Easy steps for at-home gel polish removal, damage-free!

With self-isolation in full effect, the urge to pick, rip or bite off your gel polish is strong – and weirdly satisfying. But we beg you to resist it, because doing this can also take off layers of your nail bed with it, which leaves your nails susceptible to breaking and peeling (eek!). We turned to Sandy Koukouves and Tiffany Bertossi, the fabulous owners of Crema Nail & Beauty Lounge, to find out how to safely remove gel polish at home. No nail salon? No problem!

Step 1: Remove the topcoat

Before you get started, make sure you have a nail file, hot water, acetone nail polish remover, cuticle pusher, block buffer, hand cream and nail hardener on hand. Then, the first step is to grab your nail file and gently and slowly remove the topcoat – that’s the shiny coating – by sanding down the top layer of polish. You don’t want to remove all the polish, but rather ‘rough up’ the topcoat by removing the shine, so take your time doing this.

Step 2: Get double boiling

Fill a large bowl with hot water and place a smaller bowl inside. Pour acetone nail polish remover into the smaller bowl. This is known as a double boiler and is an effective way to remove gel polish as well as acrylic. Place all 10 fingers in the small bowl and soak for 10 minutes. Then, use your cuticle pusher to push off the gummy product, place your fingers back in the small bowl for a further 10 minutes and repeat until all the remaining gel polish is off.

Step 3: Buff and file

Once your natural nails are clean, use your block buffer to buff your nails softly until they’re smooth. You can also use a nail clipper and nail file to cut and shape your nails to a neat, manageable length if desired. Keep in mind that if you keep them long without any gel polish on them, they might break or bend if they’re not used to being naked. Then, use your cuticle pusher to push your cuticles back gently and trim any snags, which can get caught on hair and clothes and tear, causing room for infection.

Step 4: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Apply a cuticle oil every morning and evening, such as the roll-on cuticle oil infused with chamomile and tea tree oils from Brand Addicts, followed by a hand cream like the super-rich Earthly Muse body butter twice a day. Using a thick hand cream is a must, especially with all the hand sanitiser and detergent we’re now coming into contact with every day. Lastly, apply a top-quality nail hardener. Sandy and Tiffany are big fans of the OPI Nail Envy and recommend painting it on every third day for a week, then removing it and starting again with a fresh coat. Within a month, you’ll have brand-new, hard, healthy nails!

Happy soaking!


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