If you saw Jada Pinkett-Smith’s recent Instagram post showing how terribly her nails are doing during this quarantine, then you understand how real things have gotten on the self-care front. Last week we offered five kits and tools to help remove gel nails, but women across the globe are still in need of some guidance.
So we reached out to one of our favorite editorial and celebrity nail artists Kia Stewart, also known as LuxK, of 1209 Wellness Nail Studio, who offered her professional tips on how to properly remove gel nails. She gave quick step-by-step instructions and even offered a couple of dos and don’ts of gel nail care.
“The safest way to remove nails with traditional soak off gel is to use a 180 Grit file and lightly etch the nail polish off the nail plate [the hardest part of the nail],” says Stewart, who uses the Apres Gel X system which she praises for causing less manipulation to the natural nail. “Do not remove the color forcefully as this can cause damage to the nail plate.”
Instead, try these five simple steps to gel removal and after care.
Step 1: Use 100 percent acetone to saturate a cotton ball and place on top of the nail, then wrap in aluminum foil. “This is a time to wait and not rush,” says Stewart.
Step 2: Let your nails sit saturated for 20-25 minutes. For express removal and a spa-like feel, warm up a face cloth and lay over the aluminum. The heat acts like an accelerator to enable the gel to break down faster.
Step 3: Use a wooden stick to push the gel off the nail. The gel should present in a flaky consistency.
Step 4: Grab a buffer and buff the nail plate.
Step 5: Apply a good base coat and top coat to give the nails structure. Kia’s favorites are Pear Nova’s Beneath Me base coat and Clearly top coat. “This duo is a must have for at-home care that is quick and efficient and easy to maintain.”
And remember these dos and dont’s in order to achieve the healthiest nails possible until salons reopen.
Do Treat Your Cuticles Well. “Treating your cuticles is one of my favorite topics. I love introducing moisture to the hands and nail plate first,” she says. “You should not push your cuticles back dry.” Use a wooden stick to push back cuticles; it’s firm enough and user friendly. End your push back session with an oil to seal in moisture. Stewart likes jojoba oil and olive oil, and Vitamin E if you have common hang nails.
Don’t Be Overly Aggressive. “Being over aggressive with removals can severely damage your nails,” Stewart finally warns. “Set yourself up to have time and space so you’re not rushing. Use your removal time as a self care moment.”