Trauma: "I got a gel manicure and didn't have time to go back to the salon to get it removed when it started chipping. It's now been on my nails for the past two weeks and looks all grown-out and gross. How do I get it off my nails without having to go back to the salon, or, how do I hide it until it grows out completely?"
On-Call Beauty Doctor: Marie Barokas, manicurist at John Barrett Salon
Prescription: "Although I do recommend having a nail professional remove your gel manicure, it is possible to remove it at home with a few simple tools. Purchase 100% acetone from your local drugstore or beauty supply store. You will also need cotton, foil, an orangewood stick, buffer, and cuticle oil.
Start by cutting 10 squares of foil to fit comfortably around the tip of your finger without slipping off. Generously soak a cotton ball in acetone, place it on top of the nail, and wrap the foil around the finger as tight as possible. This can be done one hand at a time if you are taking it off by yourself. Wait no less than 10 minutes before twisting and firmly pulling off each wrap. You may see some gel residue on the nail after pulling off the wraps. If so, use your orangewood stick and gently push off the remainder of the product in a downward motion, starting from the top of the cuticle and moving down to the bottom of the nail. If the product does not easily slide off the nail you may need to repeat the foil wrap step.
Then, using a fine buffer, buff the surface of the nail in a downward motion to remove any last traces of product. After the nails have been rid of all product, wash your hands and apply cuticle oil to each nail for hydration."
Illustration by Emily Kowzan