Susan Jane White shares her scrumptious ‘I can’t believe it’s beetroot’ beetroot chocolate cake


In defence of cacao from a daily cacao practitioner

Niamh Ennis

The weekend shopping fix: dopamine dressing and beauty that gives back

Holly O'Neill

Are doctor office visits a thing of the past? This new virtual hub might be...


Top of our wish list: candles that are maybe too pretty to burn

Megan Burns

The state of the fashion trend: Do they still exist or matter?

Marie Kelly

This gorgeous redbrick home in Rathmines is on the market for €825,000

Lauren Heskin

Boudoir photoshoots: ‘I wanted to create a place for women who don’t currently love their...

Jennifer McShane

Join this virtual event, where global leaders ask ‘what’s next’ for businesses, live events and...

Shayna Sappington

Image / Beauty

This is why you should never peel off your gel nails

by Erin Lindsay
28th Jan 2020

Peeling gel off may be satisfying, but it’s a death sentence for healthy nails. Keep them intact with this guide to properly removing them

We love a good manicure here at IMAGE. Long, polished claws are always a great accessory. But when you get a bad manicure, or when the gels just become too messy to handle, the temptation begins to pick, pick, pick. Peeling off your gel nails seems like the most satisfying thing in the world. Until you actually do it, and your fingertips feel like they’re going to fall off.

With the pain of peeling off gel polish, it shouldn’t be a surprise to discover it is not a good thing to do. It can ruin the health of your nails and have some nasty after-effects. As lovers of any type of pampering, we feel a responsibility to let all you ladies know the consequences, and what you can do to avoid ruining your nails in the long run.

What peeling off gel nails really does

When you peel off a gel manicure, you’re not just peeling off the polish. You’re peeling off the top few layers of the nails themselves. This can lead to cracking, brittle nails that, especially with repeated peeling, weaken over time. This causes irregular surfaces and textures on your nails, making them very dry and flaky. If you’re a serial peeler, you may have to take an extended break from manicures until your tips recover completely from the trauma.

How to properly remove a gel manicure

If you’ve been thinking of peeling off your expired gels but haven’t made the move yet, it’s your lucky day. DO NOT DO IT. There are other ways to remove the polish safely if you don’t fancy paying to get it done at the salon (no judgement here).

There are a few steps here: first up, soak the nails in acetone. You can use cotton pads or balls soaked in acetone and apply them to your nails, or just put some in a bowl and rest your fingertips in it. This will dissolve the gel so that it will be easier to remove.

A good alternative is to place the soaked cotton pads around your nails and wrap your fingers in tin foil. Leave for about 10-15 minutes and when removing the foil, pinch your nail as you do. The gel should slide off with the foil.

If you’ve already succumbed to the peeling

If you’ve been extremely bold and peeled off all your gels, now’s the time for damage control. Resist the temptation to head back to the salon and get a new set; instead, let them breathe and recover. Cut them down to size (it’s a better idea to have them short while they’re recovering) and buff them gently back to shape. Spend the next while hydrating them with a good cuticle oil and then move onto a nail strengthener if you feel you need to.

The final step is to repent for your sins and never peel those bad boys off again.

Read more: Liquid liner inspiration: The best Instagram how-tos

Read more: Travel insider: Celeb make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury shares her Ibiza hot spots

Read more: 5 game-changer skincare products to add to your routine

Also Read

The self-gifting beauty guide to Valentine’s Day

You might not be filled with love right now, or drowning in dates, but if anyone deserves a gift, a bit of attention and to feel a bit spoiled right now, it's you. These new little luxuries will pick you up and give you some much-needed indulgence.

By Holly O'Neill

The new exfoliators for silky soft, gleaming skin

Brighter days are coming; it's time to prep the skin with these exfoliators for instantly soft, radiant skin.

By Holly O'Neill

‘I would rather poke my eyes out than get Botox’

What if you don't want Botox as a middle-aged woman? Rose Mary Roche wishes there was more tolerance of older female faces

By Rose Mary Roche

Non-colour nail polish for when you’ve finally removed your gel nails


By Holly O'Neill

Victoria Beckham
How to recreate the glossy, lived-in hair at Victoria Beckham AW21

“The hair look really was inspired by the early 90s,” says Victoria Beckham. “I like the idea of quite heavy hair, heavy fringes, that hair that looks like it’s been slept in a little bit, with a little bit of a bend in it.” Here’s how to recreate the lived-in luxe look from her AW21 show.

By Holly O'Neill

Gareth Bromell’s guide to healthier hair while you’re stuck at home

Gareth Bromell, a global talent in hair who has worked with...

By Holly O'Neill

The weekend shopping fix: hair heroes, happy t-shirts and luxe candles

By Holly O'Neill

Want long and lustrous locks? Try these 5 miraculous hair products

Tired of dealing with flat and frizzy hair? These five...

By Shayna Sappington