Remove your Gel Nail Polish At Home in 5 Easy Steps

Gel polish riding up your nail? Extensions broken? The salon might be closed but no problem, we've got your DIY gel manicure and acrylic removal covered.

Regardless of whether you’re in lockdown or not, removing gel nails is such a useful skill to have and, if you follow our top tips, you can achieve salon-worthy results.

Acrylic, BIAB and gel manicures all call for a very specific removal method. You can't just use nail polish remover and hope for the best, it simply won't work.

The step-by-step routine will seem familiar to those who regularly book removal appointments, but now it's time to get acquainted with the DIY version. Here's how to remove acrylic or gel manicure yourself at home.

First things first, picking at your gel manicure is really bad for your nails. It not only peels away the polish, but the top layer of your nail too. This damages it, weakening the nails, so they are more prone to rough textures and white patches. It also makes them more susceptible to cracking and breaking.

Follow our easy guide and learn how to remove your manicure at home once and for all. Pay close attention to these gel removal instructions and you won't go far wrong:

The Gel Removal Tool Kit

To remove gel or acrylics you'll need a nail polish remover containing acetone, cotton pads, a cuticle pusher, tin foil, a nail file and some cuticle oil. Those are your key DIY gel polish removal ingredients and to make it easy for you, we have put together a handy Gel Polish Removal Kit, £6, which we can deliver locally or post out to you (p&p charges apply). Order now and let's get going.

Step 1: File down the top coat
Before you soak off your polish, you need to file down the top layer of the gel polish to break it down. Our nail technician, Jax recommends using a really coarse nail file for this - 'Take your nail file and file down as much of the topcoat and colour as you can.' ‘Be very careful to avoid your natural nail and cuticle to prevent damage. Thin it out as much as you can. The thinner the enhancement is, the more easily acetone—coming in the next step—will penetrate.

Step 2: Prepare your soaking station
Pour the acetone from your kit into a glass bowl. You’ll want to soak one hand at a time so that you have your other hand free to check on the progress of your removal. Before dipping your hands in, rub cuticle oil all around your cuticle and finger tip to keep your skin protected and hydrated. You’ll also want to have a buffer and a towel handy too.

Step 3: Soak the acrylic or gel polish off
For this step you’ll need your cotton pads and tin foil from the kit. First soak the cotton pad in your acetone infused nail polish remover before placing it against the nail tip and wrapping the tin foil around it to secure the cotton pad in place. At this point, you'll see the process starts to look a lot like the removal stage of a gel polish nail appointment in-salon.

Leave the foils on for 10-15 minutes.

Step 4: Scrape off the remaining acrylic or gel polish
Once the nails have finished soaking, it's time to remove the foils. We recommend checking the foils every five minutes as some nail polishes lift easier than others. The remaining polish should now be loose and sticky in texture - this can be gently scraped away with the cuticle pusher.

If the polish doesn't come away easily - that's a sign your nails need to soak for longer. So go back to step 3 and wrap your nails again.

Step 5: Show your nails some love
Removing acrylics or gel nail polish isn't the kindest process when it comes to your nails, so finish your at-home treatment with a hefty dose of TLC - once the job's done we suggest soaking your nails in some nice warm water (add a few drops of oil for extra nourishment) to soften the skin before massaging in some cuticle oil and hand-cream. We rate Bella Forever Coconut & Lemonade Hand & Body Lotion, £15, packed with skin-soothing Aloe-Vera and Vitamin E to rejuvenate the skin. Finish off by treating your cuticles with a cuticle oil, we recommend Naf Stuff Cuticle Oil Pens, £8 - applying cuticle oil can increase the circulation around your nails, stimulating nail growth. It can also help to protect your nail and cuticle against trauma.

And there you have it, your guide to removing that gel or acrylic manicure at home!