How to Take Off Gel Polish Without Acetone

Gel polish has always been a favourite trend in the nail industry primarily because of its durability and glamorous shine. But to achieve the best look for and avoid damage to your nails, precision in application and removal is key. As much as you don’t want to mess up your gel nails during application, you also don’t want to damage your nails during removal.

So, how do you remove gel polish at home? The most popular method is to use acetone, but the solvent can cause dryness to your skin. This is why we look at other alternatives on how to take off gel polish without acetone that won’t damage your nails. Here are a few ways you can explore at home:

Soaking the Nails to Loosen Gel Polish

1. Prepare Your Materials

What you need here are things you can quickly see at home: a small bowl, dishwashing liquid, warm water and salt. Add warm water into the small bowl and then a few drops of dishwashing liquid and 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix well before soaking your fingers.

2. Submerge Your Fingers in the Mixture

Be sure to submerge your fingers when water is still warm or you won’t be able to loosen the polish. Add more warm water when it gets cold as you soak your fingers. Also, make sure your nails are completely submerged in the water as you wait for 15-20 minutes. Soak all fingers of one hand at a time or both hands. You may need to use a bigger bowl if you submerge both hands simultaneously.

3. Dry Your Nails with a Towel

After soaking your nails, dry them with a clean kitchen towel. At this point, gel polish may start to loosen or come off. If not, you may need to repeat step 2.

4. Buff the Polish

Even if the gel polish has not loosened by doing the previous step, buffing your nails is much easier at this point. Just make sure your nails are completely dry before you file them as this makes buffing much easier.

Filing Off the Gel Polish

1. Cut Your Nails

For this method to be much easier, you need to trim your nails first. Cut them as short as possible to reduce the area you’ll file later. If you have thick nails, you can buff the tips using your file’s coarse grit side to make them thin to clip off.

2. Buff Your Nails with the File’s Coarse Grit Side

Buff your nails gently with your file’s coarse grit side. Make sure you cover the entire nail to make it look smooth and even. Move the file around the nail and be patient with the corners. Wipe away dust from time to time and continue filing. It may take some time to do this, so you need to be patient. Just remember to go slowly because moving fast can damage your natural nails.

3. Continue Filing Your Nails with the File’s Fine Side

Once your natural nails become visible while filing, switch to using your file’s fine side. Buff the remaining gel polish gently and slowly. At this point, you’re close to seeing your natural nails. You notice that the amount of dust decreases or see your nail’s natural ridges.

Peeling the Gel Polish Off

1. Lift the Chipped Part of the Gel Nail

You’ll know when the gel polish needs to be removed when it starts to chip or loosen. But you need to wait for the right time before doing this method, or you’ll damage your natural nails. Find the loose part of the nail and start lifting it up using your fingernails or a tweezer.

2. Use the Running Water from Your Faucet to Lift the Gel Polish

Now is the perfect time to soak your nails in the water. You need to use your faucet for the running water, but you must set it to warm. Place your finger under the faucet and let it soak in slow-running water. Use your other hand to start peeling off the gel polish from the lifted part in step 1. Gently push the polish off and go slow to prevent damaging your natural nails.

3. Apply Cuticle or Olive Oil to Your Nails

If you’re having a hard time peeling off the polish in step 2, proceed to this step on how to take off gel polish without acetone. You’ll need a cuticle or olive oil to help loosen the gel polish. Apply a generous amount of the oil to your nail using your other hand. Gently massage the oil and allow a few seconds to a minute before pushing off the gel polish. Slowly slide the nail of your free hand and push the polish off. Use more oil when needed.

4. File Off the Remaining Gel Polish

There will be gel polish residue remaining on your nails. You can get rid of it using a nail file. Dry your nails first before buffing the residue off. Gently move back and forth and be careful not to file your natural nails. Use the smooth side of the file to remove the gel polish residue.

Using a Nail Polish Remover

1. File the Top Layer

To help the nail polish remover penetrate the polish layers, you need to file the top layer. Gently buff the top layer with your file and be sure that the entire surface is covered.

2. Use a Cotton Ball to Apply the Nail Polish Remover

Instead of using acetone, you can use a nail polish remover. Soak a cotton ball or pad with the solution and place it on top of your nail. Allow 10 minutes for the polish to loosen.

3. Gently Peel Off the Gel Polish with a Cuticle Pusher

After 10 minutes of soaking, gently push the polish off of your nail using a cuticle pusher. Be careful in removing the polish to avoid damaging the natural nails. Don’t rush and take your time. If the polish is still hard, you can apply more solution to your nails.

4. Buff the Gel Polish Residue

Again, there will always be residue of your gel polish. For this, you need to buff them off to completely get rid of the gel polish. Be gentle in filing the residue, so you won’t damage your natural nails.

Regardless of the method you’re using, be sure to hydrate your nails. After making sure all the gel polish is removed, apply a generous amount of cuticle oil on your nails. Rub and massage it gently on your nails to help with absorption. You can also apply hand lotion to level up your hydration.

How Do Nail Salons Remove Gel Polish?

Most salons use the soak and foil procedure to remove gel polish. They are either using acetone or a nail polish remover as they prefer the fastest method to save time. If you want to stick to avoiding acetone if you visit a salon for removal, you can always ask them to use a non-acetone-based nail polish remover.

Does a Regular Nail Polish Remover Work in Removing Gel Polish?

Yes, it does, but you need to soak your nails with the solution as presented above. The procedure is not the same as removing the regular nail polish. The key here is to wait for the right time to let the solution soak into the gel layers.

Safety Precautions in Doing Gel Manicures

Ensure to Have Proper Ventilation

Whether you’re applying or removing gel nail polish, always do a procedure in a well-ventilated space. Gel polish releases fumes in the air that may be harmful to your health. Work in a room or space with a fan or an open window.

Avoid Contact with Your Eyes

Any product formulated with chemicals can be harmful to the eyes. Be careful in using the gel polish and don’t touch your eyes when applying or removing the product. If you accidentally put some product in your eyes, rinse it right away with water.

Follow the Manufacturer’s Directions in Using the Gel Nail Polish

Every gel polish brand has different instructions on how to use its products. Be sure to read each product’s directions to achieve the best results and prevent safety issues. Even UV lamps have different directions for their usage.

Maintain Clean Tools and Equipment

You should also be careful with getting bacteria into your body when doing gel manicures. Unhygienic tools and equipment can easily be homes for harmful microbes that are sources of various diseases. Clean your clippers, cuticle pushers, nail files and others with soap and water or rubbing alcohol before and after every manicure.

Don’t Over-file Your Natural Nails

It can be tempting to over-file your nails, especially when you’re in a hurry to get them done. When you over-file your nails, you can damage them, making them vulnerable to infection. Don’t rush and take time to do your manicure. Do the buffing gently and slowly to ensure safety and precision.

Wear Gloves or Apply Sunscreen or Sunblock

Protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV light by wearing UV gloves or applying sunscreen or sunblock. We strongly advise using any form of protection for your skin from UV light, especially if you love gel-based manicures.

Use High-Quality Nail Polish Products

Don’t be tempted to purchase cheap gel nail polish as these products may contain harmful ingredients or are more prone to peeling or chipping. Opt for more expensive brands as most of these are formulated with less harmful chemicals and offer lasting manicures. Pick gel nail polish from reputable brands as they have been tried by many individuals who are satisfied with their products.

The Takeaway

There are a few methods on how to take off gel polish without acetone you can try at home. These are safe and effective and don’t cause damage to your natural nails. Whether you use one method or combine two or more is also up to you. Just remember to seek professional help from a nail technician if you are not confident in doing the removal yourself.