I love Gel Nails, but it is a MUST that they be removed correctly. Once the gel polish starts to lift or chip, it is soooo tempting to want pick the polish off. Should you be tempted to remove the polish improperly, you could damage your nail.
(See, I've already sacrificed one of my nails. Don't do this to yours. :) )
Removing Gel Nails at home is really quite simple. There are a few items you will need:
- Pure Acetone
- Cotton Balls or Cotton Squares
- Orange Stick (used to push your cuticles back)
- 10- 2.5"x2.5" squares of Aluminum foil (I prefer heavy duty as it holds it's shape a bit tighter once the nail is wrapped, but the regular will work too. Also, the measurements don't have to be exact, but this size works best for me.)
Ready to remove the color.
Dampen 1/2 a cotton ball or 1/2 a cotton square with acetone. This doesn't need to be dripping with acetone, but it needs to be completely saturated.
Place the aluminum foil on top of the cotton covered nail. Make sure the aluminum foil is placed so the corners are pointing north, south, east, west. This will give you the longest area of the foil to wrap around your nail.
Turn your hand over and wrap the foil around your finger.
Bend the top of the foil towards the back of your finger. Turn your hand over and give the foil a small squeeze just under the cotton, about where your first knuckle is located. This helps the foil from coming loose.
Depending upon the brand of Gel Polish the "soak" or removal time will differ. I've been using the Sally Hansen Salon Pro Gel Polish and I usually let it soak for 4-5 minutes. I always want to minimize the amount of time my skin comes in contact with the acetone, so that is why I start checking sooner than suggested. To remove the foil I don't unwrap it, I just slide it off my finger. Usually the polish starts looking something like this ...
There will be areas that have completely lifted so the polish is gone and then there will be some areas that are still attached to the nail. Take the orange stick (or a just use a finger nail on your other hand, assuming it's not wrapped in foil) and GENTLY scrape away the polish.
If you still have polish remaining, do not force it loose from the nail. Just reuse the foil wrap to soak your nails again. You might need to add a little more acetone to the cotton.
It may take a few times for the nail polish to completely release from the nail. The important thing is DON'T RUSH. You can damage and weaken your nail should the polish be removed incorrectly.
Ta-da! Perfectly removed polish. Once the polished is removed wash your hands. Moisturize your cuticles and nails (plain Vitamin E Oil works wonders) and use a heavy hand cream (L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream is one of my favorites).
Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions about this process!