What is the best way to remove nail product?

I recently had a student ask me a question:

“I find that soaking off is really taking too much time. I have an electric file but I am not use to filing off product yet. What is the best way to remove product?”

This is something myself and our educators are asked all the time. Removing nail products to re-apply can be extremely time consuming, so you need to assess the nails and make a decision on what method is going to be the quickest and kindest for the natural nails.

I suggest if you do use an E-File, that you quickly remove at least 50% of the thickness of Liquid and Powder or Hard Gel nails and reduce any un-necessary length at the same time. E-Filng is a highly efficient method of removing product fast, and with correct training, this  can be achieved with no damage, heat build up or adverse effects at all.
E-Filing at least 50% of the product away removes any gel polish colour / gel top coat you may have applied and also leaves you with a thinner application of product that can be removed quicker.

If you are removing Liquid and Powder, at this point I would soak the remaining product in pure acetone. There are 2 methods for this: wrapping acetone soaked pads on the nails with foil or soaking in a bowl of acetone.
My preference for a complete removal is to soak the nails in a bowl of acetone as I find this quicker, then gently push the softened product off the natural nail with a plastic pusher or orange wood stick.

This method should take no longer than 25minutes.

If you are removing hard gel, after removing 50% of the thickness of the gel using the E-File I would switch to using a medium grit disposable sanding band (gel can clog your drill bits easily so sanding bands are great for this) and reduce the speed of the E-File to remove as much product as I feel i can safely without getting any where near that natural nail plate.

Then its a matter of getting out your hand file and completing the removal…but if I know I am going to be re-aplying hard gel, then i would leave a thin layer of gel behind…let me explain further….

Think about it, if the product is properly adhered to the natural nail plate why remove it to then re-apply? removing it in its totality means you run the risk of filing the natural nail and you’ll then have to PREP and make sure the fresh gel adheres to the natural nail, when you already have a perfectly adhered layer of gel to work over…. Now you have to call on your experience here, so if there are any areas of gel that are lifted, then obviously they must be removed, if any of the gel looks discoloured at all then it needs to be removed too, so use your knowledge and experience to make sure you have removed what needs to be removed.

There are other methods of removing nail enhancements such as soaking the nails without E-filing, filling the nails without soaking, wrapping in foil or nail wraps, acetone with a warming bowl underneath, but i find a combination of filing and soaking – at least for acrylics – the most efficient way to remove.

If you need any further help then give us a call on 01562 861492 and we will get one of our Educators to give you a call back with the technical advice you need.


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