How to Remove Gel X Nails at Home [With Acetone, Cotton & Foil]

Learning how to remove Gel X nails yourself is a must for any nail lover.

Have your gel extensions ever chipped, split, or broken off right before a big event? Well, mine have. And I wished I could take them off because short, clean nails are better than broken nail extensions.

There is no doubt that getting Apres Gel-X nail extensions makes you feel like a baddie. Then the weeks go by, and you haven’t managed to squeeze in an appointment to see your nail tech for a refresh. And your nails start to look bad. We’ve all been there.

So let me teach you how to remove your Gel-X nails at home. I’ll share with you the easiest way to do so yourself so you can always have gorgeous nails. 

It will save you a trip to your nail salon and keep you from looking disheveled. Or worse, attending a party with only nine out of ten perfect nails.

What are Apres Gel-X nail extensions?

how to remove gel x nails

Apres Gel-X nail extensions are the world’s first soft-gel nail extension system that is removable with acetone alone.

They were created in 2017 and quickly gained popularity. Now there are many brands out there offering the same gel extension experience. Full-coverage gel tips are easy to put on and this makes them an appealing option for at-home nail extensions.

With proper care, gel-x nails can last up to four weeks, almost as long as an acrylic set. And the best part, in my opinion, that that you can easily take off your Apres Gel-X extensions at home.

For a deep dive into the different types of gel extensions out there, from soft gel to hard gel, check out our article on “Gel Extensions.”

How to remove Gel-X nails tutorial

Removing Gel-X nails is simple and easy. Set aside at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time to remove your gel-x nail extensions.

If it is your first time, you will need to focus and watch your nails closely without being distracted by other tasks.

Supplies you will need

  • nail clippers
  • a thick nail file, 180 grit
  • 100% pure acetone
  • ten or more cotton balls
  • aluminum foil cut into ten 3×5 inch squares
  • nail polish removal clips (optional)

Follow these steps to remove your Gel-X nail extensions at home.

Prep your nails

  • Remove nail jewelry or bling from your nails.
  • Trim the gel-x extensions to just above your natural nails by checking the underside to see where your nails meet the extension.
  • Gently file down the top coat of gel. Apply a small amount of pressure and avoid going over the same place several times. You can use an e-file if you have experience with them. Take care to avoid your cuticles.

Wrap nails in 100% acetone

  • Cut ten pieces of aluminum foil into 3 X 5 inches rectangles.
  • Soak a cotton ball thoroughly with acetone and place it on your first nail of choice.
  • Wrap aluminum foil around the finger, twisting the end to hold it in place under your nail.
  • If you have nail polish removal clips, you can clip your cotton ball in place.
  • Repeat the soaking and wrapping for every finger.
  • Wait for 5 -15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the gel layer, for the acetone to penetrate.

Remove the gel x extensions

  • Remove the foil or unclip your clips. You should see the gel already falling off.
  • Scrape off the loosened gel from your nails with a metal cuticle pusher. Do not aggressively rub or scrape. The gel should come off easily. If you notice that the gel is not coming off, soak the nail in acetone for another two to five minutes. 

Clean up

  • Clean off any residual gel with an acetone-soaked cotton ball.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly, focusing on your nails and cuticles.
  • If getting a new manicure, follow your usual manicure steps.
  • If you are giving your nails a break, apply cuticle oil. 

If you want a more in-depth tutorial on how to remove your apres gel-x nails at home, Apres Nails has a great video resource on Youtube outlining how to apply your gel-x nails as well as how to safely remove them. 🙂

How long do Gel-X nails last?

Gel-X nails typically last 4 weeks without lifting, chipping, or peeling if correctly applied.

They are the ideal option if you want nails that will last. With proper hand and nail care, your Gel-X nails can last up to 6 weeks with no chipping. After that, it is recommended to have them redone and replaced for a fresh look.

