Gel nail polish still reigns supreme in many nail salons—Brandon Essentials included. Gel polish just lasts longer, maintaining its shine and is hard to chip, making it a crowd-pleaser and often sought after. However, unlike other polishes or nail applications, gel polish requires very specific removal techniques to keep from damaging the nail. So, gel nail polish gets a bad rep—and we’re here to help put things straight!

Regular polish can be removed at home with a swipe of some polish remover and acrylic nails come off with ease when soaked in acetone. Removing gel nail polish on the other hand, needs a bit more attention to keep from causing long-term damage to your nails.

If you plan to attempt gel nail polish at home over purchasing a removal kit or stopping by our nail salon, here are two simple ways to remove your gel nail polish at home. You can also go all-out and make the day a complete at-home spa day!

Foil Method

What you’ll need:

  • Acetone
  • At least 10 cotton balls
  • At least 10 strips of foils; roughly 4-6 inches in length, 1-2 inches wide
  • Timer
  • Manicure stick (optional)

What to do:

  1. File the top, shiny layer of the gel polish.
  2. Soak a cotton ball with acetone and set it on top of your nails.
  3. Secure the cotton ball in place by wrapping the tip of your finger with a strip of foil
  4. Set the timer for 10-15 minutes
  5. After time is up, remove foil and cotton balls.
  6. Gel polish should slide right off!
  7. Should any residue remain, use a manicure stick to gently remove it.

Soak Method

What you’ll need:

  • Acetone
  • Two Bowls; one larger than the other
  • Hot water
  • Manicure Stick
  • Timer

What to do:

  1. Fill the larger bowl with the hot (not boiling) water.
  2. Fill the smaller bowl with acetone and place this bowl into the bowl with warm water.

*Acetone is HIGHLY FLAMMABLE but needs to be warmed up for this process to work. DO NOT microwave the acetone or heat it over the stovetop/oven. Use the bowls like you would to melt chocolate chips. *

  1. As the acetone warms through the bowl, take this time to file the top, shiny layer of the polish.
  2. Place your nails from one hand into the bowl and allow to soak for 10-15 minutes.
  3. You should see the edges start to come up. When you do, use the manicure stick to help (slowly and gently) work the gel polish up. As you loosen the polish, you may need to allow the nail to soak for a few more minutes.
  4. Continue until the gel polish is lifted from all nails and then repeat with your other hand. NOTE: you may need to re-warm your water.

Don’t freak!! It is important to note that gel polish does not allow the nail to “breathe” while applied, so when removed, it may have dried out your nail bed. Work moisturizing nail oil into your nails and repeat the process as needed to restore the moisture to your nails. To prevent extreme dryness, you can apply the nail oil while the gel polish is still actively on your nails. The oil will help maintain some of the moisture to your nails without damaging the polish. Be sure you aren’t making other mistakes when it comes to your gel nail polish by checking out our informational blog here.

Also review How To Get The Most Out Of Your Manicure to ensure you maximize the life and look of your nails.

You can also save yourself the trouble and hassle of removing the gel nail polish yourself by scheduling an appointment with one of our highly experience nail technicians. We only use OPI gel nail polish, so our nail techs are well-versed in the application and removal process of gel polish. There are also many benefits of getting a regular manicure, so you’ll also be doing yourself an extra favor!