Gel II Professional Steam Remover System – Video Demo & Review

gel-ii-steamerToday I have a video demo and review of my experience with the Gel II Steam Gel Remover.  I first learned about this product back in July at the Cosmoprof trade show and was super excited to finally see a two-handed steamer!  The Gel II Steam Remover is a gadget that heats up acetone (70% or higher) in a chamber that you place your nails into, and the vapor loosens your gel polish or enhancements for removal.

Features of the Gel II Steam Gel Remover:

  • Two-handed unit
  • Digital display
  • Timer:  the unit beeps when ready, at the 5 minute mark and again at the 10 minute mark
  • Removable parts for easy sanitation

Below is a video demo that shows how the steamer works.  Ideally your gel polish should steam off in about 10 minutes, but you’ll see in the demo that it sometimes (usually) takes longer.

In the salon we mostly work with gel polish and I provide a lot of gel removal services.  I was eager to test this product to see if it would be a more efficient solution for gel polish removal than the foil & cotton method.  My normal method is to break the seal of the top coat with a coarse file, and then wrap each finger in cotton that’s soaked in acetone with foil.  I then have my clients place their hands in heated mitts which helps to speed up the process.  After 5-10 minutes the polish is usually ready to be pushed off.  So how did it compare?…


I timed my normal process from start to finish and on average it took 15-18 minutes.  That includes wrapping, unwrapping, pushing, buffing, etc.

With the steamer all you have to do is turn on the unit and let it warm up, prep the nails by breaking through the top coat with a file, insert your fingers into the unit and wait.  I was really hoping that this would be a time saver, but the average time was 22-25 minutes, and as much as 30 minutes on one client.  In most cases I had to run the clients through two 10-minute cycles of steaming to get the polish to loosen enough to be pushed off.  The results did vary depending on brand.

One other time factor with the steamer is sanitation.  I take apart and disinfect the unit with a hospital-grade disinfectant after each use which adds another few minutes to the mix.  With the traditional method, I just throw out the cotton and foil and move on to the next step.

Product Use:

The ads that I’ve seen for the steamer say that it uses less acetone than the traditional cotton & foil method.  Each compartment requires 5mL of acetone or Gel II Remover for a total of 10mL.  This also did not prove to be true since I  measured my acetone usage at 6-7mL with the foil method.  I take a cotton ball and rip it into 3 pieces and then using a pump bottle I soak the cotton pieces, so each piece gets 3 pumps of liquid.


The Gel II Steam Remover retails for $169, which is cheaper than having to buy two of the alternate one-handed steamers.  I charge $10 for removal services so it would take me approximately 17 services to pay for the steamer (actually more if you factor in the cost of acetone).  Over a period of time that could save money in foil & cotton, but I just think those products are so cheap that cost isn’t a primary concern.

Other Observations:

Many times my clients’ nails seemed to be softer and more pliable when using the steam method, which isn’t ideal.

A few clients complained that it was uncomfortable sitting with their hands in the unit unable to move for so long.


I still prefer the traditional cotton and foil method over the steamer for professional use since the steamer didn’t prove to be as efficient. However, I do like the steamer for at-home use since it’s a total pain in the you-know-what to wrap your own nails with cotton and foil.  But the product is meant and marketed for professional use.

I think the steamer would be great for removal of acrylic enhancements, but I wasn’t able to test this since the salon that I work in only provides natural nail services.  In the past I found the foil method to be a sticky mess with acrylics.  If anyone else has tried the steamer with acrylics please let us know how it worked for you in the comments.

Visit the Gel II website for more information about the Steam Gel Remover.

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41 Responses

  1. Anna says:

    Thank you so much for this informative post! How does this unit compare to Painted Nail Steam off? I just ordered it and I’m thinking about cancelling the order

  2. Anna says:

    How long was the gel polish on for? I noticed that most gel polishes start sticking like cement past 2 weeks of wear. Except Shellac. That one (base/color/top- the full system cured in CND LED lamp) comes off in 10 min (still, not 5 like their advertise with the new top coat)

  3. Artie Med says:

    I have the one handed Steam Off. I recently discovered that soak off times are much better (10 mins) and removal much easier(no scraping) if you don’t file the top coat at all prior to soaking. Also for some reason OPI Expert Touch remover works much better for me better than pure acetone. FYI I wear most manicures for 2-3 weeks.

  4. Leslie Ann says:

    Andrea, which brand of heated mitts do you use? And where can I buy them. I was putting my hands under a heating pad, but it’s less than ideal. I always have a hard time removing the gels, and follow the instructions…my nails just like it I guess.