When to see your nail tech

how to remove gel x nails

Removal of Gel-X nails is a delicate task that requires patience and care. You can have a nail tech remove your Gel-X nails if you don’t have the time to do it yourself. Having their professional help will ensure you do not roughly scrape away your extensions when short on time.

A nail tech can also remove your Gel-X nail extensions if you do not trust your ability to remove them correctly. It is advisable to let a professional remove them if they are uncomfortable using acetone or have left it on too long before.

If you have weak or brittle nails, it is probably better to have a professional remove your Apres Gel-X nails and do a little TLC. 

Can I remove Gel-X nails like I remove dip nails?

No! Please do not use the same removal process for dip nails on your gel-x nails. Dip nails have to be filed down, sometimes using an e-file, to allow the acetone to properly break down the hardened dip powder.

With gel-x nails, you do not have to use an e-file. Remember, the beauty of gel nails is that it’s a soak-off system. Meaning you can complete the entire removal process using acetone, unlike acrylics or dip where you will need an e-file.

To compare the removal of gel-x nails to removing dip powder nails, check out our “How to Remove Dip Nails.”

Are Gel-X nails safe?

Apres Gel-X is not toxic. The Gel-X nails are a great alternative to acrylic extensions. With Apres Gel-X nails, your nails are protected and covered to promote natural nail growth. The high-quality soft gel extensions with a non-toxic base are vegan, have no odor, and are considered safe.

It is important to note that using Gel-X nails over long periods of time can damage your natural nail. But this is a risk similar to any other nail enhancement, especially if not well installed and removed. As long as you apply them correctly, remove them safely and take breaks between installations, Gel-X nails are perfectly safe.

Apres Gel-X nail extensions versus acrylics

how ot remove gel x nails
Acrylic nails may contain formaldehyde as formalin or methylene glycol

Gel-X nails have a few advantages over acrylic. For one, the Apres Gel-X nail extensions cover the entire nail. This is different from acrylic extensions which are placed on the tip of the nail only.

Gel-X nails provide a safer space for nail growth as they protect the nail from water, dirt, and excess manipulation. 

When getting a gel extension manicure, you do not have to worry about e-files and excess strain on your nail plate.

Removing Gel-X nails is a simple soak-off process that anyone can do at home as we’ve seen. Acrylics usually require soaking and filing which can damage your nail bed and cuticle.

Apres Gel-X nail extensions give you the benefit of press-on nails but the detail and longevity of acrylics. They are quite easy to put on and with time and practice, you can definitely do it yourself. Acrylic nail extensions require a little more expertise to adhere to the nail properly.  

The most significant advantage of a gel nail extension manicure is that it is healthier. Apres Gel-X nail extensions have a vegan, formaldehyde-free base.

They also soak off quickly meaning you won’t have to keep the acetone on your nails for long. Acrylic nail extensions are set with acrylic powder which has an abundance of formaldehyde as formalin or methylene glycol and casting resins.

If you have health concerns, Gel-X extensions are the better choice.

Gel-X ExtensionsAcrylic Extensions
Nail CoverageFull nail coverageExtension glued to the tip of nails
Health & SafetyFormaldehyde-freeMay contain formaldehyde as formalin or methylene glycol, and casting resins
RemovalSoak-off with acetoneE-file and acetone
Damage to NailsLess damagingEasy to damage nail plate during removal
Longevity4-5 weeks6-8 weeks

If you want to learn more about acrylic nail extensions or are curious about what it takes to do them yourself, check out our article on “How to Do Acrylic Nails.”

Key takeaways on how to remove Gel-X nails

You can safely remove Gel-X nails yourself, at home. You do not need a professional nail artist unless you struggle. The key is to carefully follow directions and take your time. Look at it as self-care time and perfect your Gel-X removal routine. 

The next time you get a gel manicure, try and remove your Gel-X nails yourself using our tips. Remember, safety first. If unsure, always let a professional do it to avoid corroding your nail.