How to Remove Gel X Nails Yourself (In 10 Steps)

Gel x nails are becoming increasingly popular among people who prefer to have long and durable nails. They are a relatively new type of nail enhancement that is a hybrid of hard gel and acrylics.

Again, they’re classy and durable as they can last up to three weeks –sometimes even more than three weeks. However, that durability means that they can’t be removed with ease as press-on nails.

This post will guide you into precise steps that you can take to safely remove gel x nails at home. Before we get started, let’s clear off a few things.

What are Gel X Nails?

These are types of nails that are created by applying a special type of gel formula onto the natural nails and then curing it under a UV light. It’s this special gel that makes the nails long-lasting and hard to remove.

Can you remove Gel-X nails without acetone?

Yes, it’s totally possible to remove gel x nails without acetone. You can use hot water, olive oil, or cuticle oil to remove gel x nails. However, it’s important to realize that using acetone is the most efficient way of removing gel ex nails.

Materials Needed to Remove Gel X Nails

Before you start removing the gel extensions from your fingers, you need to have the following tools and chemicals:

  • Acetone
  •  Glass bowl
  •  Drill and/ or e-fill/ drill bit
  • · Nail clipper
  • Paper towel/ cotton balls
  • Buffer block
  • Cuticle oil

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10 Steps to Remove Gel X Nails at Home

Here are 10 easy steps to get rid of gel x without hurting yourself.

Quick Disclaimer: the photos used in this post are from Michelle’s video. She’s been super-helpful in many ways. Let’s show her some love here!

Step 1: Trim the nails

Trim the nails_ step 1 on How to Remove Gel X Nails

The first step is to get rid of the nail extensions and only leave the gel above your natural nails. You can do this using an ordinary nail clipper or an adjustable nail clipper.

At this stage, you need to pay attention so that you don’t cut your natural nails. Of course, there is not much to do here. Let’s move on to the next step.

Step 2: File the Top Layer of the Gel

Filling nails using a drill

Using an e-file or a drill, fill off the top bulk gel from your fingers. You can use the entire process using an e-file, but it’s extremely slow.

Instead, use a drill to fill off your nails. With a nail drill machine, you’ll prevent any damage that may come because of drilling. This is because it guides you with the proper direction and speed of the drill.

Filing off using nail file

At the same time, you should also use the e-file in spots where the drill can’t reach or where you’re too scared to use a drill –especially in the margins of your fingers.

Step 3: Prepare Acetone

applying acetone on foil paper pad

Having removed the top layer of the gel, you need to get acetone ready. You can do this in two ways.

First, if you’re using paper towels and a bow, or cotton balls and a bowl, you’ll place the balls or paper towels into the bowl. And then pull the acetone into the bowl.

However, if you’re only using pre-made aluminum foil with pads, you need to wet the pads with acetone. Note: the pre-made aluminum foils are better than cotton for you can wrap them on your fingers and continue with your other daily activities.

Step 4: Drench your fingers with cuticle oil

drenching fingers with cuticle oil

This is not a must, but it’s so helpful. Since acetone is so drying, you need to apply cuticle oil to moisturize your fingers.

Cuticle oil will keep your fingers moisturized before and after the application of acetone. It also prevents acetone from drying your skin on the fingers.

Step 5: Get Acetone onto your fingernails

soaking gel into the bowl

Now that you’ve pulled acetone into the bowl or you’ve soaked the aluminum foil pad with acetone, it’s time to get the acetone onto the fingers.

If you’re using a bowl, you’ll insert all your fingernails into the bowl. Make sure you sit down and put the bowl where you’ll feel comfortable.

Otherwise, wrap the aluminum foils with acetone pads onto your fingers if you’re using the foils only. With this technic, you need to make sure that air does not go into the nails to allow acetone to get absorbed into the remaining gels.

Step 6: Wait for 10 to 15 Minutes

Once you’ve finished wrapping your fingers with the foil, leave the aluminum foil on the fingers for more than 10 minutes. Sit down and relax.

Similarly, if you’re using a bowl, keep all your fingers soaked in the acetone for 10 to 15 minutes. This will be comfortable if you found a good seat and a reachable table for the bowl.

Note: acetone doesn’t irritate, but if you do have an open wound on one of your fingers, you should just wait until you heal to remove your gel x nails.

Step 7: Use Cuticle Pusher to Peel off the Gel

removing gel extension nails using cuticle pusher

After 10 to 15 minutes, you can now start removing the absorbed gel from your nails. The best tool you can use here is the cuticle pusher.

Note: don’t force the gel when using the cuticle pusher otherwise you’ll hurt yourself. The well-absorbed gel will easily get peeled off with minimal effort.

Step 8: Soak the Nails Again or Put back the aluminum foil to absorb any Remaining Gel

five finger wrapped with aluminum foil

When you notice that some gel can’t get removed without forcing, you should continue with the rest of the fingers and leave any hard gel.

After you’re done with all ten fingers, you should re-soak all your fingers into the acetone to absorb the remaining gel.

With the aluminum foils, it’s even easier. When you’ve finished peeling off the easier gel, you should immediately put the finger back into the foil. This way, once you finish all ten fingers, you can just continue peeling the remaining gel.

Step 9: Buff the Nails

buffing off the gel

Having peeled and re-peeled the gel, you can start brushing the nails to get rid of tiny particles of gel that can’t be removed by a cuticle pusher. You can use a simple buffer block to buff them out of the nails.

