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Gel polish is popular among nail polish wearers for its chip-free and long-lasting finish, despite its costliness and difficulty to remove.

With the Circuit Breaker in the way of having our nails done at our favourite nail salons, removing the polish at home ourselves seems to be the only option – if you really can’t stand how they look now. Instead of picking off your polish, why not give these two safe methods a try?

Method 1: Foil method


This basic method is probably what your manicurist does to remove the stubborn polish, while causing minimal damage to your nail beds, unlike peeling or picking, which takes off layers of the nail, making it more susceptible to breakage.

Use a nail file

According to Allure’s interview with New York City-based manicurist, Jackie Saulsberry, you can use a coarse nail file to gently buff the shiny top coat down. You should stop at the point where your nails no longer has its shine but the colour is still present, instead of filing it down to the nail surface.

Protect your skin

Since most nail polish removers (especially acetone variants) can be very drying for your skin, shield the skin around the nail with some rich hand cream, or a cuticle oil.

Loosen the polish

Saturate cotton balls in acetone remover, and wrap them securely in a roughly three-inch square of aluminium foil. If you have smaller fingernails, you can also break each cotton ball into smaller pieces for a more accurate fit. Try wrapping them as close to your skin as possible, as it can get progressively more difficult to repeat this as each finger gets “fatter”.

Check back after 10-15 minutes – catch up on your favourite shows in the meantime! If the polish doesn’t loosen and lift with little pressure, soak them for another five minutes at a time.


Once the gel polish has been loosened, use a new wooden nail stick to lift off the remaining polish left on your nails.

Method 2: Double boiler method

Use Expired Perfume To Remove Nail Polish

If you want to try something new, you may just be pleasantly surprised with this method traditionally used in baking! Read this Today article for full details.

File the top coat

Like the first method, buff away the shiny top coat that prolongs the nail polish wear, but not into the nail colour itself.

Make a double boiler

Time to put those baking skills to the test: in a larger bowl with enough hot water so it doesn’t overflow when a smaller bowl is placed in it. In the smaller bowl, add acetone. Then, soak your nails in the acetone for 10 or so minutes to loosen the nail polish.

Remove using a nail stick

Using a sterile nail stick, scrape off the nail polish layer gently. It should come off easily at this point, if not, get back to soaking!

OPI Expert Touch Lacquer Remover

How To Remove Gelish Opi Nail Polish Remover

Try this option from OPI, a reputed nail care brand. While most acetone removers can really dry out your skin, this one is non-drying and works for tough-to-remove gel nails too.

SGD on Lazada.

SilkyGirl Cute Nails Polish Remover Extra Strength

Silky Girl Nails

The cost of nail polish remover can really start to add up, so why not choose affordable ones that’ll do the same job? Despite its effectiveness, it has Vitamin E to condition nails to prevent them from becoming brittle.

Available on Lazada for SGD5.90.

Silicone nail clipsHow To Remove Gelish Silicon Nail Caps

Ensure the cotton balls stay in place with these silicone nail clips. They hold them in place securely, are reusable, and are more comfortable than aluminium foil too.

Retails on Shopee for SGD3.11.

Nail sticks

How To Remove Gelish Nail Sticks

Use disposable wooden nail sticks like these and dispose after every use, since used wooden sticks are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

SGD1.83 on Shopee.

Caudelie Hand And Nail Cream

How To Remove Relish Hand And Nail Cream

Hydrate parched skin with Caudelie’s Hand and Nail Cream that is rich in texture to effectively moisturise skin with ingredients like shea butter, leaving hands softer and delicately scented.

Retails on Sephora for SGD20.