Professional gel manicures last for weeks versus days compared to regular nail polish. Each layer of gel polish is sealed with a UV light, making for long-lasting wear with no chips -- and it dries instantly. To remove gel nail polish at a salon or at home, the nails are soaked in acetone and wrapped in foil. Soak-off gel nail polish -- although far more common -- is not to be confused with hard gel nail polish, which must be filed off to be fully removed.

Home Removal

Technically you already know you should go back to the salon to get your gels taken off, but if you simply don’t have time, soak them off instead of peeling to minimize nail damage. Grab some cotton, acetone and aluminum, then sit down at a clean, protected surface. Gently pull apart the cotton and tear off small pieces about the size of your fingernails. Next, tear off squares of aluminum foil that are just large enough to wrap around your finger. Dip a piece of cotton into the acetone, place it on your nail and wrap your nail in foil. Do this on all of your nails, and let them soak for 20 to 25 minutes. When you’re done, press and pull off the aluminum foil; the gel nail polish should come off with it.