Intro: How to Remove a Gel Manicure
Gel manicures are all the rage these days. Gelish and Shellac each offer the client long-lasting, chip-free manicures that promise to stay put for weeks at a time! My experience with gel manicures was gravely disappointing.
The truth about gel manicures:
- Gel manicures DO chip. Mine lasted about three days. Assuming that the polish had been applied incorrectly (it's quite a process, and involves setting under UV light!), I went back to have it redone. The second gel manicure I received lasted about three days.
- They cost up to 3 times what a normal spa manicure does. If they actually lasted three times as long, this *might* be worth the limited color selection available and the fact that:
- You can only have your polish removed at a salon that offers gel manicures (until now!) and the process involves soaking your nails in acetone. Often the removal process requires an additional fee as well!
Step 1: Materials
To remove your overpriced gel polish without incurring the expense of an additional salon visit, you will need the following:
This is the working woman's solution to gel polish removal. I suppose if you have all day to sit around soaking your fingers in a bowl of acetone, that would probably work just as well, and you could bypass the need for cotton balls and tin foil. As it was, I still had work to do!
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Step 2: The Method
Soak the cotton balls in acetone.
Apply one soaked cotton ball to each nail.
Wrap each nail in a small piece of aluminum foil to seal in place.
If you make little pointy tips on the end of each finger, you can continue to use a keyboard and get your business done!
Step 3: Comparisons
I did a few comparisons to see if I really could get away with using acetone-based nail polish remover instead of industrial strength acetone. I also tested different soaking times with the acetone so I could provide you with the proper amount of time it takes to remove the bulk of the polish without overcooking your delicate nailbeds!
The image here shows you one finger after having soaked in acetone-based nail polish remover, and the other in acetone, each for 20 minutes. The nail polish remover didn't seem to have much effect at all.
Step 4: Finishing
After about 20 minutes, check the effectiveness of your polish removal units. Slide one of the acetone foil packets off of your nail while using the cotton inside to effectively wipe away the remaining polish. If most of the polish is gone, you can remove the rest. If not, reapply cotton and foil and check again in 5-10 minutes.
Even 30 minutes of this technique did not remove all of the polish cleanly, but it did loosen all of it. I finished my manicure removal by scraping away the remains with the blunt edge of a plastic knife.
As you can imagine, all of this torture, from the initial chemical polish, to the blast of UV light, to the final acetone soak, has left your nails in top condition! (no it has not) Be gentle with your nails from here on out. Treat them with kindness and balms. Promise them you will never do this to them again. And don't get me started on those nail stickers that you seal on with heat either. . . because believe me, I've tried it. I don't know why my nails haven't packed up and left me yet, but I promise to be kinder to them in the future.