Thursday, February 12, 2015

How to remove Shellac/Gel manicures the easy way

Note: This is an unsolicited, uncompensated review. I found a product that worked for a difficult task and decided to share it with my readers. There are Amazon affiliate links in this post. 

I love and hate Shellac (or Gellish, or OPI Gel) manicures. I love them because I can leave the salon with my nails completely dry and not worry that I will ruin my manicure before I get home.

I hate them because my nails are soft, so they bend and cause big chips a little more than a week after the manicure. As soon as there is a chip, I want this stuff off my nails, and I don't usually have time to run back to the salon for a professional soak-off.


I hate sitting with my fingers in a bowl for ten minutes. I have also tried the cotton-and-aluminum-foil method without great success.  I decided to see if Sally Beauty Supply had anything that would work better, and found these HandsDown Soak Off Gel Nail Wraps for $35 (available for about half the price at Amazon.com). I also bought some pure acetone (regular nail polish remover won't work on gel manicures) and enough cuticle pusher sticks to last me the rest of my life, assuming I don't lose the whole bag.

These wraps are really cool. I thought they would be just gauze with tape strips at the end, but they are actually small elastic bandages with a cotton pad attached.  That means if you don't put it on right the first time, you can easily readjust it.  I soaked the pad in the pure acetone, and then placed the wrap on my finger so that the pad was tightly pressing on the surface of the nail.


I was glad I decided to do only one hand at a time. I was going to do both, but then realized I wasn't going to have much luck doing anything with my fingers all bandaged up. The wraps stayed on very well, but I also didn't try to do much during the time I was waiting. 

I set my iPhone timer for 10 minutes after I finished the last nail, but 15 minutes might have been even better.  Once the timer went off, I firmly pushed down on the pad and slid the whole wrap off my nail and onto a paper plate to contain the mess.  Some of the polish came off with the wrap, but the rest had to be pushed off with the nail stick, and I scraped the polish into the plate as well. A little more time might have made the polish come off more easily. 

Most salons will charge $10-15 for a soak-off procedure, so even at the inflated price I paid I think these nail wraps are a bargain. Though they are a little more expensive than aluminum foil, they have the advantage of being perfectly suited to the task. There are 100 wraps per box, which is enough for 10 manicures (or pedicures). 

I'm annoyed because I have a couple of chunks of polish on my fingers that I missed because I didn't see them last night. I'll just buff those off with a nail buffer.  I need to keep reminding myself that picking at them ruins my nails, because I'm a little OCD about things like this. Next time I will leave the wraps on for a little longer and take the time to repaint my nails so I don't keep noticing these bumps. 

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