Every once in a while you may want to remove your gel nails or have a client that needs to take a “break”. Today I will cover the most effective way to remove you gel nails without compromising your nail health.
First off we are covering Gel Nails or Gel Polish. Not acrylic. The difference between gel polish and “gel nails” are pretty easy to determine. If you have long nails or went into the salon with short nails and came out with long ones you have gel nails. Also known as hard gel. Gel polish would not be strong enough to build out a nail or last very long if your nails have a lot of length.
So I will cover how to remove hard gel nails and gel polish.
Gel Nails or Hard Gel:
Of course I strongly recommend going into an experienced nail salon and have these removed professionally. But if this is not possible for you there is another option.
You will need a good nail file. These ones that I purchase from Amazon are my absolute fave. Granted, you may not need the whole pack but if you are looking for some amazing nail files these are them!
I would lay down a towel before you start because things are going to get dusty. Start with your thumb. Really, just because this is easier than starting with the pinky. I like to start buffing down the center of nail until I start to see the color disappear. Then I start down one side of the nail and then the other. Once you have three good stripes on the nail were the color has been filled off, you can continue to join the rest of the nail space up by filing the other parts. Ideally you should be filing down to a base coat of some sort. Once the color is removed. I would file your nail down the desired length. Now, if you weren’t able to grow long, strong, healthy nails before you had gel on, you are not going to be able to grow them after. So please keep that in mind when you choose your length. I recommend going quite short or “sporty” at this stage.
If all of your base coast is intact. I might recommend leaving them at this stage and letting them grow out. This will still give you a little added strength as you try to grow out the rest of the gel product. If you are having all sorts of lifting and there is really no good base coast to work with, I would VERY gently continue to file off the remaining gel being ever so careful not to over file your nail plate.
There are two different approaches when we are removing gel polish. The first one would be quite similar to that of removing hard gel. This will be a lot easier to remove than hard gel because there just simply isn’t as much product. So please be extra careful when filing off gel polish because it is a lot easier to over file due to the thinner product.
The second method is to soak them off using acetone. (This will not work on removing hard gels because the chemical make up just isn’t the same.) You will need acetone, a cuticle pusher, a nail file, paper towel and tin foil or some cute little gel polish remover caps. You can find these for quite cheap on Amazon.
Start by gently buffing off just the top coat. You actually don’t even need to buff off the topcoat completely, just enough to break the seal. If you are using tin foil and paper towel now is the time to cut out ten little squares of each. About 1.5 inches square. You would then fold the paper towel up into a smaller squares so it is big enough to cover your nail plate but not so big that you are wasting product. Now apply some acetone to your paper towel square. Place the soaked square on your nail and wrap with a tinfoil square, to lock everything in. If you are doing this to yourself i recommend only doing one hand at a time. Things might get a little tricky otherwise.
Let these nails soak for about ten to fifteen minutes. Once the time is up, do not remove all the tinfoil wraps at once. You will want to work on nail at a time or they will harden back up and you will have to start all over!
Remove your wrap and with your cuticle pusher, gently scrape the polish down the nail plate. This should be quite easy to do. It will feel soft and gummy. If not, you may need to let them soak for a little longer. Once you have scraped most of the product off you will be left with a little residue that will need to be gently buffed with your nail file.
The Finish Line:
I think by this point you will see why people pay good money to have other people remove gel nails for them. But as a nail tech, I don’t have anyone to do this for me so I must use these methods on myself. Also it is good to practice on yourself before you try to remove someones gel polish or hard gel.
After all is said and done and the gel is gone, your nails may feel a little vulnerable. Now is time to finish them. Either with a nourishing cuticle oil or a protein treatment. This will help maintain the integrity of your natural nail, plus it feels and looks so much better when done.
A good cuticle oil should bring them back to life. I have even used coconut oil before. But a lovely scented paraben free oil is great for the overall experience.
A great nail protein that I recommend is Nail Envy by OPI. This is applied like a nail polish. Takes a fraction of the time to dry and can be applied daily for up to one week. This is a lovely product that helps to protect and feed the nail after the enhancement is removed. Also a great up sell if you happen to have some in stock, It’s a great take away item after their service.
As with everything in life, practice makes perfect. So, if this seems like a daunting task at first, please don’t give up. It gets easier and a lot quicker as you progress.
If you need any pointers or have any questions removing your gel nail s please do not hesitate to ask. I love hearing from you. I hope you found this article helpful 🙂
Good luck out there,
Cheyanne / The Nail Lamp Tramp