Chic At Home

The Art of DIY Nails: Care & Clean-Up


Nail Care 101

Salons are closed for the foreseeable future, but you can still keep up with your personal care at home. And giving yourself some time to focus on you and relax may be exactly what you need most right now. These little elements of daily life are the building blocks of psychological well-being, after all.

If your nails are starting to feel a little less than polished, we’re here to help. In this nail-care series, makeup artist, Jen Tsourvakas (@the_jen_of_all_trades) of Parlour 3 shares tips and tricks on everything from removing a gel manicure to DIY nail designs that match back to our latest collections. Here, we start with the basics: cleaning up your nails, plus a special skin-nourishing hand treatment.

How To Remove A Gel (or Dip Powder) Manicure

Let’s face it: You probably got your nails done before we went into self-quarantine, and now they’re grown out or are starting to chip. Jen explains how to remove a gel manicure at home without totally damaging your nails.

What you’ll need:

  • Cotton balls  
  • 10 tin foil pieces, cut into small 3×3 squares  
  • Nail file 
  • Acetone (Pure acetone is recommended. Non-acetone will work but you’ll need to soak longer.) 
  • Cuticle pusher or a wood stick. (If you don’t have any of these, a small metal spoon will work.)

Find The Perfect Spot

Give yourself plenty of time for the removal process and most importantly, do it in a well-ventilated area so you’re not breathing in acetone. You’ll need at least 30-40 minutes. Consider this a good time to catch up on your favorite TV show.

Buff It Out

Before you break out the nail polish remover, start by lightly buffing off the top layer to break the seal of the top coat. Basically, you just want to remove the shine.

Soak The Cotton Balls

This step is key to removing gel nail polish. To start, soak the cotton balls in the acetone (more than you think you need), and then you’ll place on your nails.

Wrap With Foil

Grab some tinfoil and tear it into little 3×3 squares. Place an acetone-soaked cotton ball on your fingernail and tightly wrap the fingertip to secure the cotton ball in place. Start with your non-dominant hand—it makes things easier. Repeat for all 10 nails. Then, after 10-20 minutes (30-40 minutes for DIP/SNS nails), check the progress.

The gel should look as if it’s falling off the nail, and you should be able to remove the remaining polish with little to no pressure with the cuticle pusher. If not, keep soaking and try again. PRO TIP: Remove one nail wrap at a time. Don’t remove all wraps at once or the polish will start to harden again.

Hydrate Your Nails

Afterwards, your nails will most likely be a bit dry or even brittle. Don’t worry, this is completely normal. You can always apply cuticle or coconut oil to help hydrate.

DIY Hand Treatment

Has all the hand washing left your hands super dry? Consider this a good time to pamper yourself with this special DIY hand treatment that will leave you feeling so soft and refreshed.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (olive oil works fine, too)
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

Combine the coconut oil (or olive oil), a few drops of essential oils if you have them on hand, and sugar into a small bowl. Mix until it’s a thick paste and apply to your hands. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then rinse with warm water. The oils will hydrate dry, chapped hands while the sugar will gently exfoliate any rough patches.

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