If your gel polish is applied correctly, it should last at least two weeks without chipping or peeling. By this point you will visibly see the growth at the base of the nail, and it may be tempting to start to pick at your polish. You should NOT remove gel polish by peeling it off with your nails or teeth! Picking gel polish off will damage your nails and make them brittle because the top layer of your nail often peels off along with the polish.
Below is a step-by-step guide to removing your gel polish without damaging your nails.
You will need:
- A coarse nail file
- Aluminum foil cut into strips
- Gelish Soak Off Nail Remover (buy in bulk here) OR 100% acetone polish remover
- An orange stick or a cuticle pusher
- A buffing block
- Cuticle oil or hand moisturizer of your choice
- Roughen the surface of the nails using a coarse nail file. This helps break through the top coat to allow the remover to penetrate the layers of polish below.
- Soak a cotton ball with the acetone remover and place it on one of the fingernails.
- Wrap the finger with the cotton ball in foil, and squeeze it nice and tight so that the cotton ball stays in contact with the nail. Repeat steps 2 & 3 for each nail.
- Wait about 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the foil from one finger. (You should be able to visibly see the polish coming loose from the edges of the nail.) Push the polish off of the nail using your orange stick or cuticle pusher. Don’t use anything too sharp or you could remove the top layer of your nail. Repeat this step for each nail.
- Use your buffing block to smooth the surface of each nail and remove any remaining little bits of polish.
- Wash and moisturize your hands and nails.
- One cotton ball can go a long way. I like to rip a regular sized cotton ball into five pieces so that I only use one cotton ball per hand.
- If the polish doesn’t push off easily in step #5 above, continue soaking until it does. You shouldn’t have to chisel the polish off!
- Be very careful not to let pure acetone drip or spill as it will damage the finish of many surfaces, particularly wood.
- If you have trouble with removal, try applying heat during your soak-off with a heating pad or warming hand mitts.
Other helpful information: