Have you noticed your gel nail polish chipping or lifting already? It's time to remove it and give your nails some breathing room. But before you make that nail salon appointment, consider DIY-ing the process instead. It's cheaper and, honestly, quite fuss-free. Here's what you need to know about removing gel nail polish at home — the right way.
What you need to remove gel nail polish at home
There are five key things you need for the actual removal: nail polish remover (preferably the acetone variant), some aluminium foil from the pantry, cotton balls, a cuticle scraper, and a nail file or buffer. Most of these items should be in your at-home nail care kit.
How to remove gel nail polish: a guide
Step 1: Soak your nails in warm water
Before you pick up any tool, soak your fingers in some warm water for 10 to 15 seconds. This will soften your nails and the gel polish, making it easier to remove.
Step 2: Lightly file down the gel nail polish
Using the rough side of your nail file or buffer, gently file down your existing gel nail polish so the shiny gel top coat is mostly removed. The top coat is made from a hardy, impermeable material that keeps your gel polish's colour intact. Keep the nail file or buffer parallel to the nail. Be careful not to file all of the nail polish down since you can damage your nail bed. Filing also helps the acetone penetrate deeper and faster.
Step 3: soak the nail polish in acetone
Soak a small piece of cotton in nail polish remover, ensuring that it's big enough to cover the entire nail and saturated with enough of the remover. Snugly wrap your fingers with a small piece of aluminium foil. Keep it on for 10 to 20 minutes and let the acetone do its thing. The aluminium foil traps heat that speeds up the breakdown of the gel nail polish.
Step 4: Scrape off the gel polish
After removing the foil and cotton balls, use your cuticle scraper or stick to gently scrape off the gel polish. If you've soaked your nails long enough, the gel nail polish should be a little flaky by this point and easy to come off. It can take a few more soaks and scraping if you use hard gel, such as the ones used in gel nail extensions.
Step 5: Apply some nail and cuticle oil
Your nails would be very dry after being under gel nail polish for a few weeks, so moisturise them with a nail cuticle oil. Doing so can also help prevent any yellowing. Don't forget to apply some hand cream too.
When your nails have fully rested, try doing a DIY French manicure.
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