By Victoria Moorhouse
Nov 01, 2018 @ 8:45 am
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So you followed that at-home tutorial on how to remove gel nail polish without going to the salon and it was massively unsuccessful? You're not alone, and no, your polish wasn't fused to your nail bed. It might just be your nail polish remover's fault. 

According to Sally Hansen Global Ambassador and nail pro Madeline Poole, using the wrong type of nail polish remover is a super common mistake when it comes to taking off gel nail polish at home. What you need? 100 percent pure acetone, not the standard "nail polish remover" sold at your local drugstore.

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"Regular nail polish remover contains acetone but is diluted," Poole explains. "You probably could remove gel nails with regular polish remover, but you would have to allow the nails to soak for a very long time. You need pure acetone to effectively and quickly break down the gel polish."

So if you don't have an hour to wait for your gels to soak in regular nail polish remover, buying a bottle of pure acetone is a better bet. 

But that's only one step to effectively removing gel polish without totally destroying the health of your nails. 

Instead of heading to the salon, try Poole's go-to method. First, she suggests using a coarse file on the surface of all the nails to break open the top later of gel. This helps the acetone penetrate. Then, Poole soaks a small piece of cotton and places it on the nail and holds it on with gel removal clip caps, but you can also just wrap the nail in aluminum foil. 

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The nails should soak until the gel appears to be bubbling, she says. This could be about 10 minutes, but Poole says it's often longer. Rule of thumb: Don't scrape off the polish until it's fully softened.

"When removing my own gels I use my thumb nail to scrape the softened gel off. I find it gets very close to the nail, but doesn’t hurt it," she explains. You can also use a metal gel polish removal tool to pop off the remaining polish. 

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Finally, you'll want to give your nails a little TLC.

"After removing the gel,use a gentle buffing block to smooth out the surface of the nail," she says. When the nail is clean, Poole recommends soaking the nails with cuticle oil, like Sally Hansen Vitamin E Oil. After a few minutes, wash your hands and apply a restorative product. Do this for several nights and then feel free to polish back up.