How to Remove Gel Polish at Home Without Foil

Anyone who knows me knows I love nail polish and often paint my own nails at home. However, there are the occasional times where I will treat myself to a gel manicure. It’s the same cycle for me every time: I love how it looks, then get sick of it after a week and feel the urge to remove it. I normally peel it off, and I know it’s so bad for your nails, but I don’t think soaking your fingers in pure acetone is any better. My nails usually look scraggly and dry after I peel off the gel polish and takes about a week for them to recover.

I went to get a gel manicure recently and told myself I would have it taken off professionally, but decided to just do it myself at home. I researched different ways and many of them involved the technique of wrapping aluminum foil around each finger with an acetone-soaked cotton ball situated on the nail for 10-15 minutes (this is the method I use to remove glitter nail polish). To my dismay, I ran out of foil and it was too late to go out and buy some. I kept researching and found the answer to my request. I have tweaked it a little and it works like a charm. Behold, my new favorite way to remove gel nail polish at home.

  • First, buff your nails to remove the clear coat on top. It is recommended to use a nail buffer, but I don’t have one, so I used a nail file, which worked fine.
  • Next, soak a cotton ball/pad with an acetone-based nail polish remover (it does not have to be pure acetone) and hold it over your finger for a few seconds to loosen up the polish.
  • Begin peeling the polish.
  • Once it is all off, wipe your finger using the acetone-soaked cotton ball/pad to remove any excess polish. If you are having a hard time peeling off any polish, buff the area of your finger with nail polish and repeat with holding the nail polish remover over it. It should be easier to remove. You can also use an orange stick to help lift the polish, if that helps.
  • Finally, make sure to use a cuticle and/or hand and nail cream. I personally like the Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream and the Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream. And that’s it!

Usually my fingers would look awful if I just peeled off the gel, but with this method I felt like I barely scuffed my fingers and they did not feel as weak. Let me know if this worked for you!

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