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How to Remove Your Acrylics or Gels at Home

  • April 10, 2020

For many of us, at-home gel removal is unexplored territory. To help you navigate the task, we consulted two nail artists, Brittney Boyce and Lisa Logan, for advice. Here, the right way to remove the four most common types of long-lasting manicure — soft gels, hard gels, acrylics and dip powder nails — quickly and safely.

First, a few universal tips:

  • Work on one hand at a time. Believe it or not, it’s efficient. For example, in acrylic removal, you’ll soak then file off the product. In the time you’re filing one hand, the acrylic on the other will have rehardened, making it impossible to file.

  • Second, manicure removal is generally drying (and a bit traumatic) to nails. Treat them well after you’re done. Rehydrate them with an oil or lotion and buff the surface to a smooth shine.

  • Finally, apply a nail strengthener, like Nails. Inc Gel Rehab, $15, a moisturizing base coat that protects against breakage.

Gels come in a few forms and require different removal. Soft gels are by far the most common gel manicure. It’s likely that this is what you have. Soft gel removal will be familiar: file, soak, then lift off the product.

Soak-off hard gel, a sturdier gel that’s often used for nail extensions, is removed in the same way, but with more filing and longer soaking. And finally there’s hard gel that can be removed only by filing.

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