What’s not to love about a gel manicure? They give you a beautiful gloss, you dry and go – so no fear of smudges, and they last so much longer than normal polish. But if you don’t remove a gel manicure properly, they can damage the nail. This is especially true if you prematurely peel them off. So, it’s essential that you always take the time to remove them properly.  Thankfully, it doesn’t necessarily require a trip to the salon as you can effectively manage it yourself, at home.

What you need to remove a gel polish manicure:

  • Nail polish remover*
  • Cotton pads
  • Foil for each finger or toe
  • Cuticle pushers
  • A nail buffer
  • Cuticle cream
  • Protein based clear polish
  • Hand cream

Remove a gel manicure

How to remove gel polish

Whether you’ve had enough of the colour or your manicure is compromised- peeled, chipped etc., follow these steps to effectively remove the polish:

  1. Using a nail file, go over the nails to dull the polish- this will help the remover get into and break down the polish.
  2. Soak a cotton pad in nail polish remover and press firmly onto the nail.
  3. Fold the foil over the fingertip and ensure this covers all of the cotton pad. Do this for all of your nails.
  4. When the nails are covered, you can sit and wait for 15-20 minutes to allow the nail polish remover to get under the gel paint and lift it away from the nail. Perfect excuse to put your feet up.
  5. If you want to speed things along, you can apply a bit of heat- you can do this with your hair dryer on a medium setting for around 30 seconds each nail, total.
  6. After 20 minutes (if waiting), remove the foil and pad and you should see either the gel paint has removed entirely, or it’s certainly lifted significantly.
  7. Next, apply a little cuticle cream and use the cuticle pushers to remove any excess polish. The cuticle cream will also help to hydrate the nail and nail bed.
  8. If, the polish doesn’t move much or you still have a bit too much on your nail, apply a fresh pad and foil tip to your nail and leave to soak for a little longer.

Once the gel polish has come off entirely, use the nail buffer to smooth the surface of the nail bed and apply a clear, protein base to help strengthen the nail. Finish the treatment by working some hand lotion and extra cuticle cream/oil into your hands and nails.

Top tip:

It’ll help to prepare cotton pads into squares, large enough to cover the entire nail with some excess, and cut the foil to cover the fingertips and pad in advance.

* When it comes to picking your nail polish remover, acetone works quickly and effectively with gel polish but it is very drying and can cause cuticle and nail damage. If you use an acetone-based remover, be sure to regularly treat and hydrate your nails afterwards- we’d recommend at least doing this daily for 7-10 days. You can use non-acetone nail polish remover, which is gentler and safer, but will need to stay on the nails for longer to lift the gel polish.

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