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Removing gel polish / acrylic during lockdown

6 posts, 3 members
Silvene
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986 posts
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If you're stuck with gel polish or acrylic enhancements on your nails during lockdown because all the salons are closed, and it's starting to lift, please don't be tempted to pick it off.  As tempting as it may be to peel off that polish, it will damage your nails and leave them feeling thin and soft.  

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.
Macs
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5241 posts
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I have acrylics normally I would go in fortnightly for a tidy up . Thank you for this . I will buy all stuff tommorow after my shift .
Toni-Lee
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464 posts
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Haha this is my dilemma atm. I usually go every 3 weeks to get my acrylic nails infilled and gel polish. Will have to give this a go too, thanks for the advice :)
Silvene
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986 posts
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@Toni-Lee, if the acrylic isn't lifting yet and is still secure, you could leave them on for longer.  You might be able to get away with 4-5 weeks since your last infill before they have to be soaked off, if they're not lifting.  This is not ideal, but it may get you through the lockdown period.  Although, if they start feeling uncomfortable, start lifting or begin popping off, then it means they're not balanced anymore (the thickest part of the acrylic isn't where it needs to be to keep it on) and they'll need to be soaked off.  If they start feeling too long but are still secure, you can shorten them by filing and shaping them at home.  Disguise the regrowth (if it bothers you) by painting over the top of the existing acrylic and gel polish with store bought nail polish.  The only prep you'd need to do before painting with normal nail polish is to push back your cuticles and then wipe all the nails with nail polish remover before painting (to remove any natural oils, cream, dust, etc.) - I wouldn't usually recommend this, but it may see you through the lockdown period, depending on how recent your last infill was, and how long this lockdown lasts.

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!
Macs
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Hi Silvene, 

Today I successfully removed my acrylics with your steps you provided. Mine had grown out quite far . I was too tired to go into my nail salon this week as we wore hit hard with customers at our supermarket. 

Thank you 
Silvene
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986 posts
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@Macs, it's good to hear that you were able to remove your acrylics safely.  Glad I could help. 

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