How to Remove Gel Nail Polish from Acrylic Nails

The hardest part of changing gel polish on acrylic nails is removing the existing gel polish. Once you have that part down, you can easily apply your gel polish of choice to the acrylic nails.

We all know the best place to change gel polish on acrylic nails is at the nail salon. But when you can’t make it to the salon due to whatever reason, you have no choice but to remove the polish yourself.

There are different techniques and tools that’ll come in handy when changing gel polish on acrylic nails. Here, we’ll explore the methods of how to change gel polish on acrylic nails and how to get the best results.


What is Gel Nail Polish?

What is Gel Manicure

Before we go into removing gel nail polish on acrylic nails, it is important to understand what gel nail polish is and what it’s made of. You’ll also need to understand the difference between gel nail polish and regular nail polish.

Gel nail polish often has ingredients such as Formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which are known carcinogens. To keep your nails, fingers, and the rest of your body safe, you may want to avoid these carcinogens. Luckily, manufacturers today make many gel nail polishes without these three ingredients.

There are also key differences between standard nail polish and gel nail polish, such as:

  • Gel polishes have stronger ingredients to hold the nail more tightly.
  • Gel polishes are less likely to chip.
  • Gel polish is more flexible than standard nail polish.
  • A UV or LED lamp can dry gel nail polish while regular polish can dry in oxygen.



There are definite benefits to getting a gel manicure or gel nail polish on your acrylic nails. Some of these pros are:

  • Gel manicures last longer.
  • Gel manicures are less likely to chip.
  • Gel nail polish will help save you money in the long run on manicures.

If you want your nails to look good on most days, then gel manicures may be the way to go since they will last longer. Best of all, they won’t chip after a day or two.



There are some disadvantages that you may not like if you get a gel manicure and acrylic nails. Some cons of gel nail polish are:

  • Removing gel nail polish is painful.
  • Soaking your fingers in acetone to remove the gel polish can make your nails brittle.
  • Ultraviolet light is used in drying the gel polish, which can expose your hands to UV radiation.
  • The gel polish may peel on the edges if the technician makes a mistake.


Can Acrylic Nails Damage Your Fingers or Nails?

Can Acrylic Nails Damage Fingers or Nails?

For acrylic nails to stick to your fingers, your original nails need to be filed down. Filing can make your natural nails thinner and weaker, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association.

In addition, the chemicals found in acrylic nails may irritate the skin around your fingernails. To remove the acrylic nails, you will need to either file them down or soak your fingers in a bowl of acetone. You’ll also need to get regular touch-ups of your acrylic nails every two to three weeks. Both of these processes can significantly damage your natural nails.


How to Remove Gel Polish From Acrylic Nails

There are three effective methods of changing the gel polish on your acrylic nails, namely:

  • Using the nail file method
  • Acetone or non-acetone based nail polish remover and aluminum foils
  • The hot water method

Each method above is as effective as the next. The major differences are the procedure and how long it’ll take to remove the gel polish on your acrylic nails.

Nail-filing Method

How to Remove Gel Polish From Acrylic Nails - Nail-filing Method

The nail-filing method is the safest method to change gel polish on acrylic nails, regardless of how thick the paint is. In a nail salon, we refer to this process as drilling and it happens with a specialized tool.

To use the nail-filing method at home, you’ll need a nail file in excellent condition. It’s essential to exercise patience while working a nail file over gel polish.

Without proper caution, you risk hurting yourself. You also risk removing your acrylic nails if you’re too aggressive with the nail file.

Choose a Comfortable Direction and File in One Direction

You need to select a comfortable direction because it affects how effective the procedure is. File your nail in quick succession, retaining the direction, because a change in direction may hurt you.

While you’re staying true to one direction, you need to move the file across different areas of your nail. If you file the top for maybe five minutes, you can go to the bottom of the acrylic nail for another five minutes.

By switching the direction of filing, you can prevent heat energy produced by friction from hurting you.


Continue Repeating the Filing Process for the Remaining Nails

When the gel polish on a single nail is off, you can repeat the same process for the other fingers.

