How to Remove Gel Nail Polish Without Damaging Your Nails

Most people are aware that it is not easy to remove gel nail polish and would love to know how to remove nail gel polish without damaging your nails.

Gel nail polish are hugely popular among ladies, and a lot of us would take it over the conventional nail polish. It is difficult to destroy, and can last for as long as a fortnight or more. However, after some time, you will start seeing signs of wear and tear and ultimately peeling off till you have to remove it.

Gel nail polish is made with more reliable and durable materials, and this explains why it doesn’t fade or chip off like the standard nail polishes. Removing the nail gel polish is not like that of the normal ones, and you need to follow some steps to remove it gently without damaging your nails.

To make this happen, this post will discuss the proven steps on how to remove gel nail polish without damaging your nails:

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish Safely at Home

1. File your nails:

This is about the first step in removing gel nail polish without a problem. This is done on the face of the gel polish so that it can soak well.

2. Protect your skin and cuticles:

Acetone dries a lot, so you need to take some time to coat the nail with a cream or oil to safeguard your skin. Don’t overdo it. A drop is okay for a good result.

3. Soak the cotton balls thoroughly:

Put water into a bowl with any nail remover and soak up to 10 cotton wraps of cotton wool in it.

4. Put your nails around an aluminum foil:

Cut out a 10 3-inch squares of aluminum foil, making one for each finger. Then take the wet cotton wool and wrap it around your nails. This can get messed up quickly, so I advise that you wrap your weak hand first. If you have a stronger right hand, wrap your left hand first, and if you have a stronger left hand, wrap your right hand first. Then allow it to relax for around 15 minutes.

5. Check your progress:

Look into one of the wrapped fingers. If the gel has started falling off the nail, it means you can start the next step. If it has not, re-wrap the finger and wait for another 10 minutes.

6. Removal:

Remove the wrap and put a little pressure on the nail. The gel should then slide off easily with the cotton wool, and any remaining particles can be extracted with a wooden nail stick.  

7. Hydrate your nails:

It is essential to put your nails underwater or wash them thoroughly after the gel nail polish comes off. You should also apply the cuticle cream on the nail beds.

If you are polishing the nails immediately, it is not a must you do this process of hydration. Instead, allow your nails to rest for sometime before trying to polish them again.

Here are other various ways you can remove gel nail polish at home without damaging your nails

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish Without Acetone

Acetone can be severe because it extracts the natural oils out of the skin. Here are steps on how you can remove gel nail polish without acetone:

1. Lift Part of the Gel Nail.

  • It is advisable to wait until the nails are about to chip off before starting this process. Check for a loose spot and lift up an angle of the gel nail with tweezers or your fingernail.
  • Trying out to peel off the gel nail after a fortnight will help reduce the harm done to your nails since the gel would have eased and chipped off a bit.
  • You should then put the lifted edge underwater and push off the gel nail polish. Afterward, put the nail underwater for some time so it won’t get damaged.          

2. Loosing the Gel Nail Polish Through Soaking

  • Put a bowl of warm water down and add soap and salt in it. Ensure you use a bowl that is big enough to take both of your hands at once. Add a drop of salt and dish soap.
  • Ensure the water is warm, or it won’t be strong enough to remove the gel nail polish. If the water gets cold during the process of removing it, then you need to add more warm water.

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish From Acrylic Nails

To remove gel nail polish from acrylic nails, make use of a non-acetone polish remover. Acetone has the capacity to remove your acrylics, and it is essential that you use a non-acetone nail polish remover.  

  • Put nail polish remover on cotton wool and ensure it is enough to make it wet, but not dropping. You can also make use of a surgical gauze pad if you want. It will leave less fuzz on your nails as you remove the nail polish.
  • Hold the cotton wool on the nail to dissolve the polish.
  • Press the cotton wool on the nail down for 3-5 seconds before rubbing it up the nail. Repeat this process until the polish has dissolved and gone.
  • Replace the cotton balls as needed.
  • During these processes, you need a minimum of three cotton pieces of wool to remove the nail polish on your nails.

However, you might need some more depending on how big the nail polish on your fingers are. You should always change the cotton wool if the wool gets stuck with your nail, starts to dry out or drag on the face of the acrylic.

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish Extension

To remove gel polish extension, follow the steps below;

1. Trimming and Filing the Nails

  • Remove any decorations on your nails with nail clippers, then soak them in water.
  • Then trim your nail edges and ensure you are careful not to hurt yourself.
  • File off the top coat of gel on every nail gently to have the base coat. You can do this with an e-file, which is an electronic tool for buffing, sanding, and polishing acrylic or gel nails. If you don’t have one, you can make use of the regular nail file to gently extract the gel coat so that the base coat is open. The base coat is always a shiny white color that’s lighter than the real nails.

