I have done several nail art tutorial with regular polish as well as with Shellac or gel polish. I received a comment/question on how to correctly remove the gel polish. As a Cosmetologist and Nail Technician I sometimes forget that not every beauty trick I know is common knowledge. I have soaked so many acrylics/gels off of myself and others I can’t even count. I have tried many methods, but want to share with you the quickest, best, easiest, etc. way to soak off your “fake” nails or gel polish. The method I will be using will have you wrapping your nails in foil. This is because the foil helps trap the heat of your finger in with the acetone. Acetone breaks down gel/acrylics much quicker when warm. The days of soaking your hand in a bowl of cold acetone are gone; Not only is this way damaging to your skin, but acetone will strip all the moisture from your cuticles and skin causing possible hangnails and infection.


  • Tin Foil
  • Cotton Balls
  • Acetone
  • Cuticle Pusher


Begin by cutting foil into 4-5″ squares or 5″ x 8″ rectangles, depending on which wrapping method you choose from below. Cut cotton balls into halves or thirds.Gel Polish Removal

Place foil under nail/hand. Take cotton ball and dampen with acetone. Place directly onto nail polish. Gel Polish Removal

Wrap foil around nail in one of the below methods. Method 1 – Wrap each finger individually and then twist the top of the foil closed.

Gel Polish RemovalGel Polish RemovalGel Polish RemovalMethod 2 – Wrap four fingers together, fold the top down, and then thumb separately.

Gel Polish RemovalGel Polish RemovalGel Polish RemovalGel Polish RemovalLet acetone sit on nails for 5 minutes. Unwrap the foil and gently scrape off the weakened gel. I use my cuticle pusher, but you can use anything, i.e. popcicle stick, handle of pen or paintbrush, whatever you have lying around. The gel will slide off easily. If only part of the gel comes off place the cotton ball back on nail and wrap in the foil for another 3-5 minutes.

Gel Polish RemovalGel Polish RemovalGel Polish RemovalThis is a picture that shows how damaging acetone can be to the skin. You can see exactly where the cotton ball was sitting on my skin. Please don’t soak your hand in a bowl of acetone!

Gel Polish RemovalNow that the gel/acrylic is all removed you can either paint again with gel polish or use a buffer/shiner to shine the natural nail. Note: Remember to use cuticle oil after you are all done using the acetone to prevent hangnails or excessive dryness.

Baby, It's Cold OutsideIf you have any questions please leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail. Thank you.

Gel Polish Removal

Pinterest Picture