How long does it take to remove gel nails?

Are you wondering how long it takes to remove gel nails? Well, buckle up, buttercup, because I’ve got the inside scoop on all things gel nail removal. From potential pitfalls to pro tips, this article has everything you need to know about getting rid of your pesky gel manicure.


There’s no denying that gel nail polish is a game-changer when it comes to achieving long-lasting and chip-free manicures. But what goes up must come down – even if we’re talking about nails. As much as we love these polishes’ durability and shine, they can be quite stubborn when the time comes for them to go bye-bye.

The Short Answer

If you don’t have the patience or inclination for “the whole story,” then here’s your quick answer: removing gel nails typically takes around 30 minutes. However, depending on various factors like technique used or thickness of polish layers applied to individual fingers/ toes (i.e., some guys take longer). Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s dive into some more critical details!

What Are Gel Nails?

Gel nails are a type of artificial enhancement designed mainly for natural nails’ protection during everyday activities such as typing or dishwashing while also offering an attractive sheen with minimal maintenance required from wearers looking great day-after-day without any chipping.

Moreover, most people find gels preferable over regular nail polish since they dry in seconds under UV light and remain scratch-resistant until removed by prescriptive means.

Soapy water will not do anything unless there are cracks in between two-gel layers which can lead air/moisture bubbles caught beneath ruining nail-polish integrity+healthiness making reapplication necessary at considerable expense each time since old ones get thinner&thus likely damage more quickly comparatively plus just plain ugly promptly following application.

How Gel Nails Are Applied

While this article’s primary goal is to discuss gel nail removal, it’s crucial to understand the application process first! Here are some quick facts:

  • First, a base coat is applied to protect healthy nails and facilitate bonding.
  • Next up comes the actual gel polish (typically 2 or 3 layers).
  • Finally, a topcoat seals everything in place and provides extra shine.

Some common reasons people love gel nails include their durability, high shine quality along ease of use – even someone new can get started on them quickly since there aren’t additional steps involved compared standard versions.

The DIY Removal Method

So what’s the most popular method for removing gel nails at home? You guessed it – acetone. However long you have been inflicting your ‘gorgeous’ mani/pedi onto friends/family members well-behaved enough not to acknowledge obvious signs of chipping and needing a revamp; using chemicals risks hoarding issues with spilling or inhalation perhaps best left professionals if unsure/confused before tackling on one’s own properly (Remember: “just because we can doesn’t necessarily mean that we should”).

Here are some basic instructions for the acetone route:

  1. Gather needed supplies: aluminum foil squares, cotton balls/squares, pure acetone.
  2. Soak a small amount of cotton ball with pure acetone.
  3. Cut squares large enough to cover each nail(apply so they stay put)
  4. Wrap fingers tightly around your own SaranWrap ready-to-go rolls (or other plastic wrap) but don’t suffocate yourself!
  5. Wait for about 15 minutes while doing something else fun/eventful/productive(maybe dusting surfaces down?) leaving skin surrounding treated area unyielded as swelling might interfere ongoing procedure negatively affecting colouring consistency post-treatment completion recovery phase following drying expectation within few hours.
  6. After twenty minutes, remove foil and cotton balls.
  7. Use an orange stick to gently lift the polish from your nails.

The Professional Removal Method

If you’re looking for professional assistance with removing gel nails, then this is also highly recommended! Going through a specialist will help avoid some common mistakes when searching available products.

Here’s what happens during the professional removal process:

  1. First up, your natural nails are lightly buffed(roughing) to prepare them for soak/gel/solution soaking phase preventing topical application mishaps.
  2. Next comes a specific solution designed specifically for breaking down gel nail polish applied thoroughly over each cured finger/trunk using targeted techniques minimising unnecessary damage caused previously untreated areas(unwanted diffusion of chemicals onto skin/fingers/toes surrounding treated regions can lead undesirable negative side effects- such as burns or blemishes extending treatment beyond just party-threatening ramifications).
  3. Then they’ll be wrapped in aluminum foil (to isolate separately), so the solution doesn’t dry out too quickly(apply pressure securely/distribute evenly press) negating complete soaking rendering current adhesive resin unusable upon drying/other inconvenience brought on missed spots subsurface area newly revealed signalled imperfection.
  4. Give it about ten minutes before checking progress – if needed, re-soak until all residue gone entirely(trace amounts tend adhere).

The entire process typically takes between 30-45 minutes(depends on thickness individually) giving clients ability save time money from having professionals who most likely give touch-ups/corrections unrealistic perfection seen in magazines/fashion runways daily instead opting more holistic &natural approach self-care at home whenever possible!

Dos and Don’ts When Removing Gel Nails

Now that we’ve covered everything about gel nail removal, here are some tips to keep in mind when carrying out Do It Yourself procedures:


  • Do use pure acetone
  • Do make sure to cover each nail with a good amount of acetone
  • Do be patient – it could take up to 15 minutes for the polish to soften enough.
  • Do use a clean cotton ball or square each time.


  • Don’t rush the process. It’s always better to wait than to have half-done nails!
  • Don’t use any other products besides pure acetone
  • Don’t scrape off nail polish as this can damage your natural nails and lead them naturally weak making splitting more likely over time.
  • Lastly, don’t panic when requires additional steps which sometimes necessary already explained above properly complete procedure &all associated elements trying minimising physical harmful side-effects maximising optimal healing regimen post-treatment completion recovery phase suture submental ramification possible dependant individual respective issues faced!


In conclusion? Removing gel nails takes around 30 minutes(yeah, yeah we’ve heard[/read] before 😉)! But that shouldn’t deter you from getting those pesky polishes outta there. Whether you’re tackling DIY-style at home or seeking professional assistance, keep our tips in mind, and you’ll undoubtedly emerge unscathed – and with healthy-looking natural nails too! 🤗

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