How to Remove Gel Nail Polish The Right Way

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If you’ve ever had gel nails, then you know just how long-lasting and resilient they are. There’s a reason why gel manicures have been growing in popularity amongst women around the world. But there’s also a method to removing them safely, too.

Here’s your step-by-step guide to removing your gel nail polish using acetone nail polish remover:

You’ll need:

A nail file

100% acetone nail polish remover

Cotton balls or pads

Aluminum foil cut into 10 squares (enough for each finger)

Cuticle oil, hand cream or body lotion

1. Start by cutting and filing your nails. Gently buff away the shine from your manicure using a nail file. This will give the acetone something to cling to when you soak your nails. Give each nail about 10 strokes with the file on each side. Don’t press down hard; instead, glide the file across the surface of each nail gently.

The Right Way

Gel nail polish is the most durable of all types of nail polish. In order to remove gel polish, you need to soak the nails in acetone. This is why removing gel polish can cause more damage than any other type of nail polish.

Soak Off

To properly soak off gel nail polish, you need to have 100% acetone, foil and cotton balls. Soak a cotton ball in acetone and place it on your nail. Wrap your finger in foil so the cotton ball stays put and so no acetone evaporates. Repeat this with each finger and let sit for 20 minutes or until the gel has completely softened.

Scrape Off

When the gel has completely softened, scrape your nails with an orange stick or metal cuticle pusher to remove the gel from your nails. The gel should come off easily; if it doesn’t, let your nails soak for a few minutes longer. Remove the foil and cotton balls from each nail, then use a non-acetone cleanser to cleanse your nails of any leftover acetone residue.


After removing all of your nail polish, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and pat dry with a towel. Next, apply lotion or cut

If you have ever had your nails done in a salon, the chances are that your technician used gel nail polish. Gel nail polish is cured using an LED lamp and can last for up to two weeks without chipping. It’s great if you want to look immaculate for a holiday or special occasion. However, when designed to be long-lasting, gel nail polish is also notoriously difficult to remove – especially if you don’t know how to do it properly.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, trying to remove gel nail polish at home can feel like mission impossible. The temptation is either to pick at the gel polish with your nails or attempt to peel it off, which will only damage your natural nails and the skin around them.

Don’t freak out if your next manicure appointment is not until next week – removing gel nail polish at home doesn’t have to be a painful process! We spoke to Faby Nails Head of Education, Delia Kuntzmann, who gave us her top tips on how to remove gel nail polish without damaging your nails.

How To Remove Gel Nail Polish: Step-by-step

What You Need:

Acetone (a 100% acetone formula

Removing gel nail polish can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. This can leave your nails looking dull, dry, and even damaged. In order to ensure that removing gel nail polish doesn’t leave your nails in bad shape, follow these steps.

First things first: it is important to start with clean nails. That means removing any old polish from the surface of your nails using a non-acetone remover and cotton balls. Rubbing alcohol or vodka works in a pinch as well. You will also want to lightly buff the top coat of your nails using a buffer block or file so that your nail polish gets a nice smooth surface to adhere to.

Now it is time for the fun part: applying the gel nail polish. There are many different brands out there, but most gel nail polishes require a UV light in order to cure and harden the polish on your nails. Before curing under UV light, it is important to wipe each nail with 99% rubbing alcohol using a lint-free pad or cotton ball. This will remove any oils or moisture so that your nails get a shiny finish!

Once you have applied two coats of color followed by one coat of topcoat (make sure not to forget this step!),

After spending a lot of time and money on a gel manicure, you might find that it is not easy to remove gel nail polish. It is important to know how to remove gel nail polish properly without damaging your nails.

Items You’ll Need

1. Aluminum Foil

2. Acetone Polish Remover (Nail Polish Remover)

3. Cotton Balls OR Pads (make sure they are 100 percent cotton)

4. Nail File or Buffer

5. Cuticle Pusher

6. Cuticle Oil

7. Moisturizing Hand Cream or Lotion


1. File the top coat off of your nails with a nail file or buffer to break the seal of the top coat and allow the acetone to penetrate through the layers faster. Do not buff too hard so that you do not damage the surface of your natural nails.

2. Pour pure acetone into a small bowl and dip cotton balls into it until fully saturated. Or you can use cotton pads instead; just make sure they are 100 percent cotton, because some cotton pads contain synthetic fibers that will not absorb acetone as well as pure cotton will.[1] Make sure your bowl is large enough to fit all of your fingers in at

1. Use a nail file to lightly file the top of your gel manicure, removing the shine and allowing for the acetone to penetrate through the polish more quickly.

2. Pour acetone into a small glass bowl.

3. Soak a cotton ball in acetone and place on top of your nail.

4. Wrap your finger with aluminum foil, holding the cotton ball in place so that it stays soaked in acetone throughout the process. Repeat with each finger until all ten are wrapped.

5. Let nails soak for 15-20 minutes (the longer you let it sit, the easier it will be to remove).

6. Unwrap one finger and check if gel polish has turned white or feels soft to touch/shakes off easily when you rub on it. If not, re-wrap and wait another five minutes before checking again.

7. Once gel polish has softened enough, remove using an orange stick or cuticle pusher by gently pushing at the base of your nail until gel polish starts to slide off easily (don’t push too hard). Wipe remaining polish away from nail with a cotton ball soaked in acetone (you can also use a paper towel for this step) and repeat with each finger until done!

If you’re a nail addict, then chances are you’ve gotten your fair share of gel manicures. Although they look great and can last for up to a month, removing gel polish can be a huge pain.

In my experience, I found that most nail salons will use an electric file to remove your gel polish (which is super annoying) or just soak your nails in acetone for what seems like an eternity. Though the latter is less annoying, it’s still not the greatest idea because it dries out your skin and nails.

Since I have rather weak nails as it is, I don’t like to take any chances with my mani. So when I discovered this new method for removing gel polish without filing or soaking in acetone, I was super pumped. It involves wrapping each nail with aluminum foil and applying cotton pads soaked in acetone on top of the foil.

The video below shows more details about how this method works:

Personally, I find that this method works much better than soaking your nails in acetone or filing them down at the salon because it takes less time and doesn’t dry out your nails or cuticles as much. It also gives you more control over how much gel

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