gel manicure
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What to do With Your Gel Manicure Now That You’re in Quarantine

Pro-recommended DIY tips for when you can’t make it into a salon.

It’s easy to gush over the perks of a gel manicure…Two to three weeks of glossy, chip-free nails? Yes, please! But now that all non-essential businesses are closed during this self-isolation period, what on earth does one do with LED-cured lacquer that’s growing out — and with no follow-up nail salon visit in sight?

Here, two pro manicurists offer up tips on to how milk the life of your gel manicure for as long as humanly possible, plus *safe* DIY methods to effectively remove gel polish — without completely wrecking the health of your nails in the process.

Squash that urge to pick

When having to resort to taking nail matters into your own hands, the first at-home solution is likely to want to rip, pick or bite all ten gelled shells from your digits — which can actually take off layers of your natural nail bed underneath. So, we repeat, don’t resort to that DIY method. “As long as there’s no lifting [of the gel polish], let your nails grow and simply file down the lengths,” says CND brand ambassador Winnie Huang, who also encourages daily nail conditioning with a cuticle oil.

Go for some easy, do-at-home nail art

This grow-out period is also a fabulous time to try your own handiwork at some nail art. “I suggest you dab glittery polish lightly into the area where the product has grown out by the cuticle,” recommends Rita Remark, Essie’s global lead educator. “Because the glitter bits in the polish have texture, they’ll conceal the seam where the gel ends and your nail begins.”

Remove gel polish safely

Once you do start experiencing excessive chipping or lifting, the good news is that you can remove a gel manicure yourself with products that you likely already have around your house. “If you have a nail file, a cuticle pusher, acetone remover, tinfoil and cotton, you’re good to go!” says Remark.

First, gently file down the surface of your gel polish to remove shine, then saturate a cotton ball or pad with acetone and press it on top of the nail. Proceed with wrapping your cotton-adorned fingertip tightly with a square piece of tinfoil. Wait 15 minutes, then remove the tinfoil and cotton and lightly push away any leftover gel polish with the cuticle pusher.

Don’t have a cuticle pusher? “Try an orangewood stick,” says Remark. No cotton balls? “Cut paper towel into little squares.”

For more detailed instructions, Huang encourages gel lovers to watch easy-to-follow video tutorials, like these two:

Take care of those bare nails

“What is also important is what happens after removal,” says Huang. Apply cuticle oil afterwards to add hydration, and if nails are in need of some extra TLC, reach for a repairing treatment, like CND’s keratin and jojoba oil-infused RescueRXx.

Looking to give yourself a salon-quality manicure now that your gel polish is removed? Click here for our expert-approved guide.