beauty

Exactly how to remove shellac nails at home. If you haven't already picked them off, that is.

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Right now, we all have a lot of questions about what life is going to look like in the coming weeks and months in our new COVID-19 reality.

How long will it all last for? Will schools be closed or not? What will be closed when we go into lock down? Will my vulnerable loved ones be OK?

Then, there’s a category of far less urgent questions. One of those being, how do I remove my shellac nails at home?

To re-wind a bit, a shellac manicure (also referred to as gel) is thicker in texture and more durable than regular nail polish. Once applied in-salon or at home with a DIY shellac kit, shellac can last up to three or four weeks without chipping. Looks pretty magnificent, right?

 

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The downside to shellac, like any professional manicure including SNS nails and acrylic nails, is they grow out and eventually need to be either removed or re-filled (topped up from the bottom to hide the natural nail growing out).

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That’s fine, but what if you can’t get to a salon at the moment? What if you’re, say, in self-isolation?

Even though every fibre of your being screams at you to slowly pick and bite it off until your manicure is in a heap of flakes on your coffee table (been there), let’s talk about how to remove shellac at home, safely. Because when there’s a will, and acetone, there’s a way.

Keep scrolling for a step-by-step guide on exactly how to remove shellac polish at home.

Before we get started – in an ideal world, it’s always best to have shellac nails removed by a professional. At the time of publishing, the Australian Government have advised beauty salons and clinics may stay open amid other COVID-19-related closures.

Many salons and technicians are keeping up-to-date with Government guidelines and best practices, but this means it’s up to you to decide whether to postpone or cancel any non-essential appointments like getting your nails done. Please use your best judgement to keep public safety top of mind.

WATCH: Here’s how to remove shellac nails at home, post continues after video. Post continues after video.

How to remove shellac nails at home.

According to Vanessa Hernandez, nail technician and founder of Perth nail and waxing studio House of Ten, “Picking or peeling your gel polish off can take layers of your nail with it, which results in damage that can take months to grow out.”

It also just makes your nails look like carnage or, if you had a red shellac manicure, like you’ve come from a crime scene. Here’s a quick rundown on how to remove shellac nails at home.

What you need to remove shellac at home:

You should be able to find all of the above at your local chemist.

How to remove shellac polish:

  1. File and buff the surface of your nails with a nail file to remove shine.
  2. Soak a cotton ball in acetone or nail polish remover and place it directly on top of your nail.
  3. Wrap each finger with a small piece of foil. Repeat for each nail.
  4. Leave for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Unwrap each finger and the shellac should slide off. Use a cuticle pusher to scrape off stubborn excess.
  6. Gently buff to smooth your natural nails.
  7. Apply cuticle oil to the nail bed and cuticles.

You can also watch this YouTube tutorial for a visual of how to remove shellac polish.

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Let’s break it down.

Step 1: File and buff the surface of your nails with a nail file to remove shine.

Vanessa says, “The more you file off, the faster this process will be. Try and use light upwards movements and not file back and forth as this will create friction which can burn!”

Use your coarse nail file (one that looks like sandpaper) for this step – it will be a lot quicker than using a soft file or buffing block.

Step 2: Soak a cotton ball in acetone or nail polish remover and place it directly on top of your nail.

You can find acetone and acetone-based nail polish removers at the chemist. Acetone is a non-toxic solvent used to break down nail polish and remove it from the nail plate surface. Make sure you’re soaking enough cotton wool in acetone or remover to cover the whole nail surface – this will speed up the process.

Step 3: Wrap each finger with a small piece of foil.

“Wrap each nail with foil to secure the drenched cotton wool to the nail surface. It’ll probably be easier if you pre-cut your pieces of foil. They don’t need to be huge, just enough to wrap around the finger,” Vanessa says.

You can also use sticky tape to secure the cotton wool.

Step 4: Leave for 10-15 minutes.

If you’re not sure exactly how long to leave your fingers soaking in the acetone cotton wool for, Vanessa’s advice is: 10 minutes if you’re using a straight acetone solution, and 15 minutes if you’re using acetone nail polish remover.

You can learn more about the different types of manicures and if they damage your nails in this episode of the You Beauty podcast below. Post continues after audio.

Step 5: Unwrap each finger and the shellac should slide off. Use a cuticle pusher to scrape off stubborn excess.

One by one, unwrap each finger. The shellac should slide off with the cotton wool, but you can also use a cuticle pusher or orangewood stick to gently scrape product off the nail. If the shellac is really stubborn, soak the nail again in acetone until it all comes off.

Step 6: Gently buff to smooth your natural nails.

Once all the shellac is gone, give your nails a gentle buff with a nail buffing block to smooth any ridges or sharp edges. Be careful as your natural nails might be weak.

Step 7: Apply cuticle oil to the nail bed and cuticles.

Vanessa says, “Cuticle oil is your best friend, whether you’re having a break from gel polish or keeping them up. A good salon quality cuticle oil will hydrate, nourish and lock in moisture and help keep your gel polish flexible.”

“It should be used every day, you can’t overdose on it and the daily massaging motion helps to improve blood flow to the matrix (the root of your nail) which results in longer and stronger nails.”

And that is how you remove shellac at home without damaging your natural nails. Good luck!

Feature image: Instagram/@houseoften.

Have you tried removing shellac at home before? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Want more helpful content on nails? You can read more here:

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