“Gels are not bad for nails,” says Dasha Minina, a licensed nail technician and owner of Maxus Nails. “What is bad is a nail technician who doesn’t know what they’re doing.” A technician shouldn’t use an electric file to rough up nails before gel application, says Minina. This removes layers of your nails and causes weakness and breakage.
Patience is key. If you’re removing gel polish at home, use 100 percent real acetone, suggests Minina, which you can find at a beauty supply store. Soak a cotton pad in the acetone, place the pad on top of your nail, wrap it in foil, then wait for up to 15 minutes. “If the gel polish is cured appropriately, it should literally float off your nails with an acetone soak,” says Adigun. But “acetone really dehydrates nails,” says Adigun. Nourish your nails and the skin around them with jojoba oil afterward, says Minina.