2. Soaking Your Nails in Acetone

  • Before wrapping your nails to hold the acetone together, use scissors to cut the aluminum foil into ten places to cater for all the fingers. Cut it is in such a way that it will cover the fingers well.
  • Soak the cotton wool in acetone and put on each nail. Check it well so it won’t dry out and get mashed up with the polish residue.
  • Allow the acetone to contact the gel well, usually around 15 minutes or less, and allow it to come off by itself. You can also set a stopwatch to keep you consistent with time to check.

3. Remove the foil and gently scrape off any loosened gel from your nails.

  • The foil and cotton balls to take a glance at your nails, and set the nails and cotton aside to use later.
  • Use your finger or the cuticle pusher to remove the gel that has come off because of acetone.
  • Don’t force it off. If it doesn’t come off well, soak it again

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish on Toes

These are the steps to remove gel nail polish without damaging your toes

1. File your toes

  • It is advisable to buff the toe wells before trying to remove the gel nail polish.

2. Soak the toes

  • Put your leg in a bowl of water with any nail remover and soak it thoroughly until it gets hydrated long enough to fall off itself.
  • Place cotton on the toenails and wrap it in a tin aluminum foil. Check from time to time to ensure that it is covered well.

3. Wait

  • It is strongly advised that you should wait for around 15 minutes before eradicating them. Some experts believe it is essential to allow the gel lift up before removing the cotton.
  • However, this is the worst part because you can’t do a lot of things at this moment. You can’t even move to the freezer to get your favorite drink.

4. Finish everything up

  • After waiting for the gels in acetone to soak thoroughly, the gel nail polish will start falling off by itself. There are some that don’t come off quickly. You should use a cuticle pusher to remove the rest.  
  •  However, there is a myth that removing gels makes the nail unhealthy. It is not real, but you need to remove the nail in the right way.  

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish Without Foil

To remove gel nail polish without any foil, here is what to do:

  • You need to soak your nails in warm water and then add a few drops of soap and a spoon of salt.
  • Ensure the nails stay underwater for at least twenty minutes before peeling off the color.

However, it is strongly recommended to moisturize the nails after to prevent damage to the nail.  

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish Without Sugar

Removing nail gel polish with sugar is not something that is new. A lot of people have used it successfully and here is how to go about it:

After using nail polish for some time, it is understandable that it will take some time to remove.

  • Soak your nails in warm water
  • Before doing anything, put your nails inside lukewarm water for some time to soften it.
  • Use Aluminum foil to wrap the nail with sugar
  • Get some sugar and wrap it around the nail.
  • Use nail removal to wrap everything up
  • After wrapping the nails with the foil and sugar, remove the foil and put the nails under a nail remover till the gel polish comes off by itself.

Frequently Asked Questions

What nail polish remover removes gel polish?

Gel nail polish is durable and lasts longer. They are excellent alternatives to the regular nail polish. Despite its durability, it is difficult to remove. Even though some people go to a salon to take care of their nails, you can remove your gel nail polish at home without damaging your nails.

Apart from the home remedy earlier talked about, here are some nail polish remover that can remove the gel polish safely

  1. Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Remover, 6 Ounce (Packaging May Vary)
  2. Cutex Ultra-Powerful Nail Polish Remover 6.76 Fl Oz
  3. Sally Hansen Nail Polish Remover, Strengthening – 8 oz

Is it okay to peel off nail gel polish?

Everyone knows the pain of peeling off gel polish, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it is a bad thing to do. Peeling off the nail gel polish can damage your nails and have an adverse effect on you.

Peeling off your gel nail polish will peel off the upper layers of your nails also. This can make the nails chip off, especially with continuous peeling, which may weaken the nail as time goes on.

This leads to changing faces and textures on the nails, making them disorganized and dry. If you are used to peeling your nails, you may have to stop manicure or nail polish until you have overcome the urge to peel your nails again.

It is not right to peel off nail gel polish, but if you have already done that, you should allow it to recover before doing any other thing.

How much does it cost to remove gel nail manicure?

You can get gel nail manicure remover on Amazon between $5-$10 and in salons also.


Gel nail polish is good alternatives to the regular nail polish because they are durable and work on for like two-three weeks before it starts peeling off. Even though they are strong, they are difficult to remove. There are different ways on how to remove gel nail polish without damaging your nails in this post.

Also, some nail polish removers can help you remove gel nail polish and they are affordable and effective.  You can get the gel nail remover on Amazon affordably with a favorable shipping rate that will save you some bucks.

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