Here's what happened when I tried to remove my own gel mani for the first time

Money-saver or total disaster?

30 Aug 2018

PRODUCT:

Gel Polish Remover Kit, £19.99,

THE HYPE:

Remember the Stylpro makeup brush cleanser that changed our lives? The Stylfile kit is from the same company, and considering how quick and easy the former made our brush cleaning routine, we've got high hopes for some mani removal magic.

REVIEWER:

Samantha, Deputy Beauty Editor

BEAUTY BIO:

I'm lucky to have quite strong nails and prefer to keep them short to prevent breakage. I only get gel manis occasionally, maybe once every 2-3 months because I hate having to go back in to get them removed! I love how long-lasting and shiny the colour is though.

STYLFILE GEL POLISH REMOVER KIT:

Call me lazy (because it's true), but I've never removed my own gel mani before. I always just pay the £10 or so to have it removed somewhere, usually at Debenham's in-store at . But that's the main reason I tend not to get gel manis very often. Because I have to go somewhere to get it taken off. And I'm very allergic to effort.

But the shiny, long-lasting effects are getting damn hard to resist, so I thought I'd try to remove my next one myself, so that I can save money on removal and be able to do it in the comfort of my own home.

The Stylfile Gel Polish Remover Kit I used came with an S-file 2, a set of both finger and toe clips, four wooden sticks and a GIANT bottle of acetone solution (400ml! That will last foreverrrr).

When I opened the box and poured out the contents, I was a bit panicked to see there was no written instruction form (I'm new here - help!), but luckily I remembered GLAMOUR had written an article on how to remove gel polish, so I opened it up to follow.

I started by filing down the gel polish, using the 250 grit side. The file itself is pretty peculiar, shaped like an 'S' with a cuticle pusher on one side, and an under-nail skimmer on the other. The shape is incredibly convenient for filing the edges of your nail, because the 'S' creates smooth, rounded edges in one swift movement - defo keeping that one in my kit.

Next, I soaked a cotton pad in the acetone solution and wrapped it over my thumb securing it with the clip. It was at this point I realised the acetone bottle had instructions on the back so they didn't leave you hanging after all! It said to leave on for 10-15 minutes, so I finished the rest of my hand and did just that.

The clips are GENIUS. I could still go about my business while I waited and they were comfortable for the duration, without letting the cotton pad slip at all.

After about 10 minutes I removed the thumb clip and grabbed a wooden stick to see if I could lift the gel polish off. Starting from the cuticle, pushing my way out, the polish cracked and scraped away with some force, but not a huge effort.

I was so scared I would scrape away part of my nail or break it towards the tip, but it seemed to be left in pretty good shape and unscathed. There were little tufts of gel left here and there, but these easily came away with a quick buff.

As I went to remove the rest of my gels, it got easier and easier, I suppose because the acetone was left a little longer. My ring finger polish was completely cracked and already mostly off the nail when I got to it! But I'm not sure if this was due to the timing, or perhaps the manicurist missed a coat. Either way, it came off like a dream, so when I did my second hand I waited closer to 12-13 minutes with the acetone and it definitely made a difference.

One I finished both hands, I gave each nail a quick wipe down and popped on a cuticle oil. I think the whole process, including wait time for both hands, would've taken between 30-40 minutes.

FINAL VERDICT:

The entire process was a whole lot easier than I expected and my nails are thankfully no worse for wear. It took a lot longer than an in-salon appointment, but I think I would get faster and more confident each time I did it. Plus, you can still do things around the house during the wait time, which is a bonus. I think overall, if you do get gel manis all the time, this £20 kit would be a better investment than paying for professional removal all the time.