evaporating and will soak into the gel polish. Now you must wait for about 30 minutes. Yes, it is a time-consuming process, but hey, you got to enjoy your gel manicure for two weeks, didn’t you? Be patient and relax or watch a movie during this time.

Step 5: Check Whether The Polish Is Come Off

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After 30 minutes, check to see if the polish is flaking off. You can use either an orange stick or your nail to check. Slightly start pushing at the end of the polish. In case you find that some areas aren’t flaking off, soak it again for an additional 10 minutes. This should be enough time for the polish to come off.

Step 6: Clean And Wash Your Hands

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Clean any leftover polish and wash your hands with soap to get rid of the acetone on your fingers. Trust me; you do not want to walk around like that, lest you wanna catch fire! Acetone is highly inflammable so make sure to store it away in a cool and dry place. Once you are done, apply a nail oil or cream to protect the nail, as it may look dry.

The Soaking Method

This process takes longer and is not as preferable, as it involves directly soaking your fingers in acetone. It still works the same, and you do not need the foils or the cotton balls.

You Will Need

  • One large bowl
  • One medium bowl
  • Pure acetone
  • Gritty nail file
  • Orange stick
  • Petroleum jelly

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish by Soaking Method?

Step 1: Pour Acetone Into Warm Water

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Fill the bigger bowl with warm water. Ensure that it is only warm and not hot. Keep the acetone away from extreme heat as it is highly inflammable. Pour the acetone into the medium bowl and place it into the bigger bowl to achieve a double boiler effect, and leave it for 3-5 minutes.

Step 2: Buff Away The Top Coat

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In the meantime, much like the previous method, you must buff away the top coat layer with a gritty nail file. Once you are done, it should look matte. Coat the skin around the nails in petroleum jelly to protect the skin.

Step 3: Soak Fingers In Warm Acetone

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Place your fingers in the warm acetone, and soak them for about 10-15 minutes or till the polish begins to flake off.

Step 4: Remove The Edge of Flaking Polish

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Use an orange stick or your nails to push at the edge of the flaking polish. It should easily come off. If it is still stubborn, you may soak them for a while longer.

Step 5: Clean And Wash Your Hands

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Clean up any leftover polish and wash your hands with soap to completely remove the acetone on your fingers. Your nails will probably look and feel dry at this point, so make sure to use nail cream and cuticle oil. Removing gel nail polish with acetone can be a tedious task.

You can also remove gel nails without acetone, but I would not recommend that. However, if you are desperate and are prepared for the nail damage, then proceed with caution.

How to Remove Gel Nail polish Without Acetone?

1. File Them Off

  • Cut your nails so that they are short and manageable.
  • Using a coarse grit nail file, file your nails down slowly. Keep blowing the dust away to check how far away you are from your natural nail. You wouldn’t want to cause any damage.
  • Once you almost reach your natural nail, switch over to a softer nail file. This is not as harsh and prevents your nails from getting too damaged. Again, take your time with the filing process to make sure you aren’t filing off your real nail.
  • Once you file off all of the gel polish, wash your nails with soap. Make sure to apply some oil all over the nails to provide maximum nourishment. They desperately need them after all that filing.

2. Soak and Peel Them Off

This is another technique which is highly unadvisable but if you don’t have any other option, do it carefully.

  • Soak your nails in warm water, or you can just start the process after taking a hot shower.
  • While your nails are still wet, use a cuticle stick to push back the polish near a chipped edge.
  • It should be pretty easy to peel them off at this point.
  • Peel off as much as you can, and if there are any parts that are stubborn, file them off.

Tip: If the gel nails are not peeling off quickly, don’t attempt it! You might peel off your real nail.

There you go! Two sure shot methods to safely remove a gel manicure. Now you no longer have to break your schedule, waste time and money, and go all the way to the salon to get the gel polish removed. Now that you know how to take off gel nail polish, what are you waiting for? Okay, now I’m going to go and schedule a gel manicure for myself, and so should you!


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