A Manicurist's Tips For Removing a Gel Manicure
Tempting as it may be, picking off gel polish is a big no-no — especially when it's possible to safely remove your gel manicure in the comfort of your own home. You can either grab a ready-made set like the Orly Gel Removal Kit ($20, originally $25), or you can pick up all the essentials — at least 10 foils, acetone, a buffer block or nail file, cotton balls, and manicure sticks — to DIY. Celebrity nail artist Elle breaks down the process in full.
Step 1: Choose Your Removal Method
There are two at-home removal options: soak your nails in acetone for an extended period of time, or wrap them with acetone-soaked cotton balls and foil.
Step 2: Gather Your Tools
For the first method, grab a bowl big enough to fit all 10 fingers with acetone and fill it with warm water and acetone. For the latter option, lay out your 10 foils, 10 cotton balls, and acetone. Both require a nail file.
Step 3: Let the Acetone Soak Off the Color
Gently file the top layer of your nail polish to remove the top coat and prep it for easy removal. For the soak process, dip your fingers in the acetone bowl for 10 minutes. If you want a little more mobility, apply the acetone-soaked cotton ball to each nail and then wrap them with foil. Leave the foil on for 15 minutes.
Step 4: Remove the Gel
Using a wooden cuticle stick, gently push the polish off your nails. (Note that if the coat of color doesn't easily scrape off, that means you need to soak it for longer.) This process can be a tad drying, so finish off each nail with a drop of cuticle oil.