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How to Remove Stubborn Shellac Gel Nail Polish at Home

Updated on January 17, 2018

Gel Nails

When gel nail polish is properly cured to you nail bed via a UV light, the removal process is a little more difficult. The gel nail polish adheres very well and will take some effort in removing. This is the benefit of having gel nails applied-- they don't want to come off! You will find that gel nail polish will remain intact on your nails for at least 2-3 weeks.

Gel Nails are Stubborn

Removing gel nails can be quite difficult compared to regular nail polish. Regular nail polish remover will not successfully remove your gel nail polish. Since gel nails adhere to your nail and are cured via a UV lamp, the removal process is different. The following removal techniques are not harmful to your nail or nail bed.

Methods of Removal:

You will need 100% ACETONE specifically.

Simply soak nails in 100% acetone with a cotton ball. Or try the other easier methods listed below.

1. Nail Caps

This simple invention allows you to fill each nail cap with 100% acetone and then serves as a soaking cap for each individual nail.

2. Nail Tray

Simply pour 100% acetone into this tray and soak nails for 5 minutes. No mess!

3. Nail Pick

Use a sharp-ended nail tool to lift up the edges of the gel nail polish.

4. Aluminum Foil

Apply 100% acetone to nails via a cotton ball or tissue paper and then cover nails with aluminum foil for 5 minutes.


5. Gel Nail Pad Removers

Purchasing already soaked pads with 100% acetone makes it easy on the go. Simply use pads to remove gel nail polish.


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    • harmony155 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Pamela N Red: Gel nails are great because they last so long but very stubborn when it comes to removal!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      I needed this article a few weeks ago. I treated myself to gel nails for Mother's Day and couldn't get the darn things off. I ended up damaging a couple of my nails before reading I needed to use pure acetone.

      Thanks for the information in case I ever decide to get this type manicure again.

    • sleekhair profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome work about Gel Nail Polish.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      6 years ago from Upstate, New York

      It sounds as if acetone is a miracle fixer for all things nails and for removing gunk on curling irons!

      You have great helpful hints and i hope you keep providing them.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Useful advice. I have not had to worry about this type of gel polish, but it's good to know how to deal with it.

    • harmony155 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Emma: I remember how frustrated I was the first time I tried to manually remove my gel nails. I hope these tips help you in the future!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      I have just removed my own gel nails, but it took a long time to find some advice on it!

      I soaked my nails in acetone and peeled them off. It wasn't a pleasant experience. If I get gels again, I will use one of your tips on how to to it a little painlessly. Thanks!


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