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Tips & Tricks: How-to Remove a Gel Manicure at Home by Skyy Hadley

We all love a gel manicure; you don't have to worry about smudges, because it dries instantly when cured, it lasts a very long time and looks ultra glossy, and two weeks later, your gel mani looks as fresh and new as the day you got it. Then comes the removing your gel mani. Since it's a longer process than just using nail polish remover, we can sometimes get impatient, and may try removing the gel the wrong way. A way that is very hurtful to the health of our nails.

Skyy Hadley, owner of As U Wish Nail Salon, says, "It’s important to take your time when removing a gel manicure yourself, as it can be a slow process and you want to treat your nails very delicately and carefully to avoid weakening them." She provides the following tips and a step-by-step tutorial to safely remove your own gel manicure:

  • File – Use an emery board to lightly buff each nail to remove the shiny top coat so you’re left with a powdery finish. Be careful not to over buff so you don’t hit your natural nail underneath the gel.
  • Soak – Next you must soak your nails in 100% acetone polish remover. To do this, take a piece of cotton ball the size of your nail and pour the acetone on it, place it on your nail and cover your nail with a piece of aluminum foil or tape to keep it in place. Do this on every nail and let soak for 15 minutes to relax the gel.
  • Remove – Remove the cotton pieces from your nails and take a wooden cuticle stick to push the gel polish off your nails. If you have trouble, instead of forcing it, soak your nails with a cotton ball for 5 more minutes and try again.
  • Moisturize – After the gel has been removed, wash your hands and apply a cuticle oil to the nail and cuticle. This will rehydrate your nails after using acetone on them to keep them strong and healthy between polishes.

Do not under any circumstances try peeling off your gel mani. By peeling off a gel manicure, you are not only removing the gel, but also the top layers of your nails. This can result in white patches and textural irregularities throughout the nails.


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