At home self-isolating and wondering how to deal with your gel polish manicure that is well past its 14-day expiry date? We spoke to Tamara Di Lullo, owner of Montreal’s Candy Nail Bar and lead educator for CND and about how you can easily remove it yourself, but you do need to have a key item handy: acetone.
“The tricky part right now might be finding acetone,” Di Lullo says. “Even nail industry suppliers are talking about shortages of this product due the current world health situation. To remove a gel manicure, you do need acetone. Not conventional nail polish remover, lemon juice or, even worse, alcohol.”
If you have acetone in stock, you will also need cotton balls or makeup remover pads, some small squares of aluminum foil and a small hand towel, preferably white, so it won’t risk damage from the acetone. Start the removal process by filing the edges and surface of your nail ONLY where the gel polish covers it. Wet the cotton pad and place it on your nail and wrap up your nails tightly with the foil (shiny side inwards—and yes, it helps!) like a burrito. Wait ten minutes for the first nail, then check it out—if the gel is peeling off completely, then you can begin removing it by pushing it gently off your nail with an orange stick. “With Shellac or any gel polish, the important thing is to never pull or rip it off your nails,” Di Lullo explains. “It’s so damaging to your natural nails, so please, let’s be delicate and good to them and execute a proper removal.”
Once your nails are free and clear and you’re washed your hands, hydrate your nails and cuticles with a product like CND Solar Oil (if you have some), or you can also use coconut or olive oil which are both equally effective. Di Lullo says this time at home is a great time to leave your nails bare and focus getting them in peak natural condition. She recommends using a keratin-based treatment like CND Rescue RXX to help promote natural nail health. If you do opt for polish, choose nude or soft shades as they don’t show chips as quickly. “I do love long-wear polishes like CND’s Vinylux, which stays chip free for a week or more and dries almost instantly.”
Di Lullo says this is also a time to learn some new skills and learn how to create some simple nail art. “I recommend watching some IGTV tutorials or YouTube videos,” she says (you can watch her videos here). “All you need to create some cool designs are a few simple household objects—sponges, cling wrap, toothpicks, and old toothbrushes are all tools to play with and create. Have some fun, there are no rules!”