How To Remove Gel Nails

Almost all gels (with very few exceptions), cannot be soaked off. The fact that their are non-porous and non-soluble has a lot to do with how and why they work so well. Gels need to be filed off by hand or carefully removed with a drill.


The basic procedure is to thin down the gel until it is almost completely gone without damaging the natural nail underneath. Be sure to address the cuticle, side-wall and free-edge areas to eliminate any ridges or lifting. You will find that gels file off with minimal effort or time, without the need to expose the client to the dehydrating effects of soaking.

It is fine, and in fact desireable to leave a very thin layer of gel on the natural nail - which is virtually undetectable and adds a little extra strength during the conversion time. This method works especially well with a regularly maintained manicure program.

The only exception to the above is "rubber-based" gels, which will dissolve in acetone and other removers (although filing them off is still quicker, less messy, and better for clients' skin and nails). This very charecteristic of being able to be soaked off makes them chemically and physically differant than all other "regular" gels. This type of gel tends to be very soft and flexible (too flexible), and is generally not recommended for professional technicans by this author.

All removals should be followed by a reconditioning manicure (see manicure section) with a follow-up manicure appointment in 1- 2 weeks.

Total time is about the same amount of time as it would take to perform a fill-in procedure. This amount of time includes manicuring (complete with polish) the nails after filing and buffing to remove. Therefore, if a client does not advise you inadvance of her appointment that she needs a removal, then there is no time problem.

Price for a removal (with manicure) should be the same as the client's fill price would be for that appointment slot.

Step-by-Step Lesson on Removal of Gels