Going for a gel manicure is one of the best ways to treat yourself. There’s nothing quite like going to a salon and relaxing while the manicurist works their magic on your hands. While classic manicures tend to chip in a few days, gel polish stays on for weeks, making it the perfect solution for vacations and daily life. One of the great and not so great things about gel polish is that it doesn’t come off with nail polish remover. Instead of heading back to the salon to get it removed, we’re showing you how to remove gel polish at home, the right way, so you don’t ruin your nails!
What is Gel Polish?
Gel polish offers a glossy, chip-free option for anyone who’s frustrated with their manicure getting chipped the first time they wash the dishes. You start with a base coat layer that primes your nails for the gel. The gel is a different type of polish than regular nail polish. Instead of air drying, it becomes firm under a UV light. After each coat is painted on, your hand goes under a UV light for 30 to 60 seconds. You typically do two coats of gel polish, followed by a glossy top coat, and voila, you have a long-lasting polish job!
Gel manicures typically last for two to three weeks, depending on how you treat your hands before and while you have the polish on. Gel polish can weaken your nail beds, but it’s mostly because of the removal process, which is why it’s extremely important to take care when you remove your gel polish at home.
How Can I Make My Gel Manicure Last Longer?
1. Keep Your Nails As Dry As Possible
While your gel nails won’t chip as easily as a regular polish manicure, you can make them last longer by keeping them as dry as possible. Make sure to take precautions such as wearing rubber gloves when you do the dishes or clean your house. When your nails get wet they expand, and when they dry they contract, which can cause your nails to chip. Taking these extra steps will ensure your gel manicure lasts as long as possible.
2. Invest In a Cuticle Oil
Cuticle oil can work wonders for your nails. In addition to hydrating your cuticles, it strengthens and conditions your nails, which keeps the polish from chipping, breaking and becoming brittle. You should be using cuticle oil at least once or twice daily, especially if you’re wearing gel polish.
3. Take a Break Between Gel Manicures
If you’re constantly getting your nails painted with gel polish, without any breaks in between, they’re more likely to become weak and brittle. Your gel polish will last longer if your nails are strong and healthy, and taking a break between manicures is one of the best ways to keep your nails in tip top shape.
4. Make Sure to File
If you’re nails are getting too long, growing unevenly or if you notice a snag on one of them, make sure to file them down. This prevents further chipping, splitting and tearing, which will not only wreck your manicure, but also damage your nails.
How to Remove Gel Polish At Home [5 Tips]
1. Resist the Urge to Peel
It can be tempting to peel your gel polish off, but resist the urge! Peeling gel off your nails can be extremely damaging to your natural nails. You end up peeling off the top layers of your nails themselves that can lead to brittle nails that weaken over time.
2. Start with a Nail File
If you’ve ever gotten your gel manicure removed at the salon, you probably noticed they file down your nails before starting the removal process. Grab a coarse nail file and gently sand down the top layer of gel polish. Don’t sand down all the polish – you just want to remove the shine and rough up the top coat.
3. How to Remove Gel Polish Without Acetone
There are many sources that will tell you to use acetone to remove your gel polish, but acetone can be bad for your nails and skin, so if you can remove your gel polish another way, it’s ideal. Wait at least two weeks before trying to remove your gel polish so that it has time to loosen and naturally chip off.
Once they’re chipped, you can lift up part of the gel nail with your fingernail or a pair of tweezers. Run your finger under lukewarm water and use a finger from your free hand to gently push the gel off your natural nail. Go slowly to do the least damage possible. If the polish won’t come off with water, cover your nail with olive oil or cuticle oil and try again. Use a nail file to buff off any remaining gel.
4. How to Remove Gel Polish Without Foil
Instead of using the foil method to remove nail polish (which also requires acetone), there is a soaking method that works. Fill a small bowl with warm water, dish soap and salt and soak your hands in the bowl for 15 to 20 minutes. If the water starts to cool down, make sure to refill it with warm water. Once the time is up, dab your hands with a towel to dry them. The soaking process will not take the gel off, but works to loosen it. Use the coarse side of your nail file to file down your nails until they come off. Repeat the process if they don’t easily come off the first time.
5. Use Cuticle Oil and Hand Cream
Once the removal process is over, you may notice your hands and nails are quite dry and cracked. Place cuticle oil on your nails and use a good moisturizer to hydrate your hands. Do this for several nights to make sure your nails are as healthy as possible.
Gel manicures are the best way to get gorgeous nails that don’t chip! Use our tips to make your gel polish last longer and remove it safely at home!