The process above can seem straightforward on paper. But in reality, it can take up to half an hour or more.


Using Nail Polish Remover (Acetone or Non-acetone) and Aluminium Foil

Using nail polish removers offer an effective route to removing gel polish from your acrylic nails. However, acetone poses a threat to the acrylic nail itself.

For this process, you’ll need your nail remover (acetone-based or non-acetone-based), aluminum foil wrapper, cotton balls, and maybe some helping hands.

Here’s how to change gel polish on acrylic nails with a nail polish remover.

Get Your Equipment Ready

Each one of the items above is necessary for the success of this method. If you don’t have all of them, it’s better to take the time to get them before starting.


Soak the Cotton Ball

Use Acetone to Remove Gel Nail Polish from Acrylic Nails

Find a way to soak the cotton balls entirely in the nail polish remover solution. If you have an acetone-based solution, you may need to pour it into a container, so your skin doesn’t come in contact with it.

Non-acetone-based nail polish remover on acrylic nails and your fingers are completely safe. After soaking the cotton balls thoroughly, go ahead to place the cotton balls on each finger.

Placing the cotton balls is where the extra hands come into play. You can enlist the help of a friend to wrap the already soaked cotton balls around your acrylic nails.


Wrap Your Nails with Aluminum Foil

Wrap Nails with Aluminum Foil to Remove Gel Polish from Acrylic

To ensure the cotton balls sit firmly on your fingers, you’ll need to wrap them with aluminum foil.

After ten minutes, the gel polish should come off if you used an acetone-based polish remover. If you use a non-acetone-based polish remover, you may need to wait for 20 minutes.

When the time interval is up, carefully unwrap the aluminum foils and discard them in the bin. If you notice any polish stains on your fingers after the process, you can use a cotton bud to remove them.


The Hot Water Method

How to Remove Gel Polish From Acrylic Nails - Hot Water Method

The hot water method is pretty straightforward, but it does require several household items. Here’s what you need:

  • Two plastic bowls (one has to be larger than the other)
  • Hot water or a way to heat water
  • Nail polish remover
  • A file

Once you have all these items, follow the step-by-step below to change gel polish on acrylic nails:

  • Boil water and pour it into the large bowl.
  • Take out a smaller bowl and pour the non-acetone nail polish remover into the bowl.
  • Put the smaller bowl into the larger bowl with hot water and dip your hands (fingertips) into the bowl with acetone.
  • After ten minutes, you should be able to remove the gel paint from your fingers.

You can hasten the process by using a nail file or orange stick to remove the gel polish. The procedure above will take you less than ten minutes.

After removing the old polish on your acrylics, wash your hands and then dry it with a towel. Once the acrylic nails dry completely, you can then apply another gel polish of your choice.

Gel Nails Vs. Acrylic Nails


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Do You Take Off Gel Nail Polish without Nail Polish Remover?

You can take off gel nail polish without using acetone or non-acetone nail polish remover by letting your fingers soak in warm water with a teaspoon of salt and some drops of soap. You’ll need to soak your fingers in this solution for 20 minutes.

The warm water will soften the gel polish, and you’ll be able to peel away the gel polish with your other fingernails.


Can I Repaint My Acrylic Nails at Home?

Yes, you can repaint your acrylic nails at home. All you need to do is remove the original nail polish, avoid damaging the acrylic base and put on new nail polish.


How Do You Quickly Get Acrylic Nails Off at Home?

You can get acrylic nails off at home by pouring pure acetone into a bowl and soaking your fingers in the acetone for at least five minutes. Then use a metal cuticle pusher to move the acrylics off your nails.

Soak your nails for another five minutes. Repeat the process of removing the acrylics.


Wrap Up

The complicated part of how to change gel polish on acrylic nails is removing the old polish. Once the old nail polish is off, you can apply any kind of gel polish on acrylic nails.

In most cases, the filing method is the best and safest method to follow. If you can be delicate around hot water, the hot water method is another viable alternative. Once the gel nail is removed, now you can choose whatever color you like to paint your nails to look amazing!

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