The Importance of Proper Gel-Polish Removal
The popularity of soak-off gel-polishes may be endangered by a rash of improper removal techniques that are leaving clients unsatisfied with their results — and they’re telling their friends about it.
“Gel-polish should come off easily with no heavy-handed or forceful scraping,” says Doug Schoon, president of Schoon Scientific and renowned nail industry chemist. “If you have to force the product off at all, you are doing something wrong.”
Schoon is passionate about this issue because he’s concerned that the improper removal of soak-off gel-polish is rapidly becoming the biggest problem in the nail industry. Incorrect removal is causing pits, cracks, and scrapes on clients’ nail plates, often appearing as small white spots on the nails. And many nail technicians are failing to identify this as a problem.
According to OPI chief scientist Paul Bryson, the most common reason why nail plates are injured during a soak-off gel removal is because nail technicians do not let the product soak long enough to fully break the bond to the natural nail. “Most of the time they’re not letting the nails soak for a long enough time, and when they go to remove the gel they pry or peel it off,” notes Bryson. “When they do this, they take part of the natural nail plate off with the gel.” This results in a thin layer of the natural nail getting pulled up and causing divots and pockets in the natural nail bed.
What’s worse is that when clients notice the damage and ask their nail technicians about it, many technicians respond by saying that it’s a natural part of the gel process and merely a dehydration of the nail plate from the acetone.
“This is misleading,” says Jim McConnell, president and head chemist of Light Elegance. “Because acetone does remove oils from the nail, but the nail plate itself is not damaged by the acetone. The culprit here is the keratin layer in the nail enduring trauma when the gel-polish is forced and pried off the nail.”
Nail professionals do care about their clients’ nails, but all too many are passing this problem off as being caused by the acetone and that the nails are fine for another application. But acetone is not the problem causing these weakened nails. “You can soak nails in acetone all day and you won’t see any white spots,” says Schoon. “The whole nail might look dry if you leave it in there for days, but the acetone is not the issue. It’s when nail techs see that these gels are not coming off after 12 minutes and they’re just scraping them off.”
Soak-off gel-polish is designed to soak off quickly and easily. But some nail techs cut the full soak-off time short because they think if they can remove the product quickly with scrapers and files to save time.
The correct soak off procedure would be to break the top coat seal with a nail file, which will allow the acetone to penetrate. Let the acetone soak for 10 - 15 minutes (using either soak off caps, a soak off dish or cotton wool wrapped in tin foil) or until the gel polish slides off easily. Check out Crystal Clawz Acetone, Soak off wipes and Soak off Caps which make soaking off gel polish a breeze!