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How to remove your gelish manicure at home

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The current lockdown situation in Singapore has extended, and yep, that would mean no visits to your nail salon anytime soon.

Some of us have been sporting the same gelish manicure from way before our country went into lockdown – and now that the circuit breaker has been extended, we’re left to our own devices. Well, it’s either we ignore our nail situation for now or we could do a good old DIY.

Ladies, it’s time to become your own personal manicurist.

“Can I really remove my gelish manicure on my own without damaging my nails?”

It’s true; our regular manicurists would often caution us not to remove the gel nail polish on our own because it’s likely that we’ll damage our nails by all that scratching and peeling.

In an ideal world, we could just pop by our nail salon and get them removed in a jiffy. But during these difficult coronavirus times, we’ll have to adapt to a new normal – the good thing is, it’s almost impossible to not pick up a thing or two with all this time we spend at home and I’m convinced we’ll emerge from this pandemic more independent than ever.

We’ll detail the steps on how to remove gelish manicure safely on our own at home here.

“What gelish-removing ingredients do I need?”

  • Your trusty nail file: This is going to help you sand down the shiny, topmost coat of your gelish manicure to “prime” your nails and allow the acetone to do its magic later on.
  • A bottle of acetone: Before you work yourself into a frenzy trying to figure out if acetone is under essential services or not, staph. You can buy it online. It costs only $4.60 on Lazada and $6.90 on Shopee.
  • Aluminium foil: Yep, you’re gonna be doing some nail wrapping with this – like how your good ol’ manicurist would do it.
  • Cotton pads: Definitely a must-have for any nail polish removing jobs, gelish or otherwise.

“Okay, now what?”

Before you start the whole thing, don’t miss this prep step: grab your roll of aluminium foil and cut them into 10 little cubes, just enough for each fingernail.

Step 1: File it down

So the first thing to do is to whip out your nail file and meticulously file your nails down – until the shine from your manicure is completely gone. Use cross-hatched strokes when filing to make the process a little easier.

When you start seeing tiny flecks of your colored nail polish coming off as you file, that’s your cue that you’ve sanded your nails down just enough. Now that the topmost coat of your gel nails is removed, your nails are ready and primed to receive the acetone treatment!

Step 3: Apply acetone

Acetone is a chemical which can dissolve your gelish nails, nail glue, etc so be warned: it’s extremely drying to your skin.

As for application, the most effective way would be to pour some acetone into a bowl and dip your fingers into the bowl for a minute. Just your fingernails of course – try to expose as little of your skin to the chemical as you can. This allows your nails to soak up the acetone and the chemical would work its way into dissolving the gel polish.

Pro tip: You may want to consider doing one hand at a time.

Step 4: Wrap your fingernails one by one in the little squares of aluminium foil you’ve cut

And this is why we’d recommend doing it one hand at a time – so that your other hand frees up to do the wrapping work. Alternatively, you could also seek help from the husband to do the nail wrapping for you – if he’s the helpful sort.

Secure the aluminium foil around each fingernail tightly to keep the acetone from leaking out. You’ll have to leave it on for about 15 minutes, so you can chill out and watch Netflix meanwhile to keep yourself entertained.

Step 5: Unwrap aluminium foil and clean off gel nail polish with cotton pad

After the 15 minutes are up, the gel would dissolve and unlatch itself from your nails. Upon unwrapping the aluminium foil, your gel nail polish should look like it’s lifted off your nails – and that’s when you grab a cotton pad, dip it in more acetone and rub it off. Repeat for each nail to remove the gelish polish cleanly from all of your nails.

Step 6: Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise.

After all that harsh chemical treatment, your nails and skin are going to feel pretty dry. It’s time to shower them with some TLC, and super-moisturising cuticle oils or essential oils will do perfectly.

And there you have it, six steps to get your nails free from an old gelish manicure – done and dusted, all by yourself.

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