VIDEO: How to Remove Gel Nail Polish from Home

At the request of many, I created a short video that shows how to remove gel polish using the foil method.  In general, the longer you soak, the easier the removal will be.  Let your nails soak for 10-15 minutes before checking on them and then scrape off what you can with an orange stick.  If your polish doesn’t come off easily, put the foil back on and soak longer.  You don’t want to damage your nails by scraping with force to remove gel polish that’s still stuck on the nail.

You can read my previous article about how to remove gel polish here.

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12 Responses

  1. Jenifer says:

    Hey Andrea! I stumbled upon this website that mentioned using those rubber finger things you can get at office supply stores instead of foil. I found some at Walmart and just tried them this past weekend. They worked BETTER than the foil and I did less scraping with the orange stick afterwards than usual! And I didn’t have to fumble with trying to cut and wrap foil and try to keep it on. So messy.

    You just put some remover on a cotton ball, put it on your fingernail, and slide your finger into the rubber thing. Make sure a bit of the cotton ball overlaps the tip of your finger or else the cotton slides off when you slide your finger in. You also need to make sure the small holes in the rubber are located at the pad of your finger and not over the nail or the remover leaks out. Then wait as long as you usually do.

    The hard part is picking out the right size tip to use for your fingers. I bought a few boxes of the multiple sizes and picked out a handful that worked. My pinky finger fit into the smallest one. Then I took the ones I used when I was done and set them aside so I can reuse them next time.

    Here’s a link to where I first read about it so that they can take credit for it since it wasn’t my idea:

  2. Lena says:

    Hi. What colour do you have on your nails in this video?

    • Andrea says:

      Good question. I think it might be Ink Denim.

      • Lena says:

        Thanks for your reply.
        Is it as good as Gelish and Scellac? I only use these 2 brands so don’t know anything about Ink gels. And what would be most similar colour to this from Gelish/Shellac range?
        Regards, Lena.

  3. Casey says:

    Hi Andrea! I’ve been using the Gelish Mini system for over a year now, and for some reason, the removal process has gotten more and more difficult for me. I use the foil soak-off method: buff the top coat, soak a cotton ball in 100% acetone, wrap the nail, and let it soak for about 15 minutes. But when I remove the foil, nothing has “lifted” off the nail like I’ve seen it do in all of the demo videos–it hasn’t even budged. I have to forcefully scrape off the wet polish with another fingernail or a cuticle pusher, and the gel polish disintegrates/comes off in teeny-tiny little specks, not flaky sheets like it’s supposed to. I’ve tried soaking it longer, I’ve used the Gelish remover, I’ve tried adding a little heat, and it still doesn’t come off without major scraping–which I know is damaging to my nails. For the prep, I do a dry manicure, then I use the Gelish cleanser, pH bond, FingerPaints Chip-Free bonder on the tips (I have flaky nails and gel polish tends to peel/chip at the tips in just a few days without this additional step), then Gelish Foundation, Gelish color, and Gelish TopCoat. I cure each step for 30 seconds, sometimes 60 seconds for darker colors. My lamp is OPI’s LED lamp. Do you have any ideas as to what might be causing the removal to be so difficult for me? Thanks for any advice! I LOVE your blog!

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Casey. Are you sure you need the chip-free bonder? I’ve found that any time I use bonders the polish is almost impossible to get off. It could also be that your nails are very dehydrated which causes a better bond also.

  4. Leslie says:

    Hi Andrea! Same thing happens to me, my sister and mom. Should we skip the Gelish ph bond? We aren’t using anything else before foundation besides ph.

  5. Debbie Grant says:

    Hi Andrea, I am having the same issues with removal of Gelish. I follow all steps outlined in The a gelish product information without any additional products etc and find the gelish crumbles and is very difficult to remove. Do you find Gelish lifts easily in one or two full pieces like the Ink gel polish used in your video. Thanks for any advice you can give!! Debbie

    • Andrea says:

      Gelish is more difficult to remove than the Ink brand. I usually file it down really well before soaking to speed up the process. You can also apply heat during the soak-off to aid in removal.

  6. Heather says:

    Hi Andrea!

    I LOVE your site! My husband bought me the red carpet manicure set for Christmas and I have been doing my own nails ever since (and a few friends). I am having the same problem with removal. My application process is as follows:
    1. buff nail
    2. wipe w/ cleanser or alcohol.
    3. Use the RCM Prep
    4. 1 coat RCM structure
    5. color/nail art (2-3 coats max pending on color)
    6. 1 coat RCM Brilliance

    It takes so long, sometimes close to an hour, to get all of the gel polish off my nails! Do you think it could be that I don’t need the “Prep”? I’ve tried both the cotton & foil methods and the nail mates. I have better luck with the nail mates, but I notice I am constantly scraping & resoaking..

    My best friend bought me full size bottles of gelish foundation, PH bonder, Top it Off and the cuticle oil. Hopefully this is easier to remove.

    Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!!

    • Andrea says:

      Hi Heather. For removal, do more than just buff the top of the nail – really file it down without hitting your nail plate. That will speed things up. Also check that you are using pure acetone or that your acetone hasn’t evaporated – buy a new bottle. You can also try applying heat during your soak off to speed things up. Since you are having such a hard time, don’t use the prep or a primer.