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How to Remove Gel Polish Yourself Safely, According to a Pro

Your home has become your workout studio, office, and local watering hole in a matter of weeks—so you might as well add nail salon to the list! If you’re regretting getting that gel manicure a few weeks ago, you’re not alone. With all of your sacred salons closed, you’re left to fend for yourself in terms of upkeep. And though it’s tempting, please don’t peel your gels off! If you’re wondering how to remove gel polish safely by yourself at home, we’ve got the answers, straight from celebrity nail artist Alex Jachno.

How to Remove Gel Polish Safely: A Step-by-Step Guide

What you’ll need to remove your gel polish:

  • Polish remover or acetone
  • A coarse nail file (100 or 180 grit)
  • A small bowl
  • Cotton balls
  • Aluminum foil or foil remover wraps
  • A cuticle pusher or orange wood stick
  • Cuticle oil
  • A towel for easy clean up

Pro tip: Do all steps on one hand at a time. After removing your gel polish completely from one hand, repeat the step on your other hand.

Step 1: File down gels.

filing nails to remove gel polish
Shutterstock

Lay down your towel to prevent a mess. Using a coarse nail file, file down the tops of each nail. “This step is very important because you need to rough up the surface layer and break the seal of the gel so the polish remover can penetrate,” says Jachno. Don’t completely buff off the polish, but scratch up the surface enough to visibly see.

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