Creative musings in bright colors

Gel Nails: The Messy Ending

This is the second half of my gel nail adventure. I painted the nails on a Tuesday, and removed them the Monday night two weeks later. So, what I have here is 13 days of wear.

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I have to say, I was impressed with the wear. I lost the corner of one nail (4th finger right hand), and the NAIL chipped (but NOT the polish) from my left thumb (see photo). That is to say that the polish held to the rest of the polish spectacularly, while my nail under it chipped off! Strangest thing I’ve ever seen.

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13 days later, the polish still looked great. Still shiny, only 1 chip despite lots of water exposure, climbing, banging into things, and 0 attention paid to looking after the nails. On the basis of preserving nail length, these worked great.

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Then came the problem. Removal. I cut my normal polish remover rounds into 5ths and soaked them in 100% acetone. I then placed a piece over each nail, wrapped my nails in tin foil, and waited for 15 minutes. When I removed the foil, my fingers were white, dry, and looked awful….and the polish had gone NO WHERE. I started pulling off the edges of the polish with metal tweezers, and got somewhere. Then I just gave up and pulled off all the pieces still stuck to my nails. They were ruined.

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I ended up breaking off the top of 4 nails during removal (see black arrows), and the ones that weren’t broken were a total disaster. Peeling, chipping, splintered nails with flakes of polish STILL attached. Even after hydrating with cream, attempting to buff, and cutting down all the nails on my decimated left hand (the whole point of the gel was so I WOULDN’T have to do this), my nails are almost unusable. So, for the coming few weeks, please forgive any messy surfaces…I have destroyed my nails. But, I will leave you with a happier photo (my hands at the Western Wall).

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Verdict: Gel nails work great…but even if you do them at home, get them REMOVED at a salon where they know what they are doing. And hopefully won’t destroy your nails.

Comments on: "Gel Nails: The Messy Ending" (31)

  1. Ohmygosheva! I have never tried gels… this is all good info

  2. Ugh. I’m so sorry 😦 I know your heart mustve just about fallen into your gut when you realized what had happened. That said, a little TLC and some time should bring them right back to beautiful.

  3. Oh darling, it looks like a right nightmare. I am so sorry!
    A friend of mine has a gel mani every 3 weeks at a salon, but she too said her nails are completely f***ed up now.
    And this is now the reason why she sticks to having gel manis.

  4. Oh my, I am so sorry about your nails. I got mine removed in a salon, but the nails were still weak, dehydrated and slightly damaged. Took few months to get them back to full health.
    Best of luck and care for your nails, I hope they will heal fast.

  5. Lola Hansen said:

    Oh dear!! My stomach literally ached when seeing your poor nails!! I hope they grow back soon!

    • 😦 me too. Its so hard to do designs I like when everything is so uneven! I’ve started using sequins so the nails don’t HAVE to be even

  6. Oooh, no! I hope your nails will be Ok! 😦

  7. My nails looked just like yours a few years ago after removing acrylics at home :/ lots of TLC and time will heal them though. Hang in there!

  8. Oh, the horror! I have on ‘at home’ get nails right now, except I didn’t have to cure mine, but they did come with the activator tho (which oddly smelled like fake nail glue to me). I have been painting right over top of them, hoping to grow longer/stronger nails with having the gel polish to protect them. Now I am just scared lol. Do u think it would have made any difference if u had used the gel remover, or is that basically the same thing as acetone? I really dread having to remove mine now! Best of luck with you healing process!!

    • So, I have a hunch that gel remove really is just acetone. My best advice would be to remove them slowly…soak in acetone (the tin foil method) and then scrape off the lose edges (which there will be) and then soak again and keep going. I was super impatient and just ripped things off when they stopped coming off on their own! However, my nails (the few on my right hand that survived) are NOT any stronger 😦
      Best of luck!! And if it goes well share the advice :-p

  9. Oh no! That is why I am still hesitant to try Gels, I know me and my patience for removing polish/etc, and I would definitely not let it soak long enough then end up peeling it off. Not to mention that I barely leave my nails painted one color for 24 hours, let alone 2 weeks, hahahaha. Hope your nails get back to their former glory soon!

  10. Wow, how horrible! I’m sorry, I’m not very up to date on this gel stuff. Are you talking about gel nails as in like artificial nails (not even sure if there is such a thing?) or gel polish that they sell in the stores everywhere? My sister got me some gel polish and a UV lamp for Christmas and I haven’t tried it yet. Now I’m kind of scared to. =/

    • I’m talking about gel polish that comes with a UV light to cure it. There is also ‘acrylic’ which is basically fake nails, which I have not tried (and probably never will). This is what happened when I tried at-home gel polish with UV light. It lasted, but it wouldn’t come off!

  11. Aw man! I’m gonna have to do some serious research before I give gel a try. Still, I’m curious to find out if there’s something that can be done which would allow me to make designs for people without worrying about sending them to a salon for removal!

    Nubbins aren’t bad to have every now and then- I’m just now finally coming out of the nub stage myself. It makes you appreciate the basics more! Hopefully with generous amounts of nail strengtheners and moisturizers yours should bounce back in a couple of weeks!

    • I’m trying! Maybe if I was less impatient with removal…but after trying it I’ve been hearing a lot of horror stories coming out of the woodwork :-/

  12. Oh my goodness this makes me want to cry for your nails! It’s so odd and kind of amazing how the gel polish stayed perfect when the nail chipped. I use Sensationail which I absolutely love. An incredibly helpful tip for removal is – file the top of the nail gel and sort of remove the topcoat off each nail. Don’t file too much because you don’t want to file the actual nail. Once you cut through the topcoat, apply the acetone and foil for 15-20min. Remove one foil and try to remove the gel. If it doesn’t come off fairly easily, apply the cotton pad and foil back for 5-10min longer. I’ve had some instances where the gel will just slip off. Hope this helps any of you ladies that do at home gel manicures.

  13. Oh poor claws!!!!
    Sorry about your nails! Never again, right? No gel.
    Hey! Sending you lots of nail love ; )

  14. I only use gels for special events as they usually don’t last as long on my nails anyway. But I love when a salon does them properly and they are thick enough to protect my nails from my clumsiness. They stay stronger and the length remains longer.

    As for removal, my little trick, which they also do at the salon, is to file off the top coat. if the acetone can get to the polish it comes off a little easier with the tinfoil soaking method. I also use a wooden cuticle stick to push up the remnants and then just buff lightly. I always follow at home removal with a cuticle oil/cream combo. I’ve gotten gels many times (I have them on now) and I have never seen a removal look like that. Sorry love!

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