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How to remove gel nails safely at home

Check out our manicurist-approved tips for a seamless removal process…

How to remove gel nails safely at home
Orin Carlin
Orin CarlinContent Writer
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If you can't find the time to schedule a top-up trip to the nail salon, it might be time to hit reset. Superior in staying power in comparison to traditional polishes, gel manicures are built to last. 

"If your nails become thin after gel manicures then this is most likely going to be down to incorrect removal," explains celebrity manicurist Iram Shelton, "If your nails are being hacked at every time you remove your gels or are being overfiled then they will weaken over time." 

Removing them when they are no longer looking fresh is best left to a reputable nail technician. (After all, they are the experts for a reason.) But if you're dead set on taking things into your own hands, it is crucial that you know how to do it safely so that your nails remain in tip-top condition.

READ: I tried the viral Chocolate Nails trend and the result was seriously tempting...

How to remove gel nail polish at home

Model with yellow nails © Spotlight
Gel nail removal needn't be a mammoth task

Curb the temptation to pick and peel – this could inflict damage upon the nail plate. Start by using the coarse side of a nail file to remove the shine from the top coat. 

"Do not over-file the natural nail as this can cause damage," advises luxury gel manicurist Claire Stark. "Instead, lightly remove the shine until the nail turns matte."

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"Take your nail removal foils you want ones that have a built-in cotton square, and apply a few pumps of acetone to remove the gel enhancement," Claire says. "I like to use Bio Sculpture's version as this contains oils that will allow for speedy gel removal without drying out the surrounding skin on the hands. Always allow your nails between five and 10 minutes of soaking in the acetone."

Buying products that prioritise nail health is key© CoffeeAndMilk
Buying products that prioritise nail health is key

Next, Claire recommends applying a vitamin-rich nail treatment. "This allows for a smooth, easy removal and hydrates the nails, restoring any moisture that may have been lost in the removal process. If there are any stubborn areas that haven't been removed in your first round of soaking, you can rewrap your nails as needed."

"Use the soft side of a buffer to smooth away any remaining gel to allow for a smooth nail canvas and finish with cuticle oil – I love Dior's Huile Abricot version  – to rehydrate your nail plate."

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