How to Remove Gel Nail Polish At Home, with Acetone, without Aluminum Foil.

It is possible to easily remove gel nail polish from natural nails at home. Biting or peeling gel nail manicures is a bad habit and it will damage your nail beds. Here is a simple step by step procedure to remove gel nails without going to the salon. Results are great and there’ll be no damage to your nails.

Gel Nail Polish, Why Is It Hard To Remove It?

Gel nail polish is a unique formula of nail lacquer that is cured under LED or ultraviolet lamp to harden it. It takes 2-3 weeks without chipping making it more practical and better than other manicures.

When applying gel nail polish, there are several steps taken; there is the application of power bond, gel polish base coat, color application and gel polish top coat, not forgetting the use of LED lamp or UV lamp in between application of the products. This is just a brief summary, but the actual process is long and takes a lot of skill; hence, the reason is why its removal is hard and may cause damage if a proper method is not taken.

Remove Gel Nail Polish with Acetone and Aluminum Foil

This is an easy way to take off gel nails. It is effective and requires very time to get back your fresh natural nails.

Items needed:

  • Cotton balls
  • Aluminum Foil
  • 100% pure acetone or nail posh remover
  • Paper towel or regular towel
  • Nail file with a fine-grit side and coarse-grit side
  • Nail buffer
  • Orange/small stick or metal cuticle pusher

Make sure the items are clean and well sanitized to avoid infection.


  1. Begin by setting up a beauty station. This reduces the time used and prevents you from making a mess all over.
  • Use a towel or small towel to cover over the beauty station.
  • Cut the aluminum foil into small rectangular or square pieces that will fit around the nail and can seal the top the finger (around 3’ by 3’). Ten pieces. One for each finger.
  • Separate or cut the cotton ball into little pieces just enough size for each nail, also ten pieces are enough.

Coarse Filing

  1. Use the nail file’s coarse-grit side to get rid of the top coat of the gel nail polish; they will come off quickly. Do it gently you don’t want to go to dip to your natural nail. Just file enough to take off the shiny gel top coat so as to allow the acetone to penetrate the coat. 

    Filing to Remove Gel Nail Polish

    Use a Coarse Emery Board to Remove the Top Coat


3. Saturate one piece of the cotton ball in acetone just enough for it to be wet. Cover the nail squarely with the cotton filled with acetone. Make sure to cover the tip of the nail and also the cuticles to ensure the cotton has contact with all area of the nail.

Wrap your finger tip with one piece of aluminum foil to secure the cotton ball on the nail in place. Repeat this on the other nails.

Remove Gel Nails with Aluminum Foil

Remove Gel Nails with Aluminum Foil

4. Keep fingers like this for about fifteen minutes.

Scraping Off

5. Gently start removing the foils one by one; you can press on the foil with your fingers then pull. By doing this, some of the gel polish comes off. Use the orange or small stick or metal cuticle pusher to scrape the polish off the gel nail polish remainders.


6. Finally use the nail buffer to smoothen your nails and remove the residue polish left. Your fingers are going to become dry because of the acetone, so use cuticles oil or cream to re-hydrate and rejuvenate your nails and cuticles.

Nail Buffer

Use a buffer to Smoothen Nails and Remove Gel Nail Polish Resudue

When Using Aluminum Foil and Acetone to Remove Gel Nail Polish

The process is effortless because the polish comes out gently when you lift them off. The gentle and careful procedure is practiced to avoid scratches and damage on the natural nail. When you are done, use the cotton ball to remove any left-over polish.

If you have white spots on your nails after the polish removal, it means that there was a lot of force use when removing and acetone was not given enough time to sink in or penetrate the polish. So give it time then remove the polish gently and slowly.

Gel nail polish and acetone weakens the nails. It is advisable to stay for a few days without reapplying gel nail polish, to let them rejuvenate and get a bit stronger.

NB. Remember that ordinary nail polish remover is not as effective, compared to 100% pure acetone. Acetone fills uncomfortable and is a little tingly, but this gets better with time.

Remove Gel Nail Polish without Aluminum Foil

Cutting up pieces of aluminum foil and tying them around your nails may be tedious and time wasting. Well, there’s a simple way to remove gel nail polish without the aluminum foil menace. Here’s how


  1. Set up a small station
  2. You need two bowls, one bigger than the other
  3. In the small bowl, put acetone
  4. In the larger one, put in warm water
  5. Place the small bowl with acetone in the large one with warm water. This makes sure your acetone is warm throughout the removal process. Warm acetone soaks into the gel nail polish faster. Note that acetone is flammable and cannot be warmed in the microwave or stove.
  6. Dip all your fingers into the acetone and allow them to soak for at least 10 minutes without peeking
  7. Once the polish is soaked, used the end of an orange wood stick to scrap in off. Continue to do this for each finger until all the polish is removed.
  8. Once the gel polish is completely removed, trim your nails and give them a final smooth buffer
  9. Finally, moisturize your hands- acetone is very drying. Your hands will need lots of lotion after gel nail polish removal with acetone.

This procedure may actually take longer than when you use aluminum foil. To avoid this, allow your nails to soak in longer without taking a peek at them.

How to Remove Gel Nail Polish at Home Using Sugar

Sugar has been touted to be gel nail polish remover. I haven’t tried this personally but I read quite a lot on people who say this worked for them. Here is how to:

  1. In a small bowl, add a tablespoon of white sugar and isopropyl
  2. Mix them well
  3. Soak a cotton pad in this mixture and use it to remove gel nail polish as you normally do

I personally think that this remedy is a sham. This will probably work as a normal nail polish remover. All you’ll end up with is a sweet mess.

Try Nail Soakers

Nail soakers are perfect for removing gels nail polish and acrylics. They are faster and require only a small amount of acetone. They come in a pack of 10.  Nail soakers are long lasting and can be reused.

Use Nail Soakers to Remove Gel Nails

Use Nail Soakers to Remove Gel Nails

Tips that can help

  • You can apply cuticle oil or Vaseline on your nails and cuticles, to counter the effects of acetone.
  • Start with the non-dominant hand. It results to easier and faster.
  • Use the Metal natural pusher to scrape the remaining polish off its better off than the orange stick, but be more careful it’s simpler to scratch your natural nail or course other damages.
  • Avoid peeling the gel nail polish off or using a file to remove all part of it; you might not like the results so just use this method, and all will be well.

Video on How to Remove Gel Nail Polish at Home

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