Switch to Afrikaans

How to remove your gel manicure easily – and safely – at home

Simple and effective!
gel nails


Many of us spend a lot of time and money making sure our nails look good, with gel manicures being the treatment of choice. And while they last longer than DIY ones, we have always been led to believe that they need to be removed at the salon, which means even more time and money. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this complicated, because there are ways to remove them at home at a fraction of the cost without damaging your nails. Here’s how. 

Pin this article for later! For more, follow Good Housekeeping on Pinterest.

Related: This is the best manicure colour to make your hands look younger

What you’ll need:

  • Acetone 
  • Tinfoil
  • 10 cotton-wool balls
  • Cuticle oil
  • Hand cream

Related: Three ways to make a manicure last

How to do it:

  1. Soak the cotton-wool balls in acetone until they are completely saturated. 
  2. Cut or tear the tinfoil into 10 small squares, about 5cm x 5cm. Use them to secure the soaked cotton-wool balls to each finger so that they are on top of your nails. Wait for about 15 minutes – and perhaps turn on the TV as a distraction, as your hands will be out of commission!
  3. After 15 minutes it’s time to remove the foil and cotton wool. While some of the gel polish may have fallen off on its own, some of it might require a bit of elbow grease to remove. Pop them off by working a nail stick underneath where they have lifted. Gently does it!
  4. Once your gel manicure is all gone, wash your hands thoroughly to remove any leftover acetone and then moisturise them using a nourishing hand cream and follow up with a cuticle oil. Acetone is very drying, so it’s important to make sure that you give your nails some TLC after the ordeal. 

Now the next time you’ll need to visit your local salon is for a fresh new colour!

Photo: iStock/kobrin_photo


What biting your nails says about you, according to science

100 years of nail art that will inspire your next manicure

Yes, an at-home mani can look good

Like this?
to our Free Good Housekeeping Newsletter
‘I didn’t shampoo my hair for 7 months and this is what happened’

Read on, even if you are grossed out by the thought!