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Gel polish and acrylic can be safely removed at home by following these steps:
You will need a nail file, cuticle oil (olive oil or Vaseline will also work), nail polish remover, cotton wool, foil wraps (squares of tinfoil) and an orangewood cuticle stick or something to use as a cuticle pusher.
1. Lightly etch (file) the surface of the gel polish with a nail file, so that it loses some of its shine.
2. Apply cuticle oil (olive oil or Vaseline) to the skin around your nails, try to avoid getting it on your nails. This will create a barrier on your skin, preventing the nail polish remover from drying out your skin too much.
3. Apply nail polish remover to a piece of cotton wool (if you’re using the rounds, cut them into quarters) and place it over the nail.
4. Wrap the nail and cotton wool securely with a foil square.
5. Repeat with all your fingers.
6. Leave the cotton wool and foil on for 10 minutes to dissolve the gel polish. If it’s cold, sit on your hands or place them under one of those microwavable warm packs, as this will help loosen the polish.
7. Starting with the finger your first applied nail polish remover to, carefully slide the foil and cotton wool off the tip of your finger and gently scrape off the peeling gel polish using the orangewood cuticle stick. If the polish doesn’t come off easily, replace the cotton wool and foil “cap” that you’ve just removed and move onto the next finger. Don’t force any polish off as you may damage your nail.
8. Repeat with remaining fingers, removing and replacing cotton wool and foil ‘caps’ as needed, until all the polish has been soaked off and gently removed.
The same method is used for acrylic enhancements, although it will need to be soaked for longer (around 20 minutes). If the acrylic doesn’t gently flake off, replace the foil ‘cap’ and soak it for a little longer. Don’t force any acrylic off, as you will damage your natural nails by tearing off layers of the nail along with the product you’re trying to remove. This kind of damage can leave your nails paper-thin and soft, or if it’s really bad, even tear off whole portions of the nail plate and doing permanent damage.
Please note that PolyGel and Hard Gel overlays and extensions are done with non-soak off products and cannot be removed using the method above for gel polish. Polygel and Hard Gel overlays or enhancements do need to be carefully removed by a professional, or left to grow out to prevent damaging the natural nail.
If anyone has any nail related questions during this lockdown period, I'm happy to answer them on the forum, or message me privately on Instagram or Facebook (links are in my BR profile).
Stay safe, ladies.
This next part is for anyone with acrylics on ... If they start to lift anywhere, you will need to soak them off. Please don't be tempted to glue down lifting acrylic, as this can trap small amounts of water and bacteria underneath the enhancement, which will lead to a case of the "greenies". The technical term is Pseudomonas (if you want to Google it), and it's a bacterial infection of the nail plate, where trapped bacteria causes the natural nails to turn green underneath the acrylic. I've seen it once (after a certain mall salon glued down lifting acrylics on someone) and it's not pleasant!