The easy (and affordable) way to remove gel polish at home without destroying your nails

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TKTKKT. (Photo: Getty Images)
We have the ultimate DIY solution for removing gel polish at home to make your life a whole lot easier. (Photo: Getty Images)

Gel polish is one of the best beauty inventions of all time — but it’s signature glossy perfection comes with a downside: removal.

Chipped nail polish comes and goes, but a gel manicure can basically withstand the apocalypse. Unfortunately, a simple swipe of acetone won’t do the trick and trying to peel off the polish will only destroy your nails. But if you don’t feel like making a trip to the salon and shelling out money for removal, we have a DIY solution that will make your life a whole lot easier.

Follow along below, and stock up on the affordable essentials to make at-home gel polish removal a breeze.

CND SolarOil Nail & Cuticle Care

CND SolarOil Nail & Cuticle Care. (Photo: Amazon)
CND SolarOil Nail & Cuticle Care. (Photo: Amazon)

Starting with a simple nail file, which you probably already own, gently buff down the top coat, including your tips, so the polish is no longer lustrous. The point here is to rough up the top layer to let the acetone soak in.

Next, load up on cuticle oil on the skin surrounding each nail to create a protective barrier from the acetone soak. Do this again once the removal process is done to nourish the nail bed, too.

Shop it: $9,

Makartt Gel Polish Remover Wraps and Cuticle Pusher

Makartt Gel Polish Remover Wraps and Cuticle Pusher. (Photo: Amazon)
Makartt Gel Polish Remover Wraps and Cuticle Pusher. (Photo: Amazon)

Next, using these convenient foil wraps, pour enough acetone to soak the entire cotton pad and wrap tightly around each finger. The great part about these small pads is that each one has just enough cotton to cover the surface of the nail surface.

As one 5-star reviewer points out, this method is way easier than using cotton balls and aluminum foil from the kitchen. “This product is amazing! I was skeptic, why can’t I tuck an acetone soaked cotton ball in my own aluminum foil and get the same result? Here’s why. This foil is designed to wrap easily, as with one hand, around your finger and stay put! The pad is exactly in the right position for the nail, and does not move or slip. What used to be an hour soak off job literally becomes a 10-15 minute job and while you are waiting, you can still use the other hand!” raved the customer. “This product is a time saving, nail saving, great find! Buy it, you won’t regret it.”

This kit comes with a handy metal tool to help gently scrape off the softened polish once the soaking process is complete (it’s usually about 10 to 15 minutes). And while many said these made the removal process so easy there was zero scraping required, one reviewer noted it was a quick process using the tool.

“These wraps are awesome. I'm able to get my gel polish off with very minimal scraping and it comes off quickly. Highly recommended,” wrote the buyer.

Shop it: $12,

Esarora Nail Polish Remover Clips Set with Cotton Pads

Esarora Nail Polish Remover Clips Set with Cotton Pads. (Photo: Amazon)
Esarora Nail Polish Remover Clips Set with Cotton Pads. (Photo: Amazon)

If the aluminum wrap isn’t for you, we suggest these reusable clips as an alternative. Just add your acetone-soaked cotton and you’re ready to go (the set comes with some cotton flats but you can easily use your own pads and rounds when you run out).

“I have mobility issues in my hands and the clips made the task of removing nail polish much easier than trying to clumsily fold foils over my nails,” explained one 5-star reviewer who shared a hack. “The clips were secure but not tight; no pinching whatsoever. I doubled the number of nail wipe cotton pads included by using half of a pad for each nail. I cut each pad in half, folded each piece in half, applied the remover, and then placed one folded wipe over each nail securing with the clip. Thank you to whoever thought of this!”

Shop it: $10,

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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