Taking Off Your UV Gel Manicure Yourself

Love Shellac manicures but hate how you have to go into the nail spa to get them removed? Here's the secret to removing them yourself at home.

Shellac manicure

The beauty of Shellac, Axxium and other soak-off manicure products is how chip-proof they are. They truly live up to their promise of staying shiny and chip-free for two to three weeks.

But the downside? Removal time and cost. You have to go back to the nail salon and pay the nail aesthetician to remove these products, which costs anywhere from $5 (if you combine it with an appointment to get another manicure) to $15 and up, and takes at least 15 minutes — more time out of your busy schedule.

The good news is you can remove these products at home — but not by picking at your nails and pulling off the nail colour, which will remove a layer of your nail bed and weaken your nails. It's a simple process -- all you need are a few key products and some patience.

What you need

  • 100 percent pure acetone
    (Your local drugstore may not carry 100 percent acetone; look for it at the hardware store
    or at a beauty supply store.)
  • cotton pads
  • strips of foil
  • a nail file
  • wooden manicure sticks

How to take it off

Start by using the nail file to rough up the top layer of your nail colour. This will help remove some of the acetone-proof sealant that kept your nail colour intact for weeks.

Next, soak a cotton pad in acetone, apply to the surface of your nail and fix into place by wrapping foil tightly around the tip of your finger. Repeat for the rest of your fingers.

Let soak for 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and cotton pad. The product should be flaking off your nail. Using a manicure stick, gently scrape off the nail colour. If it is not coming off very easily, reapply the acetone-soaked cotton pad and foil and let soak another five minutes and then attempt again. FYI, if you have Axxium on your nails, this is more of a gel-type manicure and will be more difficult to remove than Shellac.

When the product has soaked long enough, the nail colour should scrape off easily. To give your nails some TLC, rub in some cuticle oil onto each nail bed after removing the Shellac.

And voila — bare nails ready for your next manicure.

More beauty articles that may interest you

The rules for great, healthy nails
Easy DIY nail art
6 Manicures that'll last you longer than a day or two

Tags: manicure dos and don'ts manicure tips

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