Technique Tuesday: Proper Gel-Polish Removal

on October 8 | in Salon Services | by | with Comments Off on Technique Tuesday: Proper Gel-Polish Removal

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A few weeks ago I went to a local salon to get my gel-polish removed. Things were going smoothly; the friendly nail technician used foil to wrap small acetone-soaked balls of cotton around my nail plates.

But after a couple minutes, she took the wraps off and began scraping away at my still-stiff manicure with a metal pusher. Now I know any kind of nail enhancement service isn’t necessarily “natural” per se, but this just didn’t feel safe.

When I questioned the tech, she said she developed this quicker method for busy clients and ensured me this wouldn’t damage my nails after a quick final buff.

According to Paul Bryson, a chemist for OPI, when techs cut down on the soak-off time and resort to prying or peeling the gel-polish, they’re taking part of the natural nail plate off with the gel. Incorrect removal can cause pits, cracks, and scrapes as well.

White streaks and scrapes were definitely visible on my nails later that day. I hope you haven’t experienced something similar, but just in case, let’s brush up on proper gel-polish removal so we can stay in control of our health the next time we visit a salon.


-Gel-polish should come off easily without heavy or forceful scraping.

-Make sure your nail technician is following the soak-off time indicated by the manufacturer of the removal product.

-Sometimes it takes longer than the recommended soak-off time depending on the gel-polish wearer and her chemistry.

-A simple orangewood stick should be enough to do the trick. If your gel-polish is not pushing off easily with an orangewood stick, it means you need to soak the gel-polish longer.


If you look closely, you can still see some of the white streaks and scrapes left behind from improper gel-polish removal. Thankfully they’re looking much better two weeks later!

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