Gel nails are trending these days. They provide one with long lasting chip free manicures that promise to last several weeks. Well, my experience with gel manicures has not been so nice the several times I have tried it.
Here’s the truth about gel nail polish manicures:
• Gel nail manicures chip. The longest mine lasted was a mere three days. My manicurist followed the entire process of even setting my hands under UV light! I went back and that also lasted three days. Worse than my regular nail polish.
• They are more than three times expensive than your normal spa manicure. If they don’t last you long enough, then it might really not be worth it.
• The process of removing your gel manicure at the salon is an additional expense as you have to pay for it.
The good news is that there are ways you can easily remove your gel nails at home and save your money for something else. Gel manicure should come off easily with no forceful scraping. If you realize you are forcing the product out, then it means there is something you are doing wrong.
Removing gel nails with acetone
What you will need
• Aluminum foil
• High-grit buffer
• Acetone (real acetone)
• Nail file
• Cotton balls
What to do
Start by filing your nails. Use a coarse nail file so that you scratch the surface. Make sure you break through the clear top coat so that you get to the gel polish beneath. Don’t overdo. If you file too much, you may end up irritating the nail bed. Just file enough so that the acetone can seep in.
Take your cotton balls and tear them in half so that you have 10 pieces. Soak them in acetone and lay them round your nails. Take your aluminum foil and cut it in squares big enough to wrap around every nail. Wrap a foil around each nail so that you hold the cotton ball in place and give your nails about 15 minutes. The aluminum foil is simply holding the cotton ball in place so that you don’t soak your entire finger but only the plate of the nail.
The foil will also help in trapping your body heat thus speed up the entire process. Do not use an alternative for the aluminum foil such as a plastic wrap as the acetone will melt it. If you want to still do some work, wrap pointy tips at the end of each finger. This way, you can still type on your keyboard as you wait for the acetone to soak. Ensure you protect the area around your nails with some Vaseline so that the acetone does not weaken it.
When you start removing the cotton balls and the foil, the gel polish should easily fall off. Avoid scrapping any remaining gel polish on your nails. If you find the gel is difficult to remove, dip the cotton balls again in acetone and repeat the entire process.
This method will take longer and will need some elbow grease, but it works wonders especially if you don’t have any cotton balls or foil at hand. Take two bowls from your kitchen, one bigger than the other. Fill the bigger bowl with some warm water and put the smaller one inside then pour in some acetone.
Since acetone is highly flammable, do not heat it in the stove or microwave. As the solution warms, buff your manicures surfaces with a coarse nail file. When done, place your hands in the acetone and let the gels gradually soak off. Within 10-15 minutes, you will start noticing the corners becoming loose. As your nails steep in the acetone, grab an orange wood stick and slowly start loosening the gel on each nail until it’s removed completely. Do the same for the other hand and finish off with a generous amount of hand cream and cuticle oil.
Removing Gel Nail Polish Without Acetone
File and buff your gel nails
Begin by trimming your nails so that they are smaller in size. This will make the surface area you will need to remove the gel nails smaller. Use a pair of small scissors or nail trimmers to make your nails shorter. Avoid getting close to the nail bed as this may cause bleeding which you really don’t want.
After you have trimmed your nails, file any sharp edges down so that they are smooth. A rougher file will get the snagged edges off quickly and then with a fine line, finish smoothing the edges.
Peel off the gel nails
Sometimes, you realize that some chipping has occurred so you can peel off the nail polish instead of filing and buffing. If the nails have not started to peel off by themselves, you can use an orange stick or cuticle stick to try get underneath the gel polish and lift it up. Do not dig too hard. You can use some olive oil to make this process easier.
Be very keen when pulling at chipped ends and also peeling off the gel polish. If you pull hard, you may end up hurting your natural nails.
Soaking your gel nails may make the process easier
If you realize you are having lots of trouble getting off your gel manicure by buffing, peeling or lifting, then consider taking some time to soak your nails first. Fill a small bowl with water and pour some little bit of dish soap in the water. Alternatively, put a teaspoon of salt in every bowl. You will need a watch to time yourself (15-20 minutes) and a clean towel cloth. When the time is over, dry your hands and continue with filing, buffing and peeling to remove the nail polish.
Once you have completely removed all the gel color, you will be left with some bit of spotty clear layer. This is the point of contact between the primer and the first clear coat and it does not come off easily.
Wash your hands thoroughly and then using a buffer, smooth it all off.
After you have finally removed your gel nails, moisturize your hands. Your nails need to remain moisturized all the time.