Removing Gel Nails Do’s & Don’ts | 5 Big Common Mistakes to Avoid for a Fast Gel Removal

If you’ve ever worn gel nails, you’ve probably also attempted to take them off yourself? And how did that go for you? Good? Ok?
Well in today’s video we’re going to be going into the 5 things you’re doing wrong when removing gel polish. I’ll be showing you some do’s and don’ts so that next time you’re stranded having to remove your own gel nails you totally nail the process. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or DIY’er, you’ll learn from these 5 common mistakes that just about everyone makes when removing gel nails.

Let’s dive in.

(1) The first step in removing gel nails is gathering your materials. You will need acetone, and cotton.

Therein lies the first mistake.

Don’t use a pharmacy brand acetone. The acetone you find in most pharmacy stores can be lower grade acetone but especially be diluted with things like water and fragrances, thereby diluting the potency of your acetone and slowing down your gel removal.

Do, instead, use pure acetone or a professional grade conditioned acetone. My favorite is from Zoya. I’ve been using this stuff for 5 years and it is so gentle on your skin and nails.

(2) The next step in removing gel nails, is to break the seal of your manicure, which is essentially the top coat.

Herein lies the second mistake when removing gel nails.

Don’t use a gentle buffer or file to just remove the top coat. This will not make the gel porous enough for the acetone to penetrate and break down the gel.

Do, instead, remove the topcoat and at least the first layer of color with an abrasive board file. You will not only be thinning down the product but also, making it porous enough for the acetone to break it down. Simply remember that the thicker the gel application the longer it will take to soaf-off.

(3) Time to wrap your acetone soaked cotton piece.

Don’t just crinkle your foil, that is if you’re using foils… this is a big common mistake, and I’ve seen DIY’ers as well as pros alike, make this mistake. Crinkling your foils will cause the foil to tear and also it does not create a tight seal, which in return means your acetone, which is highly volatile, will evaporate. What happens if the acetone evaporates you may ask? It loses its strength thereby slowing down your removal process or halthing it altogether.

Do instead, take the time to individually fold the edge that will be wrapping around the finger. This will allow you to tighten the foil and ensure a near air-tight seal so that your acetone is working to its full potential.

(4) Temperature is very important during a gel removal.

Don’t let the hands get cold. Internal temperature is important here. Avoid a cold drink while doing a gel removal. Gel will remove slowly if the hands and nail beds are cold.

Do instead, cozy up with a blanket or terri-cloth mittens covering your hands. You can also put your hands in plastic gloves, doing so will generate and promote more warmth. And also! Help you put the foils on your dominant hand.

Make it the ultimate me-time treatment by sipping at a warm cup of tea and adding a nice moisturizer to your hands prior to the entire gel removal service.

Now, keep in mind that you should sit no more than 20 minutes with the acetone on your fingernails. It does begin losing its strength afterwards, and it will not make much of a difference, if you sit 10 additional minutes or an hour total. In fact, the reaction will begin reversing and your gel will start re-hardening. I know… creepy. So get all of your supplies ready from the start so that you can really take all of those 20 minutes to yourself.

(5) Time’s up! Now it is time to see the gel removal action take place… but wait!

Don’t remove all of your foils at the same time. Doing so will cause the acetone that has penetrated the gels to evaporate! And so… as I mentioned earlier your gel removal will come to a halt. You will now be forcing the gel off of your nails, or having to re-start the re-wrapping and soaking over!

Do instead, take your time to individually unwrap each finger. If you used plastic gloves you can actually cut the tip of each finger and free up the finger to remove the foil! I know! Super cool!

After you’ve removed all of your foils, you have the option of buffing the remaining product down, or resoaking and gently keep on removing the gel.

Now, I want to hear from you! Have you ever made any of these mistakes? Write me a little message below in the comments section, and I’ll take a look.

I will also let you know that I just created a nice chart comparing some of my favorite manicure items like cuticle nipper, pushers, and if you’re feeling brave I’ve also included efile and efile bit recommendations both for pros and starters if you want to apply these do’s and don’ts next time while using an efile. You can download this super special chart here.

Have a merry start to the week, and I’ll see you in the next one.


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