How To Remove Hard or Soft Gel Nails Safely

Removing hard or soft gels must be done safely to protect your natural nails

You've decided to ditch the gel nails but you know if you pick or bite them off your nails will be damaged. The truth is, they can be seriously damaged, so please remove them properly.

Maybe your acrylic /hard gels nails are lifting or your brush-on gels are peeling off and natural nails are left soft, peeling, and splitting.

Let's remove the gel nails safely.

Are Your Nails Acrylic, Hard Gel, or Dip nails? 

Are you unsure of the difference? Read my blog on the differences here.

If you're ready to remove artificial/gel nails, it's tempting to just lift them off with your teeth or pick them off; it's extremely damaging to your natural nail. Layers of your natural nail come off with the artificial nail!

How To Remove Acrylic Nails/Hard Gels/Dip Nails

First, remove nail polish.

Next, begin filing the top of the remaining acrylic/hard gel/Dip Nails with a coarse nail file. Be sure to stop filing before you reach the natural nail.

This will take some time.

If you don't have the time, you will want a professional to do it.


Gather 10 cotton balls and 10 pieces of aluminum foil, approximately 4 x 4 inches.

Apply acetone to cotton ball (enough to soak)

Sit the cotton ball to top of the nail and then wrap foil around nail to secure the cotton ball on top of your nail.

Let rest 20-30 minutes, and then use a orange with stick or metal cuticle pusher to wipe polish remnants away.

Patience is what you'll need the most of. This isn't a quick process. You may even need to file your nails again with a less coarse nail file. Begin the soak process again. 

You can help the removal process along by using an orange wood stick to gently scrap remnants off. 

After gels are completely removed, wash your hands and nails thoroughly, apply a rich nail cream or great quality body/nail oil to your natural nail. Do this often (every 3-4 hours the first day).

Leave nails bare for a day or two, applying creams and/or cuticle oils throughout the day. Invest in a great nail strengthener like our Nail Fitness. and follow the directions on our web store. 

Brush on, Soak off Gels 

Gather 10 cotton balls and 10 pieces of aluminum foil, approximately 4 x 4 inches.

Apply acetone to cotton ball (enough to soak)

Sit the cotton ball to top of the nail and then wrap foil around nail to secure the cotton ball.

Let rest 10 minutes, and then wipe polish remnants away. The brush on, soak off gels by Shellac, OPI, and Gelish come off easily with this method of removal.

Here is a product we recommend for removing hard or soft gels. Americanails Fastfoils. The beauty of these wraps are that they come soaked with acetone. You simply cut one side off and slip your finger inside the wrap pouch. But, Be patient. 

Here is another brand (smaller size too) -  These acetone-soaked wraps are also great for regular polish removal too. 

After removing the soft gel completely, fill a small bowl with a good quality oil--coconut oil works great. If you have Vitamin E gel-caps, poke the gel cap and drop 2-3 drops of Vitamin E into the bowl of oil. Mix together and soak nails for 5 minutes. You may need to do this for a few days, twice a day to see a difference in the dryness.

Next, invest in a good quality nail cream and nail strengthener. Your nails will be restored to good health but it takes time. It takes less time if the gels are removed properly.


Shea Brulee Cuticle Cream, Nail Fitness Nail Strengthener, Parisians Pure| Kelli Parisian|Skincare Expert

The Natural Nail Heros

Are your nails chipping, soft, splitting?

Do you know water is the enemy to nails. The more water we're in, the softer and weaker our nails become. Use gloves when doing dishes, and apply a great Nail Cream and Nail Strengthening Polish. Use both religiously. Nails should be home manicured once a week. Use nail polish remover when removing polish only. Acetone is not necessary. It's a professional strength.

We hope you have a better understanding of how to remove hard and soft gel nails safely. If you have any questions, feel free to comment.