How To Remove Gel Manicures – Our DIY Guide

Gel manicures have become a popular form of nail art. Women who get these types of manicures are supposed to be able to keep their nail art for weeks at a time. While some people might like this aspect of it, others may decide that they want to remove the nail art from their fingers earlier than normal. If you are this person, then you need an education into how to remove gel manicures from your fingernails. You might be scared to do it yourself, but there is a way to remove them that is easy and painless.

Before you begin to remove the gel manicures, you should understand exactly what they are first. People have the option of getting two different types of gel manicures done. There are gels that get applied directly onto the nail and there are acrylic nails that get placed on top of the existing nail. The acrylic nails are actually made of polymer rather than acrylic, despite the name. If you use acrylic nails, then certain drying techniques need to be used to get the result that you want.

Gel Manicure Removal Options

Option #1 Manicure Removal Kits​

The easiest way to remove gel manicures is to purchase a manicure remove kit, which is pretty affordable. But don’t just purchase any manicure remove kit because there are a lot of different ones on the market. Research the solutions that come with the kits and make sure the one you choose has solutions that can remove gel nails. These kits will basically give you a solution that wraps over your nails and makes pieces of the gel come right off from it. When all the pieces have fallen, it will leave your nails looking natural and with no damages whatsoever. The wrapping solutions for nails are much more convenient because you can still use your hands for other things like your phone or computer.

Option #2 Foil Removal​

foil removal

Foil removal is another option for removing gel manicures. Foil formulas can be purchased at the store or you can make your own foils. Just purchase a bottle of nail polish remover which is specifically designed for gel-based nails. Place the nail polish remover onto cotton balls and then wrap them with tin foil. Place the wrapped cotton balls right onto the gel elements of your fingertips. Keep the cotton balls there for at least 15 minutes so the acetone from the nail polish remover can soak thoroughly into these gel elements.

Try to keep your hands still during these 15 minutes so the cotton balls can stay firmly in the same place. The purpose of soaking the cotton balls in nail polish remover is so the balls can distribute the solution to all the gel areas evenly on your fingertips. After the 15 minutes is up, the gel element should be able to come off. Use a small file or stick to remove the gel from the nail tips if they are not coming off on their own.

Option #3 Soak Your Nails​

A less popular way of removing gel manicures is to soak your nails. Some say this method is rather dangerous, but it can truly work if you do it properly. Just make sure you don’t use any elements that generate heat while you’re trying to do this. This means no open flames, fires, microwaves, or anything that will create a flame. Instead, fill up a bowl with lukewarm water and then place a smaller bowl into it. You could use hot water too as long as it’s not smoking or anything. Now place the acetone-based nail polish remover into the interior bowl that is inside the bigger one. Heat from the outer bowl will permeate into the inner bowl.

soak nails

Wait a few minutes for this bowl to get warmed up. Meanwhile, take a file and smooth out your nails a bit by softening the edges where the gel elements are located. Place your fingers and nails into the warmed up interior bowl. The acetone nail polish remover will now be warm and it will be able to soak into your gel manicure a lot easier. Keep your fingers in the bowl for at least 10 minutes and then you should see signs of lifting happening on your nails. Once you see this, the gel elements can be propped off with the file you just used before. After you’ve gotten all the gel pieces off, moisturize both your cuticle beds and hands so that the acetone doesn’t permeate through your skin or nails any further and cause damage.


You have just learned the three basic solutions for removing gel manicures from your fingernails. Any one of these solutions can be done at home if you are careful and understand the steps clearly. The best part is you don’t have to spend as much money doing this yourself as you would if you went to a professional. But if you still have questions or are not certain about what to do, you should go to a professional just to observe how they remove the gel manicure. Then, you will have a better understanding of how to do it yourself in the future.