Even though I absolutely LOVE gel nails, I still have to take them off, and I like to do it in the quickest, least damaging way possible. Usually, I can get a gel manicure to last without chipping for a full 2-3 weeks. My problem is that when my nails are protected by the gel, they grow astoundingly fast. I don’t mind a little bit of new nail to show, but when people start commenting on the cool reverse French that I have…it’s about time to move on. That being said, here’s how to remove gel soak off nails at home (that doesn’t include grinding away).
What you’ll need:
- Foil cut into 10 rectangles
- Large cotton balls
- Gel polish remover (or an acetone based polish remover)
- Something to time your soak time
- A cuticle pusher/orange wood stick to push the polish off
- Cuticle Oil [Not Pictured]
- Something to keep you entertained for a few minutes
- I recommend that you buff the top of your gel manicure with a sturdy file or buffer block. Your goal should be to make it not shiny so that the remover can really get in there and soak in the polish. This step will NOT damage your actual nails. It only scuffs up the gel. *Notice that this is a manicure that I did a long time ago, my first one, actually. It is a nude with glitter on the tips.*
- Take a cotton ball and put some acetone based nail polish remover on it. Don’t completely soak the cotton ball! If you do, when you secure it to your finger, nail polish remover will squish everywhere and ruin things like your clothes, coffee table, wood floor, etc. Trust me on this. Just put enough to make a wet area the size of your nail. I usually put the cotton ball on top of the remover mouth and turn upside down once, briefly.
- Next, you can do one of two things. You can place the soaked cotton ball directly on your finger and man-handle the foil around it, or you can place the cotton ball on your nail and then lay your finger nail down on the foil and wrap it up like a present. This is what I do. I find that it is less messy and much easier than haphazardly folding foil on your finger. Whichever way you prefer, just be sure that the part of the cotton ball that is wet COVERS your entire nail. When done, you’ll have a stylish tin foil party hat for your nail. Tada! *This is the only picture I took for this step, and I had not yet figured out my awesome package-wrapping way of putting the foil on my nails…*
- Now, do this to all of your other fingers. I, personally like to do this one hand at a time because trying to cover my fingers with a hand already covered in foil is frustrating, and I wind up not putting the cotton ball on my entire nail and have to do that hand over again anyway. When you are done, you’ll have a whole handful of party hats! (See what I did there?) *Again, this is the only picture I took for this step, and I had not yet figured out my awesome package-wrapping way of putting the foil on my nails…*
- Grab yourself something to keep you occupied as you let your nails soak for a full 15 minutes. I know that most brands of gel polish say they will soak off in 10. DON’T BELIEVE THEM. Not once have I successfully soaked off a manicure in 10 minutes and not damage my nails. Trust me on this one…Anyway, I set my phone to go off in 15 minutes and settle in with a magazine.
- Once your timer goes off, firmly grasp the ends of your tin foil party hats and pull off. Your nails will look…terrible, actually. Here’s a closer look. Ghastly, right? However, if your nails look similar to this, you did it right! If they look better than this, don’t move on to the next step! Slide your tin foil hats back on and soak for at least 5 more minutes!
- Grab your cuticle pusher or stick and gently pry the gel off your fingernails. This part should take MINIMAL effort on your part. If you feel like you need to scrape any parts off, soak them some more. This part should be extremely easy.I like to put my finger tips down on a towel that will catch all of the polish (as seen in the picture above) and push the gel polish off my nail from the cuticle end to the tip.
- Even though your nails are free of the gel polish, they will need some serious TLC. A 15 minute soak in acetone has the power to horrifically strip your nails and cuticles of their moisture! Notice how my cuticles are all white? Don’t worry though; my nails and cuticles are naturally dry. If yours are normal, this will not be nearly a severe for you! Regardless, everyone should grab their cuticle oil and massage their nails with it and let it soak in.
I hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for more posts!
And a question to leave you with: How long do you usually go before you feel the need to remove your gel manicure, and why?
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