What are gel nails? Only one of the best ways to have chip-proof and fading resistant manicure! Women love them, especially since gel manicure and hybrids have become so accessible. Instead of having regular nail varnish that lasts a week at best (and usually left us disappointed by chipping off the next day), we have manicure that is solid and long lasting. Gel nails are a hot trend in fashion: they’re pretty, thick, kitchen-proof and cleaning-resistant, perfect for work, travel and fitness (it’s really hard to break them), ideal in summer and in winter (alright, they’re just wonderful the whole year), give our nails amazing gel-finish effect, the colour lasts for days and you can actually style the shape of your gels the way you like it. In short, whatever your lifestyle is, these nails will fit in. But after typically three weeks you need to remove them, so you usually revisit your favourite nail salon for gel removal. But there is an easier and definitely cheaper way – DIY. How? There are couple of skincare routine steps to follow and the rest is actually quite simple. Read this article to get to know our tips on how to take off gel nails at home!


Before removal process, prepare your set of indispensables:

  • Nail care kit (nail scissors, file)
  • Nail polish remover, preferably acetone
  • Small bowl (optional)
  • Pads or cotton balls
  • Aluminium foil
  • Cuticle oil

There are two great options to remove gel nails, both require a lot of patience, but as soon as you learn how to do it, you’ll feel like a real professional. And it’s worth it, because both ways allow you to get rid of gel without spending too much money at nail salon. It is a good idea to try both ways to find which is more efficient for you. It all depends on the products you use, like types of polishes and acetone. How to start removing gel nail polish?


First of all, decide whether you need to shorten and shape your nails, or skip it. If you do need it, it is the right time to do so. And don’t forget about filing them too, since it is important to buff the shine off from the top coat of gel polish. You’re also going to need to protect your skin around the nails – using acetone may damage your cuticles, and this area can be easily dehydrated or irritated by various manicure routines, so apply some Vaseline-based cream (or other type of petroleum cream) prior to the next step which is a soaking process.


To get gel nails off, you don’t need many things actually: some pads, acetone and tin foil. Use acetone to soak a preferred type of a pad – cotton ball or gauze. Prepare one piece of foil (not too big) and cut it into squares just big enough to tightly wrap your whole nail, and do so similarly with pads. Pour acetone on each cotton ball or piece of gauze.


Take the pads soaked with acetone and place them gently on your nails. Start with non-dominant hand and make sure that the whole nail plate is coated with acetone and that tin foil is close to each pad-coated nail. This will help sustain the right temperature and keep the pads wet.

You can also fill the bowl with acetone and simply soak your nails there.

If you feel confident enough, you can proceed to another hand or you can wait and do it only after the entire process is finished with the first hand – it might be a bit tricky to place gauze or cotton balls and foil on the nails of the second hand with one hand already wrapped in foil. Leave the nails wrapped with acetone for suggested time (such information should be on a label of a given product), usually for 15 minutes (but not longer than for 30 minutes, especially if you keep your hands directly in bowl with acetone) and remove the foil.


You should notice that the outer surface of your manicure start to come off (the sides of the coat should be lifted a bit), and you should able to just smoothly peel off the layers of polish while taking off the pads. If the varnish didn’t slide off completely, remove any manicure leftovers with a wooden stick or a cuticle pusher. You can also wrap again your fingers with acetone for couple of minutes if it feels like the manicure isn’t soft enough to remove it or dip your nails in the bowl of acetone, if you chose that way. Once the gel is removed and your nails are clean and ready, wash your hands with water, dry them and use a cuticle oil with nourishing formula or your favourite nail strenghtener to regain lost moisture and hardness of your nails.

For the sake of your nails health, remember about taking a break from time to time from manicures, and use a regular strengthening or repairing varnish. It is especially important if you wear gels or hybrids all year round. The key here is to watch the state of your nails each time you remove the manicure. If it led to brittleness or splitting, give them some time to heal.


Wonder how this method can remove gel nail varnish? Under the influence of acetone, warmed a little underneath the foil, the layers of your manicure loosen and it should be possible to slide off the layers of polish. Thanks to this, you don’t have to scratch your natural nails to get rid of the remaining polish, so this is less harsh on your nails plates. Check both versions, since both work well, but pick the one that works better for you. Once you learn how to remove gel shellac at home, it’ll become a life-changer that saves a lot of money. Enjoy your gel-free nails or go get your new gel manicure!