Gel II Professional Steam Remover System – Video Demo & Review
Today 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.
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.
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.