Pinterest Test: Gel Nail Polish Removal

I love gel nail polish.  

It’s super durable and last’s 3-4 weeks on me even with the heavy amount I use my hands at work PLUS you leave the salon with DRY Nails!  Yay no wait time, BUT there is a downside.

Around week 3 when they start to grow out and look like badly applied press-on-nails, I begin to get a horrible claustrophobic feeling of being trapped in them.  All I can think is “get them off, get them off!” With no time (or extra cash) to go to a salon to have them removed what should you do?

Removing them at home can be quite a task and there are a million different expensive “gel nail” removers on the market.  Which is best?  For that answer I turned to my favorite spot for DIY solutions: Pinterest.

I decided to test out a pin that I have seen quite alot on how to remove gel polish using tinfoil, acetone and cotton balls.


Here are the instructions I got on Pinterest:

What you’ll need:

– about 15 minutes (the time varies on different pins from 10 to 30 minutes)

– Pure Acetone (NOT Nail Polish remover- it must be PURE acetone)

– 10 Cotton Balls

– 10 small strips of aluminum foil

You are then supposed to soak the cotton balls in the acetone and  apply 1 acetone soaked cotton ball to each nail and wrap it in tinfoil.


Wait 15 minutes then remove, peel off polish and file.

Did it work?  Well yes and no.

First of all many of the pins omit a few important steps and things to consider.

Before you begin the process you should file the surface of your polished nail with a coarse grit file. This will “Scuff it up” and make it easier for the acetone to do it’s job.

Why foil?  The aluminum foil traps your body heat in, which will act as a catalyst for the Acetone.  You may have noticed at your salon the nail technician place the bowl of acetone inside a bowl of hot water and then cover your hands with a towel while they soak..this is the same principle.

It is really difficult to wrap the foil on the second hand while you have foil on the first!  My suggestion would be to do 1 hand at a time or to have someone help you.  Also be careful when wrapping because the acetone tends to squirt out of the cotton ball and go everywhere when you apply pressure to the tinfoil.

After removing the foil don’t expect the polish to be magically gone.  The acetone will not dissolve the gel (as it does with regular nail polish), it will soften the product and weaken it’s bond to your nail and “lift” it so that you can easily scrape it off.  Scrape the polish with an orange stick or cuticle pusher to remove the polish.  If it doesn’t all come off the first time you may need to repeat the entire process.

Once all the polish is off there will still be some residue.  Use a block nail buffer to gently buff off the excess, wash your hands then apply cuticle oil to the entire nail and let it soak in few hours before polishing.

Better than going back to the salon and paying a ridiculous amount of money to have the gel polish removed?  Yes.

Easier than just soaking your nails in a bowl of Acetone?  Probably not.

How do you remove your gel polish?

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  1. I LOVE gel manis and I think the secret is the waiting 15 minutes before peeling it off… that’s what I have been doing wrong! Thanks for the tip.

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