Given the fact that many cities and salons are still in the process of reopening, you may have to postpone your trip to the salon in order to have your gel polish removed. That means (quite literally) that it’s time to take matters into your own hands in order to avoid further delay.
The temptation to pick, rip, or bite off the polish is usually the first at-home “solution” that comes to mind when dealing with a nail polish problem. Although it’s a strong (and strangely satisfying) urge, you should refrain from acting on it.
The good news is that you can remove a gel manicure at home without having to visit a salon — and without damaging your nails in the process. “While the most effective method of safely removing gel polish will take some time and patience, it will help to keep your nails in good shape,” Saulsbery explains. In order to learn more, we spoke with nail professionals about the best ways to remove gel polish at home without completely ruining your nails.
Take the following steps to Remove Gel Nail Polish
Using only one hand at a time when removing gel nail polish from your fingernails will make the process go more smoothly. Another option is to have someone else take care of the polish removal for you.
Whether you are removing gel nail polish from your fingernails or toenails, the following are the steps to take:
- Use petroleum jelly to coat each cuticle and the surrounding skin with a thin layer of protection. Your skin will benefit from this as it will be more resistant to the acetone.
2. The cotton balls or strip should be cut to the length of each nail. Acetone can cause skin irritation if it comes into contact with cotton that is approximately the same size as each nail. When acetone is left on your skin for an extended period of time, it can irritate and damage your skin.
Generally speaking, the nails on your pinkie fingers (5th finger) or little toes require approximately 14 of a cotton ball to be filed down. You can use a quarter of a cotton ball to cover each of the other nails.
3. Acetone should be applied to each piece of cut cotton.
4. Place each piece of soaked cotton on top of the nail that was cut to fit it, and wrap the nail in plastic food wrap to keep it from falling off. You’re looking for a secure seal. Try not to wrap your nails so tightly that you end up cutting off your blood flow.
5. Allow for a 10-minute resting period under the plastic wrap. When you remove the plastic wrap from the gel nail polish, you should notice that most or all of the gel nail polish has been removed.
6. Remove any remaining gel nail polish with a washcloth that has been soaked in warm water for a few seconds. Remove any remaining polish by gently rubbing it off with a wet washcloth. Make sure to only rub the nail and not the surrounding skin when rubbing the nail.
7. Hands and feet should be washed with a mild soap and water to remove the acetone residue. Use a fragrance-free soap if you have one on hand. Any mild soap will assist you in avoiding irritation of the skin.
8. Every day for the next seven days, gently massage petroleum jelly into your cuticles and the skin around your nails with your fingertips. This will assist in reducing any irritation that may have been caused by the acetone.