  5. Leslie Ann says:

    Another quick question, do you think the foil/cotton method might work better than the Nailmates, or maybe I really just need the mitts. The heating pad did make it a bit better.

    • Anna says:

      I used Nailmates couple times and I hate it :( I so wanted to love it! I find the foil/cotton method works better because the remover does not evaporate and the foil keeps the nails wrapped and warmer. I use heating pad on top of the nails. It really helps.

      • Leslie Ann says:

        Anna, what size do you cut/tear your foil? I’ll try anything to make it easier. I love the gels, but the removal is taking away that love.

        • Anna says:

          Hi Leslie, I tear the foil into 3 inch squares (so roughly I tear off 3 inch strip that I divide into 4 pieces). The wrapping takes me 2-3 minutes. I start counting when I wrap the first nail. After I finish wrapping all 10 I place heating pad on the nails. I start removing at 10 minute mark and it takes me about extra 5 min to push off gel polish and clean off the nail. So all together 15 min.

      • KD says:

        I ended up buying 10 silicone fingertip covers at Walmart for $3 in the office section… I love them. Way better than Nail Mates: no stink, no pink residue, and they stay on my nails easily since they are round instead of rectangular.

    • Andrea says:

      I find them to work about the same.

    • Saskia says:

      It’s strange how opinions and experiences differ. Since Andrea had the review of NailMates (I think about 2 years ago now) I only use NailMates and much prefer them over regular foil. Especially because it is less time consuming to just put on the NailMates and if they fall off, no problem just put them back on.

      • Andrea says:

        I like NailMates for home use too. Buying refills of the pads at the salon is just too costly for me, so I use the foil method there.

        • Leslie Ann says:

          I loved the nail mates as well, but I’m having so much trouble removing the gel, that I thought foil would be, at the very least, a try for me. The very first time I had gels put on was at a nail salon. I didn’t file the tops to take it off at home, I didn’t know to do that and it came off so well. I’m just going to try everything I can think of, b/c I love the gel polish and am finally getting the hang of thinner coats and a smooth top coat. THANKS ANDREA for all you offer us in the way of help and advice.

  6. Anna says:

    ps. I use Shellac so no buffing of the top coat necessary. I love that part.

  7. Sharon says:

    What a wonderful review! You are thorough with your information!!

  8. KArmen says:


  9. Cat says:

    Thank you was putting in my order tomorrow.

  10. Saskia says:

    Thanks Andrea for this great review. A while ago our online store was contacted by a local supplier of a similar product, but they wanted 100 units as wholesale order. Getting it from the US would have meant our pricing to the end user would be higher. Too be honest, I just don’t see, even if this worked great that our customers would spend this amount of money on the product, which is why we decided against it at the time. It was a good decision, because it seems the steamer is not that great ?

  11. Tiffany says:

    I love the steamer for removing my nail enhancements. I can normally steam them off in about 20 minutes which is awesome timing for acrylic enhancement removal.

  12. Lucky Lucy Ricardo says:

    Does this steamer work on acrylics and acrygel applications as well ? Thank you! ?

  13. Lucky Lucy Ricardo says:

    Good to hear that it works. Thank you so much!

  14. Rony says:

    Hi Andrea!
    First of all, thank you so much for this amazing blog, I’m addicted ;)
    I wanted to ask you, have you ever tried using your LED lamp to remove the gel polish?
    A nail technician told me that she uses the cotton-foil method, and then instead of waiting 15 minutes, the client puts her hands in the machine for a normal curing time (30-60 sec), and the gel polish comes of as easily as when soaked for 15 minutes!
    Do you know anything about it?

  15. kim says:

    thanks for sharing. takes way to long for myself. I like both of these methods. they work great. in both cases I soak a small piece of cotton worth acetone and wrap in foil. Then I either use my old UV lamp to remove gel polish. I’m usually prepping one hand while the other is in the lamp. takes about 6 to 8 minutes. The other way is take the wrapped fingers , put the hand in a small bag and insert hands in a warming mitt. this method takes about 6 or 7 minutes. some clients like the mitts if it’s cold out or if their hands hurt. With the second method, you can also put a heavy cream on their hands and rub it in. try to avoid the nail plate, if you happen to get lotion on a nail, just cleanse it with alcohol or whatever cleanser you use. both work great.

  16. Marna says:

    Hi where can I buy the double steam off in South Africa?

  17. Lilibeth Torres says:

    Hello you are used this product to remove acrylic? This work for remove acrylic

  18. Lynda says:

    I have a question. I see that you use different gel polishes. Do you use only the gel led light recommended for the different polishes or do you use one gel led light for all. Also, can you use the Gelish 18 Plus led light for CND Shellac or will only the CND led light cure shellac?