How to Remove Gel Nail Polish

I’m a sucker for a fresh mani.  There’s something transformative upon receiving a new coat of polish.  It’s as though I not only purchased manicured nails but an entirely new set of hands.  With that being said, it comes to no surprise that I fell in love with Gel Nail Polish; a magical way to prolong such a beautiful transformation.

With all great things come negatives, and I for one am not a fan of having to add on an additional cost at the salon to remove gel nail polish.  Removing my nail polish was something I would do as I watched tv, or read my favorite magazine – an added task to a leisurely evening.  So you can see I definitely did not feel a $10.00 fee justified.  Flash forward the world wide web, friendly chats with my beautiful nail technicians – and BAM, I give you the DIY on how to Remove Gel Nail Polish.

 How to Remove Gel Polish

The entire process requires only five items than can be found at your local drugstore.


Cotton Balls

Wooden Manicure Sticks

Foil Paper

Coarse Nail File


How to Remove Gel Polish


Begin by filing away the top coat of each nail.  Here is the part where you require a coarse nail file.  Filing away the top coat allows the acetone to fully penetrate into the polish. You should only file down the clear polish.  Once you notice you are filing away the colored nail polish – stop.

How to Remove Gel Polish

As you can tell in the picture above, the nail polish is no longer glossy but opaque.

Soak the cotton ball in acetone and place in the center of the foil paper.

How to Remove Gel Polish

Wrap your fingers with the foil paper making sure to only cover your nail with the soaked cotton ball.

Remember, you only need to cover the nail so there isn’t a need to drench the entire cotton ball.  This will only cause your entire finger to soak with acetone.

How to Remove Gel Polish

After a few minutes, <5 m, remove the foil paper.   Using the wooden manicure stick gently begin to scrape off the nail polish.  Do so gently,  this process does not require force.  If you notice you are having difficulty, stop.

How to Remove Gel Polish


  I did come across some difficulty in removing some sections but found all I needed to do was repeat the steps.

Wrapping the nail polish in acetone the second time around  requires far less time – so don’t worry.

Overall, I hope you find removing gel nail polish at home as easy as I did.  With practice, not only will this save you money but also time at the salon.

Have you tried removing gel nail polish at home?

I’d love to hear your stories.

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