How to Remove Gel Nail Polish (At Home)

My beautiful gel manicure, 1 week after.
Gel nails are beautiful while they last. A few weeks ago, I got gel nail polish done at a wonderfully inexpensive nail salon on La Cienega in Los Angeles. The plumpness, the colour, the long-lasting formula. I was in love. While the colour range was limited, I found the perfect neutral pink shade.
Just after the Great Chippening. This is what happens when you rip your nails off.

I was in love with my nails until the Great Chippening happened 4 weeks in. I was buying a chai latte at my local coffee shop and about to add some change to my barista’s tip jar. In a moment of pure ratchetness, my middle nail peeled right off and almost fell in. My barista definitely saw but politely smiled. It was then that I knew that I had to get this stuff off. Most of these items may even be in your house anyway. Here’s how:


1. Assemble your tools. You’ll need:

  • Nail Polish Remover with a high amount of acetone (I used Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish Acetone Remover. The name seemed appropriate for this task)
  • Nail Buffer (I just used a Revlon nail file to get the job done)
  • 10 pieces of aluminum foil large enough to wrap around your finger
  • Cotton Balls or pads
  • Vitamin E Oil for later (Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail & Cuticle Oil is amazing)

2. Soak the cotton balls liberally with acetone.
3. Place it on top of the nail and let it saturate.


4. Wrap the foil around your finger, like so. You’ll be heading into space alien territory.
5. Keep checking every 5 minutes to see if you need to resaturate the cotton balls.
6. After 15 minutes, the gel nails should start to separate and look like this:

Try not to peel off the gel nails as your actual nail bed will start to peel, like the finger on the left.
7. You’ll still have some gel polish spots left over. This is just the undissolved gel.
8. Start buffing the nails until smooth. Don’t go overboard! Your nails may have a matte look to them after this, which is cool.
9. Moisturize your nails and add some Vitamin E oil to nourish them back to health.
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