If you have sensitive skin or get gel manicures often, you know how tough taking off a manicure can be. It’s a long process that requires a lot of patience and acetone. All of that acetone soaking dries out your nails and skin, mitigating healthy nail growth and often causing redness and irritation. To save yourself another trip to the salon, here’s how to remove gel polish without damaging your nails.
File Away Polish
Gel manicures are thick, so if you want to be successful at removing them, you’ll need to file away the initial layers, but pay close attention to how much you’re filing to avoid damaging your actual nail.
Professionals typically use coarse grit emery boards to remove a lot of the polish quickly. To stay on the safe side of that, using a 100-grit emery board will help remove the initial layers. However, you must do this process slowly and move the board in one direction. Doing this too quickly or in a back-and-forth motion, especially with a harsh grit, can quickly remove too much polish and damage the nail bed.
Use Non-Acetone Solutions
Once you’ve filed away at the top layers, using a non-acetone solution will be much quicker and gentler on your nails. There are many of these non-acetone solutions on the market, so it’s best to pick the one that your skin can handle. These solutions work by using ethyl acetate or methyl ethyl ketone as the active ingredient. While these products can still lift color off furniture and clothing, it’s much gentler on the skin.
Soak Your Nails
Next, create a solution of gentle soap, your choice of oil, and warm water. This will help the polish lift and make it easier to take off. While you might have to do this step and the previous one once or twice more, it’s still less time-consuming and less damaging than wrapping your nails in foil and soaking them in harsh acetone. It also won’t cause your cuticles to dry out and peel. Cuticle health is critical to promote healthy nail growth.
Gently Peel the Rest
Now that most of the polish has lifted up, you can take a cuticle pusher and gently peel off any remaining polish. You shouldn’t have to use a lot of force to take off the gel. If you find that you’re struggling to peel off your manicure, repeat the last two steps until it becomes easier to lift off the remaining polish. Once you’ve finished removing your manicure, make sure to wash your hands and moisturize your skin with thick hand cream and cuticle oil.
Now that you know how to remove gel polish without damaging your nails, you can save yourself from that extra trip to the salon and save your skin the damage of harsh acetone.
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Erika Marie is a fashion and beauty writer as well as a hardcore vintage clothing enthusiast. In her free time, she can be found thrifting for hidden gems to add to her collection.