Gel nails are legit the best thing since sliced bread. Or ceramic hair straighteners. Or laser hair removal. Anyway, they're pretty major, allowing us to rock a fierce alternative to acrylic nails for weeks on end without worrying about them chipping, and the zero dry-time is ideal for all the busy girl bosses among us.
Yep, gel nails are just great... until it's time to take them off, at which point we all start to question why we got them in the first place. If you peel them off (and who doesn't?) you're left with weak, ridged nails underneath, but let's face it, no one is going to bother going back to the salon to get them taken off by the pros (even though it is recommended).
So, we've devised the ultimate guide to getting your gels off at-home, so you can enjoy your gels knowing your natural nail strength won't suffer for it.
These are the strengthening tools every flaky nailed gal needs in her kit
How to remove gel nails at home
Step one: Gently buff the top of your gels
When we say gently, we mean very gently, and be careful not to scratch the cuticles and surrounding skin. Always use a buffer with a low 'grit', which measures how abrasive the buffer is (go for around the 100 to 300 mark).
This breaks the uppermost seal of the gel formula, to allow for the nail polish remover to penetrate more effectively.
Step 2: Wrap your nails
You'll need to buy nail polish remover with acetone in it, otherwise it won't be able to break down the gel formula.
Cut your cotton pads into 10 small squares (one for each nail) and then cut ten strips of tin foil.
Soak each cotton pad in the acetone and place on top of your buffed nail. Wrap the strip of tin foil on top and twist to secure.
Repeat for all ten nails and leave for 10 - 15 minutes.
If you find this a bit of a faff, then you can buy special clips, which do the same job as the tin foil, but stay in place properly and can be reused again and again (we tried , and were seriously impressed).
Or, if time is of the essence, try these clever remover clips from with one touchscreen compatible tip so you can continue to email (or scroll) while you soak. Genius, right?
Oh, and it's a good idea to apply a generous layer of Vaseline to the cuticle area and skin around the nails to protect it from the drying effect of the acetone.
Step three: Remove the foil and cotton pads
Don't worry if your gels are still on - that's ok. They will be soft now and able to be oh-so-gently removed off using a wooden Orange Stick or cuticle pusher. If the gel is still too hard to coax off, you'll need to wrap them again. Sorry, it's the only way.
There's a nail varnish called 'LAIDback' and the colour is even more suspicious than the name
Step four: Nourish and replenish
Your nails will be feeling a little delicate from the gels and the acetone, so make sure you replenish lost moisture and support healthy growth with a rich oil.
We love l (£10.49), which contains 21 nourishing natural oils and is a firm fave among the pros, or you can use anything with almond oil in it (nails *love* almond oil). Simply add a small drop to each nail and massage it into each nail bed and surrounding cuticle.
Finish off with a generous dollop of hand cream and bask in your nails' natural beauty.