You can also use a brush to finish brushing off the nails so that they look cute and clean. This is totally optional though.

Step 10: Apply Cuticle Oil to Moisturize

applying cuticle oil after removing gel x

Finally, you need to moisturize the nails again with cuticle oil. However, this time, instead of just applying it to the knuckles and fingers, you’ll apply it to the nails and the rest of your hand.

This will protect the skin of your hand and fingers from the drying effect of the acetone by keeping your hand and fingers moisturized throughout the day.

Precautions to take while Removing Gel Extension Nails

Getting rid of gel x nails can lead to serious damage –especially in the edges of your fingernails. Here are some precautions that you can take to remove gel x from your nails safely.

Do not rush the process: 

This sounds simple but it’s crucial. When you’re removing these nails, take your time at every step.

When you’ve soaked your fingers into the bowl, all of them must stay there for up to 10 minutes or more. The same applies to aluminum foils.  

Do not force the gel off: 

There is a temptation to just force the gel off your fingernails. This is common in two stages.

First, it’s when you’re drilling off the top layer. The truth is that gel will still remain at the stage and it’s okay. Don’t hurt yourself in trying to remove more gel.

Another stage is after the first application of acetone. Sometimes, at this stage, some gel will still be hard to remove don’t for them when peeling with a nail pusher.

Do not peel the gel off: 

I know this may sound contradictory to step seven. However, here I mean don’t try to peel off the gel when it’s hard or before applying acetone.

This may lead to serious damage to your nails –especially nail cuticles. Using a cuticle pusher, peel gently the nails that are soft.

Take breaks if needed: 

Again, it sounds simple. However, it’s important that you’re doing this with a relaxed mind. Feel free to take a break and come back.

This is even easier with aluminum foil. You can wrap them around your fingers and take a break. Go to the sitting room and watch Netflix.

Even after the first acetone drench, you can still take a pause if the gel has not softened yet.

Be gentle on your nails: 

This applies to every removal process. From the chopping of your extensions to buffing of the acetone, you need to be as gentle as possible.

It’s your own body or the body of your client, so remove the gel with care. At the same time, if you’re extremely gentle, you’ll take the whole day doing the same thing.

Use a Drill Bit Machine:

If you want to get it right even on the first try, you can get a drill bit machine. This will help in regulating the speed of the drill.  

Unlike using a nail file, a drill bit machine will show you using a meter the speed at which the drill is spinning. This is helpful as you may want slow spinning when the left hand is working on the right hand.

Additional Tips on How to Remove Gel X Nails

Here are some more tips on how to remove gel x nails and nails in general.

How to Prevent Damage to Your Nails?

If you want to keep your nails healthy, avoid using hash nail care products, avoid biting your nails, use property tools and chemicals when removing gel or acrylic extensions, and keep your nails clean.

Additionally, if you’ve got long nail extensions or nails, you need to avoid physical work that may harm your nails. Avoid hand washing or doing physical gardening activities when you’re wearing nails.

How to Remove Nail Polish Stains?

To remove nail polish stains, first, wipe away any excess polish with a cotton ball or tissue. Then, soak the affected area in a bowl of warm water and dish soap for 10-15 minutes.  Use a soft-bristled brush or a toothbrush to scrub the stain gently.

If the stain persists, try using rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover on a cotton ball to remove it.

How to Strengthen Your Nails?

Nails are so important to a modern girl. As such, you need to keep them strong at all costs. Here is how:

  •  Keep your nails clean and dry
  •  Moisturize your nails and cuticles
  • Eat a balanced diet –especially foods rich in biotin, vitamin E, and zinc.
  •  Avoid harsh chemicals
  • Use a nail strengthener

Does hand sanitizer remove gel?

The short answer is yes. However, hand sanitizer does not effectively remove gel nail polish or gel nail extensions.

Gel nail polish and extensions require a specific removal process, typically involving soaking the nails in acetone or using a gel polish remover specifically designed for this purpose.

While hand sanitizer does contain alcohol, which can help to break down some types of nail polish, you need to understand that it is not strong enough to dissolve gel polish or extensions. Additionally, hand sanitizer may dry out your nails and cuticles, making them more prone to damage.

Does hot water ruin gel nails?

Hot water may ruin your gel nails indeed. If you regularly expose your nails to hot water, it may cause the gel extensions to start breaking, peeling off, or cracking.

In addition, hot water cause oil to evaporate in your cuticles and nails which may make them more susceptible to damage and infection.

Can you remove the gel with alcohol?

The answer is YES. Alcohol is one of the chemicals that are used traditionally to remove the gel. Some claim that alcohol is even faster than acetone.

However, I wouldn’t recommend that you start removing gel x using alcohol. The recommended chemical for removing gel x is acetone.

Final words on How to Remove Gel X Nails

Gel extensions are very long-lasting. However, they’re eternal, they still deteriorate after three to five weeks. This is probably the stage you’re in.

Removing these nail extensions isn’t that hard. In fact, you don’t need to waste hundreds of dollars to remove gel x unless it’s an absolute necessity. You can easily remove them alone at home.

Follow the ten steps above and the precautions discussed in this post, you’ll thank me late. Here are some of the nail ideas you may like.

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Otherwise, I wish you a pain-free experience during the removal of your gel extensions.


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