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How to Remove Gel Nail Polish at Home in 7 Somewhat-Easy Steps

BY: Editors | Feb 14, 2014

No-chip manicures, aka gel manicures, have tons of die-hard fans, quite simply because they will resist chipping for at least two weeks, if not longer. But they come with one caveat: the best place to get the polish removed is the salon—leaving many a customer to wonder how to remove gel nail polish at home.

When you're in a bind, you can remove gel polish at home. Fair warning: though gel polish remover is the same as traditional nail polish remover, removing gel polish takes a bit more elbow grease. Here's what to do.

The Tools

  1. Acetone nail-polish remover
  2. Five cotton balls, each ripped in half to make 10 cotton tufts
  3. 10 foil squares, about 1.5 inches wide
  4. A nail file
  5. An orange stick
  6. A buffer

Pro tip: You can swap out the first 3 items on this list for the nail-polish remover wraps you can buy here.

The Process

  1. Remove the top coat from the surface of each nail with the nail file. This breaks the seal on the polish, allowing the acetone to soak in. You'll know you're done when the surface of the polish looks flaky, whitish, and dull.
  2. Soak a cotton tuft in nail-polish remover, then cover it over the whole nail.
  3. Wrap the foil square around each fingertip to bind the cotton ball to the nail. You might need a friend to help with your non-dominant hand.
  4. Repeat the last two steps with all your fingers.
  5. Remove the wraps after about 10 minutes. In case you need to soak the nails a bit longer, hold onto the wraps.
  6. Scrape off the polish with the orange stick. It should come off pretty easily; if not, wrap the nail for five more minutes, then try again.
  7. Buff your nails to smooth out any roughness, and wash your hands to get rid of any leftover acetone smell.

And that's how to remove gel nail polish at home!

This article was originally published in 2014 and has since been updated by our editors.





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BY: Editors