How To, Nails
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How to Remove Gel Polish at Home

Removing Gel Polish Remove Gel Polish

Now we all know gel polish was the best creation for those who love to have their nails done all the time. Our manicures now last a full two weeks with no chipping! I mean who can really complain? There is just one tiny annoying detail that comes along with a manicure that lasts so long…having to remove the gel polish. I know we all find it a pain to have to go back in to the salon just to have our nails removed, so what do we do…we peel it off. Please do not peel off your gel polish, as I promise you, you will damage your nails. When you peel your gel polish off a layer of your nail is actually coming off with the polish causing it to be much weaker. So when you tell all your friends, “Shellac ruined my nails”—no it didn’t; you ruined your nails by not removing it properly.

There are many different forms of gel polish. These are some examples:

–          CND Shellac

–          Gelish

–          OPI Gel Polish

–          Artistic Colour Gloss (my personal favorite)

I am going to teach you how you can remove your gel polish all on your own, without having to go back to the salon, and without causing any damage to your nails.

There are two ways you can remove some gel polish. Now the one most of you probably know is Shellac, it was the first gel polish to come out and is now usually what people say when they are referring to gel polish. Shellac is what Kleenex is to tissue. For Shellac there is only one removal process.

Shellac Removal:

What You Will Need:

What You Need

–          Aluminum Foil

–          100% Pure Acetone ( can be purchased at Walmart or any Beauty Supply Store)

–          Cotton Balls

–          Manicure Tool that can be used to scrap the polish off

Step 1:

Separate your cotton balls into 10 smaller pieces.

Cotton Balls

Step 2:

Cut or tear your aluminum foil into 10 small squares. (Big enough to be able to wrap around your nail)


Step 3:

Saturate a piece of cotton in 100% pure acetone, place over a nail and wrap with aluminum foil. Repeat this step for every nail. (Do one hand at a time!)

Step 4:

Leave for 5 minutes if you are wearing shellac. Leave for 15 minutes if you are wearing Artistic Colour Gloss.

Step 5:

Starting from the cuticle area use your manicure tool and gently scrape off your polish.


If it is Shellac it should literally just flake off. If it is Artistic Colour Gloss it’s a little tougher, be gentle, and if it doesn’t come off with ease the first try, re-soak your cotton pad and re-wrap it, leave it for a few minutes and try again.

Step 6:

Buff your nails gently. If you are not planning on polishing your nails, apply cuticle oil on your nails, as acetone dehydrates the nail so we want to put moisture back in the cuticle and nail.

Repeat for opposite hand.

Note: It is a time consuming process and it’s not particularly easy. However, if you really don’t want to go back to the salon this is the best way to remove gel polish on your own and you will not damage the nail.

Artistic Colour Gloss Removal:

Artistic Colour Gloss is my personal favorite type of gel polish. They have a wide variety of colours and the wear is much longer than most other gel polishes. You can also remove this product two different ways. Now you already know the first way (Remember you must let them soak for 15 minutes).

Removal Option # 2:

What you will need:

–          a file with a grit of 180

–          buffer

Now this removal process can be tricky, and it is very easy to accidentally cause damage to your nail if you are not careful. You are going to file it off (do not attempt to do this with Shellac). Now the grit on this file is much stronger than a normal file, usually a file with this grit would only be used for pedicures, so be careful.

File on top of the polish with a good amount of pressure, when you start to see the natural nail be sure to stop filing in that area because you only want to file off the product, you don’t want to file too much of your natural nail. If you file too much of your nail, it will become thinner and weaker. Continue until all polish is removed.

File On Top of Nail

One Filed Nail

Nail Polish Removed

What your nails should look like once all polish is removed.

Note: If you feel a burning sensation on the nail bed, stop filing that area! Careful of the cuticle area, with a file this strong it is very easy to tear the skin.

Buff to smooth out any ridges and you are good to reapply nail polish or apply cuticle oil.

Hope this helps!

Laurelle, xo



1 Comment

  1. says

    Laurelle, this is awesome! I was just thinking this morning that I need to take my shellac off and didn’t want to go to the salon as they charge for shellac removal! I was going to peel it off until I read this, thanks!

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