How to take gel nails off at home


here’s a high chance that quarantine and our collective lockdown is impacting your fortnightly mani-pedi appointment.

And if there’s one thing more annoying than not being able to leave our homes, it’s outgrown gel nails.

So we spoke to creative manicurist genius, Imarni Ashman, the founder of cult London nail salon, IMARNI Nails, to get the lowdown on how we can remove the hefty polish from our nails in the comfort of our own homes.

Below is Imarni’s seven-step DIY gel nail removal technique, which also works for acrylics too (it might just take longer to buff and soak them off.) All that’s needed for a simple Imarni-approved gel removal is a bottle of 100 per cent acetone (£7, shop it here), cotton wool balls, tin foil, and something uber hydrating for once the process is complete. Imarni suggests opting for cuticle oil (£9.50, shop it here) to re-hydrate post-removal, but marula oil also does the trick.

So, get your DIY mani station ready and clear, and get ready to nail it.

Trim your nails

Cut your nails to your desired length.

File, file away

Use a file to break the first layer of topcoat by buffing lightly until the surface looks rough. The more you manage to file off, the less you’ll have to soak off later in the process.

Give them soak

Soak some cotton balls in acetone and place them over the nails before wrapping each of them in small sheets of foil. The tighter the foil, the better the result. To speed up the process, it can sometimes help to place a warm towel over the tin foil, to help hurry the acetone up. 

READ  The out-of-hours email ban causing stress is proof our working culture needs an overhaul

Be patient

Leave your nails to soak for 30 minutes. If you’re out of cotton wool, then simply pour the acetone into a bowl and pop your nails in it for the same amount of time. While your fingers are submerged, use your other nails to begin scratching the polish off, but make sure not to force anything! It’s better to wait than to damage your nails.

Scrape it off

Remove the foil one nail at a time and your gel manicure should have lifted. You can help it along by gently scraping off with an orange wood stick (£2 for a pack of 100, buy them here.) If your gels still aren’t showing any sign of lifting, then pop the cotton wool and foil back on for another round. Patience is key here. 

Buff ‘n’ shape

Once you’ve removed the gel polish, use a soft file to gently buff your nails to remove any fine layers of gel base coat still attached to your nail plate. You can also shape your natural nail here, too.

Hydration station

You will probably find that your nails are a little dry after using acetone (your skin will also be particularly dry if you’ve opted to soak your nails directly in it.) Hydrate your nails using a treatment base coat and cuticle oil – my vitamin-infused cuticle oil is particularly good to help with nail nourishment, as is marula oil (The Ordinary does a great, purse-friendly one.) 


Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.